Nearly two years after the Nepal earthquake that cost the lives of 10,000 people, an appeal fund set up by the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists (BGAJ) has seen its first results, with the potential to create a long-term legacy in the form of a school agricultural training centre – a first for Nepal.
Nearly 80% of Nepal’s population depends upon subsistence farming for their livelihoods, but the country’s agricultural industry was devastated by the earthquake. Investment in agriculture, enabling people to farm successfully again, was one of the main objectives of the BGAJ’s fundraising.
“Two projects were identified to benefit from the funds by the British charity Global Action Nepal (GAN), whom we chose as our partner to ensure appropriate and targeted application of the funds,” says Adrian Bell, past BGAJ chairman, who administered the fundraising after meeting Nepalese agricultural journalist Pitambar Sigdel at the 2014 IFAJ Congress in Scotland.
“The first was an income generation and skills-learning programme for the Triratna community school in the Lalitpur region. They saw an opportunity to provide pupils with the basic agricultural skills and knowledge which would allow them to gain meaningful employment after completion of their schooling.”
Using empty land at the school premises, a kitchen garden was created and a range of vegetables grown. These were used in the school’s ‘home stay’, run by the cooperative to generate income for local social work, and were also sold to school staff and parents. The profits funded further school projects.