As COVID-19 shut down countries and communities around the world, Nepal was no exception. It was several months before case numbers began to rise in Nepal, but the secondary impacts of the virus on rural communities was significant. With Nepal closing its borders to tourism, a huge number of families became impacted by a loss of tourism-related employment and income. This included porters in the trekking industry, owners of tea houses and lodges, restaurant owners, and more.
With so many people negatively impacted, our partner on the ground, The Small World, began their COVID-19 response by distributing vital food supplies, such as rice and lentils, to rural communities. But it quickly became clear that a long-term and sustainable solution was needed. So for phase two of response, we shifted to a new program: Seeds of Hope. The new program helped communities grow their own food by providing seeds, planting orientation, and basic training by agricultural experts focusing on seasonal farming, cash crops, kitchen gardens, organic compost, and organic pest control.
To date, the program has reached 500 women through community women’s groups, and thus 500 families across rural areas of the Solukhumbu region of Nepal. The crops are already growing and these families have been set up for sustainable food security for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.
Thanks to all our supporters and contributors that donated funds to make this important and urgent aid project possible.
And what’s next? Our women are thrilled with the program, and are now interested in a greenhouse program to help them grow a larger diversity of crops year-round. Stay tuned for details on this program.