Celebrating World Environment Day 2018 at The Earthquake Reconstruction And Rehabilitation Project In Dhungentar, Nuwakot

World Environment Day 2018 Event at Dhungentar: Brief Report

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Since 2016, ICIMOD in partnership with the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has been implementing a pilot demonstration project to reconstruct earthquake-damaged houses and build a resilient mountain village supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). On 5 June 2018, World Environment Day, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) organized an event at the site of an earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation project in Dhungentar, Nuwakot.

The event was inaugurated by the chair of the District Coordination Committee and the vice mayor of Bidur Municipality. Welcoming over 100 participants, Basanta Shrestha, Director of Strategic Cooperation at ICIMOD, spoke about the importance of building a resilient mountain village and how it enables public and private sectors to collaborate and build back better in the aftermath of the devastating 2015 earthquake. The day’s activities focused on showcasing the project’s progress in constructing disaster-resilient infrastructure, developing the community’s capacity, and improving and preserving the environment. Private sector organisations were invited in order to encourage future engagement in the resilience-building goal of the project.

Basanta Shrestha, Director of Strategic Cooperation, ICIMOD, welcoming participants to the event in the Dhungentar project site

Participants visited the community centre, still under construction, and learned about the multipurpose nature of the building. Community members will use the centre for meetings, workshops, trainings, health camps, child care, and as an information technology centre. During disasters, the centre can also be used as an emergency operation centre. Participants also visited the project’s agriculture model and model house, which showcased innovative, climate-smart technologies. Participants were introduced to the block production technology being used and the eco-friendly, cost-effective, and disaster-resilient qualities of the locally produced blocks. So far, 54 shelters and toilets in the settlement have been built using these blocks, and the community centre will also incorporate the interlocking block technology. As of 31 May, 92 houses are in advanced stages of construction. 

Participants observe construction activities at the community centre site
Shantaman Tamang (centre), Chairman of the District Development Committee, Nuwakot, and Gita Dahal (third from left), Vice Mayor of Bidur Municipality, and officials from the Department of Forest visiting the agriculture model
Rahul Barua, Secretary General of South Asia Foundation, volunteering in a demonstration of the block production process

The primary activity of the event—tree-plantation—was organized in Archale village. More than 200 trees of various species were planted in landslide-prone areas by Bidur Municipality local government leaders, NGO partners, settlement community members, and female students of Trishuli Medical College. This aimed to create local awareness on safeguards against landslides. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) showcased the environmental and health benefits of clean fuel in rural settings. In an interactive session, GACC explained the benefits of smoke-free kitchens and clean cookstoves.

Participants planting tree saplings contributed by Dabur Nepal along landslide-prone areas in Archale Village, Dhungentar
GACC presenting the clean cookstove concept to the Dhungentar community and other participants

In the closing ceremony, representatives from private sector organizations expressed their commitment to the settlement’s development or their interest in collaboration through a corporate social responsibility approach or business development plans. Lucent Drop announced its plan to set up a community-based drinking water system and provide access to clean drinking water. Dabur Nepal said it would continue to provide plant seeds for environment improvement; e-Sewa initiated its plan to provide access to digital services by setting up a vendor in the settlement; Shikhar Insurance discussed the possibility of providing agro and cattle insurance; South Asia Foundation discussed the suitability of the Amul cooperative model in the community; and Heifer International brought up prospective goat-rearing livelihood options.

Sabir Bade Shrestha, CEO of Nabil Investment Private Limited, speaking to the assembled crowd about potential business collaborations