Lila Bahadur Gharti, 35, is a local of a rural community named Thapagaun, located in the western hills of Baglung District. Few years back, he was unemployed and was making a living for himself and his family through wage labor activities. “I always wanted to engage in commercial farming. Unfortunately, the land remained barren for most part of the year because there was no water for farming except for rain water.” Lila’s family collected drinking water from a creek located downhill. Lack of access to water was not only a nuisance for Lila and his family, but impacted all residents of the community. Women and children used to wake up before the dawn and crowded the water source downhill. It took an hour just to fetch a vessel of water. The life was miserable, and many families sought solution by migrating downhill.
In 2017, NEWAH and charity: water supported a community water supply and sanitation project. It brought piped water connection at the doorsteps of every household of the community. Access to water brought changes in the lives of the community people. In the case of Lila, however, the change was momentous. “I decided to construct a pond (with a capacity of 2000 liters) to collect waste water from the tap” Lila adds, “with water available for irrigation, I started farming cash crops such as Sichuan Pepper, Lemon and Kiwi in the family land. The result has been phenomenal.” The crops attract high price in nearby markets, and the demand is growing. Lila earned NPR 400,00 (equivalent to $ 3500) from the sale of the products last year. Since this year, he has scaled-up the production. “The crops are not heavy water demanders and the soil and climate conditions are also suitable. I believe, this year, the profit will double” says Lila. With the income, Lila is able to pay for his children’s education, repair his house, buy a TV, and make savings for the future. He hopes with the money he is able to fund his child’s ambition to become a doctor.