Women from Dola village including Yema Gharti, age 39, (with axe), and Bhabi Hamjajali (far left) construct a pond to irrigate their vegetable gardens in a project funded by Oxfam. ..Nepal’s hill districts like Dadeldhura have always lacked the proper investment in irrigation and seeds to produce their own food. The expense of transporting produce in from Nepal’s lowland Terrai region means that the price of food in hill areas like Dadeldhura has always been high. The recent worldwide increase in food prices together with reduced crop yields as a result of climate change has hit these isolated poor communities particularly hard. Rather than directly handing out food, Oxfam and its partners IDES (Integrated Development Society) have invested in communities like those living in Dola. By providing new drought-resistant seeds and funding the construction of reservoirs, Oxfam are helping Dola become more food secure. ..All of these women are members of a village PLC (Participatory Learning Classes), a means to promote the leadership potential of traditionally marginalised groups. PLCs have proven to be effective strategies for building women’s confidence and analytical capability and increasing their leadership potential. In the isolated village of Dola, groups of about 25 women meet daily for basic literacy lessons combined with discussions on community issues. PLCs have been used to involve the community in Oxfam-funded development projects in Dola including the construction of an irrigation reservoir.

“I am very keen to learn things so I go to the participatory learning class whenever I have time. We talk about the problems we are facing. Because we don’t have water our land becomes dry and we are not able to produce what we need. …..They taught us how to get the water form here to here, how to dig, and what materials to use…..I have also learnt how to write my name and also make my signature. This is important because I feel like someone now.” said Yema Gharti