Capacity-building and Sustainable Development
Capacity-building and Sustainable Development
Asta-Ja Research and Development Center (Asta-Ja RDC) has been working on an organic vegetable production project, which is supported by GreaterGood.org and Asta-Ja USA, in Vyas Municipality, Tanahau, Nepal, since March 2019. Three hundred households are participating in the project. The major objectives of the project are: 1) To improve nutritional status of the target communities through vegetable production in home gardens, 2) To increase household income through the sale of vegetables, and 3) To build capacity of local communities on improved methods of vegetable cultivation. The project supports target communities by providing vegetable seeds, conducting training on improved vegetable cultivation, and establishing demonstration plots of improved vegetable cultivation.
Organic vegetable production training in Chunder, Vyas Municipality, Tanahu, Nepal.
Global Climate Change and Environmental Quality is a serious public concern in Nepal. Atmospheric effects include brown clouds, thick haze and smog, reduced precipitation, cold winters, and dimming of the earth surface. Environmental degradation is caused by unplanned urbanization, increasing vehicles, burning wood and other trash material, chemical uses in agriculture, and excessive dust in the air.
To contribute to the governmental campaign of controlling environmental pollution in the rural and urban areas in Nepal, Asta-Ja USA has partnered with the Non-Resident Nepali Association National Coordination Council (NRNA NCC) USA, Community Environment Academy, and Asta-Ja Research and Development Centre (Asta-Ja RDC), Kathmandu, Nepal, for a monthly seminar series called "Environmental Community Awareness Seminar Series". Monthly seminars hosted this year in Kathmandu so far include: Dirty Water: Contemporary Water Issues in Nepal (March 31), Dusty Air (April 27), Ugly Flood (May 9), Climate Change and Environmental Quality: Challenges and Opportunities (June 6), Indoor Air Quality and Biomass Burning (July 22), Solid Waste (Aug 28), and Air Pollution in Kathmandu Valley (September 18). Monthly seminars are continuing.
First seminar of the monthly Environmental Community Awareness Seminar Series in Kathmandu, Nepal.
A Magar community in the Chudher Village in Vyas Municiplity of Tanahu district in Nepal is located at 2,206 ftabove sea level, where women have been spending as much as five hours daily carrying water on their backs for the families. The Chudher village sits on the hilltop which is about two hours walking distance from Damauli Bazar in the north overlooking the Himalayan range of Machhapuchhre, Annapurna and Lamjung Himal. Raising cattle, goats, pigs, and chickens for family consumption, farming on hillslope terraces, and working as agricultural laborers are some of the major activities practiced in the Magar community.
While carrying drinking water for the family has always been a daunting task for women, the spring water sources drying up due to climate change in recent years has further aggravated this situation.
This community also hosts an elementary school, where sufficient drinking water for school children has always been a challenge; they regularly go to nearby houses for drinking water. The Pandherikhola, which is the source of water for this “lift project”, is located at 1,391 ft above sea level, thus requiring a water-lift of 815 ft from the source to the village. This water supply project will serve more than 120 households and an elementary school. Asta-Ja RDC is partnering with Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunset, Hawaii, USA, the Rotary Club and Vyas Municipality, Damauli, Tanahu and local communities in the drinking water initiative.
Asta-Ja RDC Officials meet with the local communities in Chunder Village for drinking water supply.
