Livelihood Training Programmes

A one-day needs assessment was conducted with the participation of 48 locals in September 2017 to identify and understand the types of training required by the community. Accordingly, training programmes were designed taking into consideration the community’s capabilities (skill and investment capacity), available resources, and local niche. These programmes were attended mostly by women of the Dhungentar community. Women’s participation was a significant step towards empowerment, as women lag behind in economic participation and financial independence, with only around 38% of women over 16 years of age earning an income and only around 20% of houses owned by women.
The training programmes were intended to disseminate knowledge on various relevant matters and develop practical skills for starting small home-based businesses, with the possibility of building local microenterprises. The series of training programmes was conducted in coordination with Manushi and launched with a two-day introductory session on enterprise development in March 2018. 

Kitchen Gardening 
Training programme on effective kitchen gardening

Kitchen gardens are an important and cost-effective source of food for family consumption that can allow subsistence farming to be expanded to commercial agriculture, thereby providing food security and improving livelihoods. Kitchen gardens can empower communities to manage on-farm agricultural biodiversity while promoting dietary diversity for healthier families and ecosystems.

Around 32% of households in Dhungentar are engaged in subsistence agriculture for their livelihood, and around 47% of households either own no land or possess landholdings less than 1 ropani (5,476 sq. ft.) in area. Consequently, imparting knowledge on the benefits of optimum utilisation of available spaces for kitchen gardening was deemed important. 

Two training sessions were conducted in February 2018 on effective kitchen gardening skills that can improve livelihoods. The training was attended by 20 project beneficiaries and involved information dissemination regarding the following: multi-crop farming, crop diseases, seed selection, cultivation methods, water scheduling, nursery establishment, and market values of produce.

Liquid and Laundry Soap-Making
Locals receiving training on the liquid soap-making procedure

During the needs assessment, Dhungentar locals had identified laundry soap-making as their primary interest. Accordingly, a one-day training on liquid soap-making and a two-day training on laundry soap-making were conducted for 23 project beneficiaries in February 2018. The training consisted of sessions on raw material ingredients, mixing procedure, associated costs, and quality control. 

Given the readily available ingredients, simple production procedure, and market demand of soaps, the liquid soap-making training was particularly well received and highly suitable for community skill building and livelihood improvement. The easy production and reasonable returns on investment have encouraged some community members to continue small-scale production of these products. They periodically make and sell liquid and laundry soaps to the service and auto industries in Battar town, Nuwakot.

Incense Stick-Making

Participants gather for the incense stick-making training programme

A two-day training session on incense stick-making was conducted in February 2018 for 16 project beneficiaries. The training provided skills on required ingredients, mixing raw material, methods for applying fragrance, drying procedures, and packaging. 

A primary ingredient used in incense stick-making is the resin-based binder obtained from the bark of kaulo tree (Machilus odoratissima), which is abundantly available in Nepal’s Mahabharat range.

Other raw materials required for incense production are available locally or in nearby Battar town: bamboo sticks, charcoal dust, diethyl phthalate, white oil, and fragrance.

Poultry farming and animal husbandry

Participants of the poultry farming training programme

Poultry farming and animal husbandry are extensively practiced in Dhungentar; however, the widespread use of traditional practices has limited the possible economic and environmental benefits. To help locals move beyond the present subsistence farming system and produce agricultural surplus for generating income and secure livelihoods, the project organised separate three-day training programmes on both poultry farming and animal husbandry in March 2018, with 20 and 19 participants attending, respectively. 

The training programmes involved instructions on a wide range of tested methods, low-cost technologies, and best practices, with the aim of developing integrated mountain farming systems. Topics such as shed improvement, brooding requirements, rearing methods, feed composition, and disease prevention were covered. 

Many trainees have started to expand their poultry farming by prohibiting the use of eggs for meals, focusing instead on allowing chicks to grow and breed. Shed improvement activities have been undertaken by a few households as well. With beneficiaries contributing wood and tin, the project has been constructing two- or three-tiered poultry sheds on a needs basis. A few cattle and goat sheds are also being improved and expanded, with a urine collection system installed in these sheds to allow local production of bio-pesticide. 

Crystal-making
Locals learning the crystal-making procedure

A training programme was conducted in April 2018 on how to make crystal jewellery. The 12 participants learned how to use crystals to make simple bangles, traditional necklaces, earrings, and rings. Participants procured required materials from Battar town and have formed small, informal groups for the production of crystal jewellery.