Solar-powered lamps to earthquake survivors

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Helvetas staff teach the local community how to operate the solar lamps.

Hundreds of earthquake-affected families in Ratanchaura and Baseshwor Village Development Committees (VDCs) of Sindhuli district are no longer sitting in darkness after receiving solar-powered lamps donated by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). Earlier in January, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Nepal distributed lamps to 440 earthquake-affected households in Sindhuli, a district hit hard by the earthquake on 25 April.

ICIMOD’s Koshi Basin Program and Helvetas started an initiative to develop Water Use Master Plans (WUMPS) in Ratancharua and Baseshwor VDCs. WUMP promotes effective and equitable water management at local level. Both Ratanchaura and Baseshwor are pilot sites for WUMPs and were severely affected by the 25 April 2015 earthquake. 

Since, 2014, under the Koshi Basin Programme (KBP), ICIMOD and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal have initiated a collaborative action research to develop Water Use Master Plans (WUMPs) at the village development committee (VDC) level in three districts — Sindhupalchowk, Sindhuli and Saptari — of Nepal representing three ecological zones of the Koshi basin.

Families receiving solar lamps included earthquake survivors, marginalised families and women-headed households — all of whom have no electricity.

With the lamps, women are able to resume their adult literacy classes normally held in the evening. Children use their lamps for homework. Farmers use the lamps to check irrigation canals at nights which need constant monitoring. 

The lamp distribution was organised on 23 December and was attended by most households within the VDCs.

The lamp distribution provided ICIMOD and HELVETAS an opportunity to see the  progress of WUMP in the VDCs. WUMP’s initiation has been progressing despite the impact of the earthquake in both VDCs.