My departure for Nepal is now approaching very quickly. After studying international relations, environment and water management, I am excited to finally use my knowledge practically. I already had some travelling experience as a backpacker. However, this fieldwork is very special, as I will discover an unfamiliar society with different cultural traditions. I am excited about this journey and the inspiring new people I will meet.
Throughout this journey, I will have the opportunity to discover the projects implemented by IRHA, to meet local partners and to work with local communities. I will assist in monitoring and developing three of the pilot projects that IRHA has established in Nepal, to demonstrate the value of rainwater harvesting in school WASH projects, in disaster relief activities, and in disaster risk reduction.
Monitoring IRHA’s integrated, sustainable development approach to WASH projects, I will move between Pokhara and the surrounding mountains, visiting nine Blue Schools to determine if their health, sanitation, and local investment objectives of this project were achieved. My evaluation will identify potential problems and opportunities for improvement, to ensure these Blue Schools continue to supply their pupils with drinking water and sanitation facilities for many years to come.
As I transit through Nepal’s capital, I will also evaluate IRHA’s Emergency Rain and the Rain Community projects, that were established in the vicinity of Kathmandu. These pilot projects were implemented with our partner Guthi. They involved harvesting rainwater as a potable water source for people living in the internally displaced camps set up following the 2015 earthquake. We want to see how this infrastructure is being used four years after the earthquake.
The main reason I am travelling to Nepal,
however, is to assist with the initiation of IRHA’s Rain Communities project. This
venture will implement a water resource management strategy on a large, watershed
scale. Improving the infiltration of rainwater and retaining it within
catchment, using traditional ponds for example, buffers fluctuations in water
availability associated with the wet monsoon and dry seasons. Retaining water locally
in this manner increases mountain communities’ resilience, in a context where
extreme weather events are predicted to increase as climate change intensifies.
The Rain Communities project will develop local dialogue about resource
management to improve water governance and establish a Water Use Master Plan.
This will involve rainwater harvesting and storage systems being built or
rehabilitated, and the initiation of agroecological practices that facilitate
soil water infiltration. My role in the field is to help identify the
watersheds we will begin to rehabilitate and to initiate participatory, 3D
mapping of this area.Having grown up in the Haute-Savoie region of, with summits like the
Pointe de Sur Cou (pictured), I'm excited about my time in the mid-hills of Nepal.