Asta-Ja Research and Development Center (Asta-Ja RDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) entered into an agreement for the implementation of a project entitled “Rebuilding Nutritional Security of Golden 1000 Days Earthquake hit Families ” on February 1, 2017. UNICEF is involved in improving early childhood health in Nepal and elsewhere (http://unicef.org.np/campaigns/golden-1000-days). Thus, UNICEF funded Asta Ja RDC NPR 5,408,150 to implement an interdisciplinary Dry Chain project in a village in Kavre district. The overall objective of this project was to contribute to the reduction of malnutrition among 2015 Gorkha Earthquake affected children and mothers by using simple and scientific food storage Dry Chain technology. The specific objectives were: 1) To minimize food and nutrition losses through preventive measures to control molds, insects and rodents, and 2) To raise awareness about the nutrition sensitive Dry Chain technology by training local communities. Dr. Peetambar Dahal, Retired Seed Scientist from University of California, Davis, USA, and AstaJa RDC Volunteer, led a team of scientists and staff from Asta-Ja RDC, Dr. Jwala Bajracharya, Dr. Bishnu Chapagain, Mr. Pushpa Lal Moktan, Mr. Hari Bhusal, and other Asta-Ja RDC volunteers. In order to implement this project, a number of stakeholder meetings were held in Kathmandu including Child Health Division in the Department of Health Services, Ministry of Health (MOH) and UNICEF Chief Mr. Stanley Chitekwe. Other stakeholders consulted include NAFSEEDs, Dahal Trading, MOAD, MOH, Nepal Reconstruction Authority and Zest Laboratory and Dept. of Food Technology and Quality Control. We also partnered with Jeff Davids who works on SmartPhones4Water in Kathmandu and uses Open Data Kit (ODK) to enable citizen scientists to collect hydrologic information through Android phones. A pre-survey of the candidate village was undertaken on Feb 27, 2017 as the consultation meetings at district headquarter Dhulikhel was delayed due to national agitation by staffs within the health sector. The survey team, consisting of Crop Development Officer (CDO) Tharka GC in District Agriculture Development Officer (DADO), Hari Bhusal and Peetambar Dahal from Asta-Ja RDC, visited Ugrachandi Nala village. Poor quality of the maize was noticed in the open structure Suli. Such poor quality of the food was convincing enough to the stakeholders to agree on implementing the program in this village. A total of 7,998 tripple layer hermetic PICS bags to 1,049 households for grain storage and 29 electric corn shellers (one corn sheller for 35-40 households) were distributed in Ugrachandi Nala VDC in Kavre. To test the effectiveness of the hermetic bags, we analyzed how hermetic bag storage affected the nutritional quality of the grains, including analysis of thiamin, carbohydrate, and total aflatoxin content in 33 grain samples.
Distribution of hermetic PICS bags and electric corn shellers in Ugrachandi Nala VDC in Kvre.
August 29, 2017. Dr. Peetambar Dahal, Asta-Ja RDC Member, at Shikhar Sambad, Himshikhar TV, talking about Dry Chain Food Storage Technology for protecting food from flood damage.
On June 2-5, 2015, with financial support from the GreaterGood.Org and the hungersite, the Asta-Ja RDC together with the Asta-Ja Abhiyan Nepal distributed seed packets for earthquake victims in Kathmandu (Ramkot and Shankharpur), Dhading (Jibanpur village), Nuwakot (Jiling, Ratmate and Duipipal villages), Kavre (Chandani and Mahadevsthan villages), and Sindhupalchowk district (Bhimtar and Mankha villages) of Nepal. A total number of 611 families benefitted from this relief effort. Seed packages included rice seeds (sabitri), and 10 different vegetable seeds (tomato, carrot, radish, soybean, string beans, corianders, and green leafy vegetables). A total amount of 1,505 kg rice seeds and 227 packets (9 sets kit, 2 kg vegetable seeds per packet) of vegetable seeds were distributed. Orientations were given immediately by agricultural technicians on varieties, plant growth, nursery management, fertilizer requirement, planting, pests and diseases, and harvesting to the farmers after the seeds were handed over. Seeds were distributed in the presence of Agricultural Officers from the respective districts.
On June 16, 2015, with financial support from the Society of Nepalese in Hawaii (SNEHA), the Asta-Ja RDC together with the Asta-Ja Abhiyan Nepal distributed Justa Pata as an emergency relief work in earthquake devastated Jaubari village of Dhading district in Nepal. Justa Patas were distributed with the help from community leaders including Mr. Hari Bhatta, Mr. Bishnu Gurung, Mr. Shibva Aryal, and Mr. D.P. Aryal. We transported the Tin Sheets all the way from Dhadingbesi to Jaubari village and distributed to the earthquake victim communities (141 households, each household one bundle) and to the local school named Shri Mandali Lower Secondary School.
