Local Community Organisations

Members of the Dhungentar Aamasamuha (Mothers’ Group of Dhungentar) at their monthly meeting

Local community organisations play a vital role in building a community’s capacity to address prevalent issues, withstand external shocks, and develop into a self-sustaining settlement. Such organisations allow community needs and interests to be protected and addressed by local representatives, who can democratically identify solutions. Accordingly, the pilot demonstration project strived to establish such organisations as a part of its community-focused activities.

Mothers’ Group of Dhungentar

In Dhungentar, women’s participation in income generation is very poor; only around 38% of women over 16 years of age earn an income. Similarly, their disadvantaged status is highlighted by the fact that only 19 of 96 houses in Dhungentar are owned by women. 

With a sizeable number of men working away from Dhungentar, the vacuum in community leadership needs to be filled by women. Apart from imparting income-generating skills (click here to read more about the skill training programmes organised in Dhungentar) to women to promote financial autonomy, this project focused on empowering women to collectively address social issues, create local social safety nets, and actively lead the community. Consequently, the Mothers’ Group of Dhungentar (Dhungentar Aamasamuha) was formed, following a one-day orientation programme on its necessity.

The group convenes monthly to discuss the community’s pressing issues and ways to address them. The group has mobilised for different community betterment activities, such as clean-up campaigns. Members have also assisted in construction activities, such as the construction of the Dhand–Ratamate trail road, setting of the damp proof course (DPC) of the multipurpose community centre, and repair works on the Dhand–Archale bridge when heavy rain scoured its foundation.

As a community safety net, the Mothers’ Group of Dhungentar has opened a community savings fund, with small monetary contributions collected from community members each month. This fund will be used for the group’s activities and will serve as a line of credit at a low interest rate to those in need. 


Hear from the people

“Before the Aamasamuha (Mothers’ Group), there was no formal women’s group for anything. We have common problems but we’ve never organised to tackle them together. I’ve been attending the Aamasamuha meetings regularly because we try to work on things that help us all. We’ve been regularly cleaning the village. We’ve helped out in construction activities. We even contribute 100 rupees to a savings fund every month. We’ve come together in a way women haven’t done before. That really makes me happy. I hope it continues. I really do. But then the men have been allowing us to do this because the project has helped us organise. I’m not sure how things will continue after the project is complete. We want to continue, but there’s bound to be resistance. For example, we’ve been discussing how we can deal with alcoholism and gambling in the village. But men will be resistant to that idea. And naturally they’ll be opposed to our group.”
- Mamata Sunar, Mathillo Dhand

Social Mobilisers 

Four young women were identified from different village clusters in Dhungentar for assisting in the implementation of various project activities. These social mobilisers were engaged in basic door-to-door data collection, information dissemination, procurement, and community mobilisation. As beneficiaries of the project, they offered valuable insight into the problems, needs, and workings of the community and acted as an important link between the project and the people.

The aim of recruiting these social mobilisers was to engage youths in the reconstruction and development of their own community and help them become catalysts of change. Working as social mobilisers provided them with experience and skills for their future growth. The social mobilisers also attended the skill training programmes organised in the settlement, and one of them has become a vendor for e-Sewa, a Nepalese e-commerce company. 


Hear from the people 

“When the project approached us for working as social mobilisers, we were uncertain about what we’d be able to do. But we were sure we wanted to contribute. We had been seeing houses being rebuilt and different development activities being conducted. As young locals affected by the earthquake, we wanted to be useful in whatever way. We help with procurement. We maintain records and inventories. We knock on doors and collect and give information. We’re part of this community, so we know the people. They know us. It’s easier to help and ask for help that way. We attended and helped organise trainings and learned how to participate in meetings. We began to speak up for the village. We’ve learned so much, and we hope we’ve done some good.”

- (Left–right) Bhawani B.K., Apsara B.K., Sarmila Sunar, and Samikshya B.K.

Dhungetar Reconstruction and Development Community

The Dhungentar Reconstruction and Development Community was formed to ensure that the project’s reconstruction and development activities are uniformly spread throughout the settlement. This local community organisation was formally registered at the municipal office to ensure its legitimacy and commitment to Dhungentar’s progress. 

This 11-member community organisation allows locals to actively shape Dhungentar’s reconstruction and assume ownership in development activities. The 6,503 sq. ft. land for the multipurpose community centre in Dhand was purchased by the project in the name of the Dhungentar Reconstruction and Development Community. The future functioning and maintenance of the community centre will be overseen by this community organisation.  

Gallery

The project’s local social mobilisers: (left–right) Bhawani B.K., Apsara B.K., Sarmila Sunar, and Samikshya B.K.
Social mobiliser Sarmila Sunar (left) helping transport saplings for plantation in landslide-prone areas
Orientation being provided to Dhungentar’s women on the benefits of a women’s group
The Dhungentar Aamasamuha (Mothers’ Group of Dhungentar) assembling after the orientation programme
The Dhungentar Aamasamuha convening for the distribution of dustbins among all households
Aamasamuha convening for their monthly meeting
Aamasamuha assembling for a clean-up activity 
Aamasamuha members volunteering for the construction of the Dhand–Ratamate trail road
Aamasamuha members posing on the Dhand–Ratamate trail