Observations from the Winrock team in the Mountains of Nepal
Braving nearly impassable roads and 12,000 foot peaks (and fortified with delicious chai tea), Adam Reineck and the Winrock team visit communities using multiple use water (MUS) schemes in rural Nepal.
Our trip began by flying an hour west from Kathmandu to Nepalganj. We then began an epic journey that involved driving four to six hours each day and visiting some of the most remote areas in Nepal. We visited a variety of settlements and communities using multiple use water service (MUS). The impact of these MUS systems on the communities we visited was incredibly inspiring.
The easiest way to explain how a MUS system works is that various development organizations have started taking a very holistic and Human-Centered approach to meeting people's water needs, accounting not only for basic drinking water needs, but also the impact that water has on other aspects of community life, such as livelihoods (i.e. agriculture & rearing livestock) and health (ex: sanitation & water quality).
Nepal has had many successful MUS projects implemented over the past few years, so we're here to learn a little about the "secret sauce" they've been using. So far, one of the most successful models we've seen involves the forming of women's literacy groups in villages that are also responsible for running the water services. The villages with the women's groups are empowered, organized, and selling the produce they're able to grow (thanks to the MUS water catchment tanks) at a profit.
Over the last seven days, we visited nine MUS sites, two vegetable collection centers, and a distillery for making essential oils out of local crops. Our journey took us up and down giant mountains each day, often going from 4,000 feet to 12,000 feet and back again. Luckily, we were frequently able to stop for delicious chai tea at the misty tops of the mountain passes to admire the view. The pictures included with this post highlight some of the sites we've seen.
We'll check in again in a few days.