Mission East seeks to address urgent needs in Nepal

The decade-long conflict between the government and the Maoists in Nepal appears to be over. In November, the two sides signed a peace agreement. An important way to support the peace process is through providing sustainable solutions to the chronic levels of poverty in many parts of Nepal. 

Graeme Glover, from our office in Brussels, carried out a two-week initial assessment trip to Nepal. His visit focussed on the mountainous Karnali zone in Midwest Nepal. The Karnali zone is the most remote region in Nepal. It has with no roads and contains the very poorest parts of Nepal. 

The Karnali is one of the regions of Nepal that has suffered most from the conflict between the Maoists and the government (it is Maoist “heartland”). Many people who have left the Karnali region to live in lowland areas. Reasons for departure include a lack of food, lack of land and the effects of the conflict. 

Recent years have seen a drought, which is resulting in an increased gap between people’s food stocks running out and the next harvest. WFP and other organisations are currently focusing emergency funding to combat the effects of a drought. 

One of the main coping mechanisms is for the men to leave during the winter and find work in Northern India. These men are often living and working in terrible conditions in northern India. 

All indications from Graeme’s initial assessment suggest that there are significant needs that Mission East has the potential to meet, in the Karnali zone. There appears to be a need for the kind of integrated projects that we currently carry out in Afghanistan. The initial assessment suggests that integrated projects should involve food security, clean drinking water systems and hygiene education. 

We have provisional plans for a holistic, three-stage, Karnali Support Programme:

  • First stage: Mission East to set up an office in the Karnali region and co-implement integrated projects with a local partner (it is a legal requirement to work with a local partner in Nepal). 
  • Second stage: Support to a local partner that is providing community development support to lowland areas with high levels of migrants. 
  • Third stage: Support to a local partner working with migrant worker communities in northern India. 

We plan to carry out a more detailed needs assessment in the Karnali zone by the end of the year. The assessment should allow us to have a better idea of the conditions in relevant districts, on a village-by-village basis 

Click here to go to the slide show of the visit...