Leaving Ghopte Besi in Safe Hands

24th December 2018

Raleigh's International Citizen Service (ICS) livelihoods volunteers are working for sustainable development with community members in Ghoptebesi, Makwanpur. They have now appointed mentors who will continue to work for improvement of livelihoods in their community after showing the community people the importance of livelihood diversification and how sustainable farming practices will allow them to increase their income and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

After mid-phase review, our team returned to Ghopte Besi, Makwanpur, feeling energized and willing to achieve beyond targets and ensure ‘sustainable development’ – the word that we have all come to love. We believe that these people are committed to sustainability, so we have identified and selected four mentors, who each represents key community demographics; youth, women, agricultural farmers and livestock farmers. These individuals will continue to champion livelihood diversification over the next generation and beyond.

One of our major aim is to work with the community people to make them understand the importance of livelihood diversification neither of which are solely in the community’s hands due to the influence of ‘Mother Nature’ and the global economy. As development only goes far in creating sustainable change, Community members have started to see actual opportunities to diversify their income such as polytunnels.

ICS volunteers constructing polytunnel

As we have committed to invest in inspiring minds, we are inspiring the community to maximize use of natural resources to change from subsistence to commercial farming which will further help them to increase their source of income. By appointing mentors who will continue to work for improvement of livelihoods, we are confident that we will be leaving Ghopte Besi in the safest hands.

Through hosting a ceremony to officially welcome mentors into their respective role, we have empowered them to be the leaders of change. The Ward Chairman, Community Leader and fellow community members showed their support for the newly appointed mentors. Volunteers addressed mentors with speeches – recognizing inspiring stories, including resilience to rebuild a livelihood through varied income streams following the 2015 earthquake. Tika was received by the mentors and were presented with badges to mark the ceremony.

Putting Tika to Mentors

Volunteers led exercises such as team building activities, speech competition on livelihood diversification to identify the qualities of a mentor, to know their knowledge on the topic and empower mentors to recognize and appreciate their own strengths, skills and dedication towards the community. We were delighted by how openly the mentors presented themselves, sharing why they were proud to be part of the community, referring to past experiences and describe how they feel when they help and serve others.

‘I am proud to be a part of Ghopte Besi community because people here ask for help, and I am somebody who is always ready and happy to provide help, because support can go a long way ’ – Krishna Ghimire, Agricultural farmer mentor.

Both mentors and volunteers learned from each other and the team gained experience in event planning, public speaking and facilitating, whilst the proud smile on the mentors’ faces set the tone for the next phase. This event is testament that empowering community members is the key to sustainability!

(Written by Tilly Corless)

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