On July 29, 2015, the Asta-Ja RDC together with the Asta-Ja Abhiyan Nepal in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and in coordination with District Agricultural Offices in the 23 earthquake devastated districts of Nepal started the distribution of 50,000 GrainPro SuperGrain Bags, which were provided by the GreaterGood.Org and the hungersite, to the earthquake victims in Nepal. A SuperGrain Bag is a multilayer plastic bag with a gas barrier which can be used in any kind of agricultural commodity storage. The bag acts as a gas and moisture-proof barrier. It retains low oxygen and carbon-dioxide levels created by the respiration of the commodity inside. SuperGrain Bags have already been transported to all 23 districts and their distributions to earthquake victims have been continuing. Super Bags have already been distributed in Benighat, Gajuri and Khanikhola areas in Dhadhing and several villages in Kathmandu, Laiitpur and Bhaktapur districts.
On November 27, 2015, with financial support from the Acadiana Indian Association (AIA), Lafayette, Louisiana, USA, the Asta-Ja RDC together with the Asta-Ja Abhiyan Nepal distributed relief blankets to earthquake victims in Kathmandu and Dhading districts of Nepal. With the onset of chilly winter, the victims really appreciated the relief package. Asta-Ja volunteers, villagers, and earthquake victims appreciated the support and thanked AIA for this valuable help. It was heart-breaking to see the devastation and poverty these villages. Despite almost eight months passed after the Gorkha Earthquake, this community sadly had not receive any relief from any other agencies due to its difficult terrain location and remoteness. About 120 households received relief blankets .
On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, the University of Louisiana (UL) at Lafayette Nepalese Students’ Association, the Association of Indian Students, and the Acadiana Indian Association (AIA) Lafayette, Louisiana, USA hosted a candlelight vigil and fundraiser for the victims of the April 25th Nepal Standard time 11.56 AM massive 7.8Mw magnitude Gorkha Earthquake that killed over 9,000, injured more than 25,000 people, and affected nearly 8 million people in Nepal. The event was held in Oliver Hall Auditorium, Room 112, located on the UL Campus and was attended by the University President, Deans, faculty and staff, students, and members from the local communities.
A local TV in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA, covers 2015 Gurkha Earthquake Devastation in Nepal.
Asta-Ja Research and Development Center partnered with the School of Geosciences at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana, USA, for chure degradation research. During the 3rd and the 4th week of June, 2014, Asta-Ja RDC supported the field work of a research team that comprised of two faculty members, Dr. Tim Duex and Dr. Durga D. Poudel, and a graduate student Ms. Terri Bannister, from School of Geosciences at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The research team gathered field information from Bara and Rautahat districts, verified landslide information obtained from landsat images, conducted key informant survey, visited several locations in Chure range, observed land degradation by Chure rivers, and collected data on gravel and rock exports. The picture on the right shows Dr. Duex measuring subsidence/decrease of 7' 5" of river- bed under one of the bridges of East West Highway in past 40 years.
Dr. Timothy Duex, a Geologist, measures subsidence of 7' 5" of riverbed under a highway bridge.
Although the Asta-Ja RDC was established in 2014, its foundation basically lies on the interdisciplinary livestock climate change adaptation research that started in June 2011. Its executive members especially Dr. Durga D. Poudel, Dr. Ram Pukar Thakur, Dr. Kamal Kant Acharya, Dr. Bishnu Chapagain, and Mr. Amleshwar Singh were among the main investigators of the "Capacity-building and Strengthening of Livestock Production System while Adapting to Climate Change in Nepal (SLPS)" Nepal Seed Grant Project funded by LCC-CRSP and sponsored by USAID. During implementation of this project, researchers felt a great need of a grassroots-based, multidisciplinary, research-focused non-governmental organization with high academic standards and research credentials for effectively handling challenging research issues such as climate change adaptation. As a result, Asta-Ja RDC was established in 2014.
Local communities in Thulokhola watershed of Nuwakot district in Nepal examine goat health.