Mission East identifies area for new programmes in Nepal

Mission East has identified the Soru Belt area and Humla and Muga districts as having the most critical needs within the Karnali zone. We hope to find ourselves addressing urgent needs there with new programmes in 2007.

During December 2006 – January 2007, Mission East carried out a three-week detailed needs assessment in the Karnali zone in the Northern Nepal. Discussions with national and regional leaders as well as other organisations and donors helped us identify the Soru Belt area and Humla and Muga districts, and we found that the people there are dealing with a high incidence of disease, child mortality, and decreased general wellbeing.

They are experiencing a food shortage, and evidence of a poor diet and insufficient nutrition is seen especially among children. Other problems identified by target communities included lack of transport infrastructure (paths, bridges), time used by women and children to collect water, lack of electricity, insufficient health provision and education.

The Mission East team consisting of Graeme Glover, team leader, Kurt Bauer, water and sanitation expert, Andrea Masini, agriculture expert, three people from a Nepalese NGO called KIRDARC, and three porters recruited locally, had to walk for four days from Nepal’s most northerly airport to reach the first of these districts.

Involving the community
"Community meetings were held in each of the four sub-districts involving local leaders and community members. The aim of these meetings was to identify and prioritize problems and their causes. We also held "key informant" meetings to collect quantitative information about each sub-district. Focus group meetings covered water and sanitation and food security and agriculture. In addition, a Household Food Insecurity Access Scale survey was carried out with a random sample of households," team leader Graeme Glover explains.

This assessment built on the initial assessment carried out in October/November 2006. In the initial assessment we identified the mountainous Karnali zone of Mid West Nepal as having the most critical humanitarian needs in the country.

Mission East will continue to keep you updated on the progress of our intended work in northern Nepal.

February 2007