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The latest news on our women's farm in Nepal and more.


  • The Mountain Fund A village project in Nepal and much, much moreA hand up, not a hand out.

  • 2Farm in Nepal Most of this issue is about farming. Specifically its about our existing farm for women in Nepal and whats happening there and what needs to happen to move this project forward. We hope youll decide to join us and help.

    Whats inside this issue and some short stories too

    Global Giving and Mountain FundThis summer weve been hosting two volunteer trainers from Global Giving and our own volunteer Kris who attended some training at Global Giving headquarters before departing to Nepal. Together, the three of them are training our staff, Jenee and Manisha to conduct orientations about Global Giving and assist local NGOs in the use of Global Giving. See page 13 for more

    Volunteers in Nepal Recently we began to take our volunteers out of the valley and into the village to experience life in rural Nepal. Ive added a short photo section of our volunteers working in a rural village on a farm and planting trees at our own farm. Yesterday a group of our volunteers planted 100 trees at the farm.

    See the photos on page 12

  • 3Nepal Youth Network dot comOur initiative to create a platform for positive discussion, idea sharing and showing the talent of the youth of Nepal is off to a solid start. In just one month we have 235 members, 995 posts, 370 comments and over 40 entries in our monthly photo contest. Give it a look at or better yet, join and become a mentor.

    Short stories

    Help for Banke Village Fire Victims When fire swept through the village of Banke it destroyed 80 homes and left 200 people homeless. Working with an NGO partner in Nepal The Mountain Fund helped provide tarpaulins so people could get a roof back over their heads before the monsoon season.

    Medical Trek Coming this OctoberNepal Needs Medical VolunteersAre you up for the challenge?Join us forMedical Trek Nepal. If you are a medical professional or medical student, we need your help. In Nepal, healthcare can be nonexistent for those living in rural villages. The people there often go years suffering from illnesses or discomfort that are easily cured with basic medical care.

  • Changing the world, one village at a time.

    Welcome to rural Nepal, home to the majority of Nepals population and where you will find a lot of farmers getting by on less than a dollar a day. The village is really the backbone of the country and its also where a majority of the poverty is. Subsistence farmers, typically with one-acre plots of land, scratch out a living here. Dependent almost entirely on the seasonal monsoon rains as well as the governments supply of seed and fertilizer, which are nearly always in short supply, these hard working farmers barely grow enough to feed their families and in fact, often face serious shortages of food.

    Agriculture in Nepal has changed little over the course of hundreds of years. Small plots of land, family labor, wooden plow and oxen and survival crops such as rice and corn are the mainstay.

    Our farm in rural Nepal has many objectives including;

    A place for women with no place to go, where they can sustain themselves and their children by growing food. A classic hand up, not handout.

    A demonstration farm so the villagers can see how to increase food production and income using modern agricultural techniques.

    A place for volunteers to come and learn the reality of life in rural Nepal.

    It is also complete community support program with the farm as the base of operations. Over the next couple of years we will build and create a community center to host work that the village has specifically said theyd like to see such as;

    Computer access for village youth. The youth group in the village is very active and they recognize that in order to compete they need to learn computer skills.

    The womens group has asked for a place to hold meetings and to learn craft skills such as bead making so they can have a product to sell for some cash income.

    The village also wants a small urgent care clinic and health topic trainings.

    The importance of the village in Nepal and its impact on poverty.80-85 % of Nepal is rural, subsistence farming. Most of these farmers have approximately one-acre plots of land on which they attempt to grow enough food to feed their family, mostly without success, and attempt also to have some crops to sell for cash. The key to poverty elimination lies with these farmers. More than 70% of the worlds poorest people are small scale farmers.

  • It starts with the farm itself. One thing that is sorely lacking in the community is the ability to irrigate crops. At present there are several small streams and springs scattered here and there throughout the village. These water resources provide drinking water and water for crops but only on a rotational basis where each family gets a few hours of water each day. This is because there is no way to hold and keep water for irrigation in the village. At present there are some black plastic pipes stuck into the stream and each house takes a turn connecting its plastic pipe to the primary one so they can get water to their home and fields for a few hours each day. Building some irrigation ponds is not a particularly difficult task, nor is it an expensive undertaking either. Farm ponds have been extensively used throughout Europe for centuries as a way to retain water for irrigation and as a way to raise fish to add a source of protein to farm diets. Aquaculture as it is sometimes called allows a village to store water in earthen ponds is an integral part of agricultural farming systems. Many of these ponds were constructed during medieval times, on land that had no or little value for conventional agricultural cropping. Their primary objective was, and commonly still is, to store water. The ponds also served an additional function, which was the production of common carp. Livestock manure is used to fertilize the ponds. Carp are stocked at an extensive level and fed with low cost feed such as farm by-products. An economic assessment of such practices has indicated that revenues from fish sales might only just cover expenditures. However, fish production spreads farm inputs and diversifies outputs, and thus reduces management risk. Moreover, farm managers perceive extensive fish farming as a means to

    Criteria Facts

    Agriculture percent of GDP

    Number of people at food security risk

    Percent of farm land with year-round working irrigation

    38% of GDP is agriculture

    3.7 million


    Water With just 1/3 of the farmland irrigated, the single most important step needed to improve farm earnings is low-cost drip irrigation systems.

    To improve health in the villages, the single greatest thing that can be done is provide clean drinking water.

  • 6

    Location Poor annual income nrs Non-Poor annual income nrs

    Plains farmers

    Hill Farmers

    Mountain Farmers

    8,014 15,786

    11,161 21,115

    11,199 26,058

    Dont donate - INVEST, continued

    "Earlier, I could grow just one maize crop a year in the rainy monsoon season and had to leave the land fallow for the rest of the year. But now I grow three crops a year using drip irrigation, water harvesting and other simple technologies."

    "I am very pleased with the results. I now earn an additional Nepali rupees 60,000 (around 1,000 dollars) per year from my farm,"

    - a Nepalese farmer after installing a farm pond for irrigation.

    assure a certain degree of subsistence, and to maintain an asset in times of crisis.The table on the right demonstrates what a difference this can make. Poor farms are ones where the owner cannot afford to irrigate and on non-poor they can. The numbers shown are annual farm incomes, in Nepalese rupees. The increased incomes are substantial. These figures are a few years old but the representation of income differences holds true today.

  • 7Once the ponds are in place, we propose to hire the Mankhu Village Youth Group (approximately 30 members) and pay them a monthly wage to manage and maintain the ponds. The group will use their earnings for a variety of village youth programs including bringing the internet to the local youth clubhouse.

    The payment for maintenance to the youth group is coming from the farmers themselves who will each contribute a small amount in exchange for the ability to irrigate their fields from the community system. Increase crop production from increased irrigation more

    than offsets the cost of maintaining the system. The income of each home rises, the youth group has a source of income for its activities and everyone had more food. We plan to start immediate construction so that at the end of the monsoon season (late August) we can begin irrigation in the fields to keep crop production going during the time it would normally be tapering off. Total cost for 2 ponds is $10,000-$12,000USD. These ponds will provide improved irrigation for more than 80

    INVEST in our village and see your investment grow, quite literally !

    Nepal does not produce enough food to satisfy domestic demand, it has to import food equal to domestic production deficit.There was 316,000 metric tons food deficit in 2010, an increase by 139 percent from 2009, according to the WFP. In 2009, agricultural trade deficit was US$270 million, up from US$157 million in 2003

  • households and impact the lives of more than 3-400 villagers. The per capita one-time investment is under $25. This is a hand up and not a hand out. The villagers will have to pay for use of the ponds and maintenance of the ponds. An investment of $25 per person is all tha