Nirmala Mahara now can play and work in the day and study at night - Anjil Adhikari

Well lit homes and irrigated fields in Seri

“I did not get any free time to play with my friends because I had to complete all my tasks before sunset, including taking care of my siblings and animals. Now I can play in the afternoon and study and work in the evening.”  - Nirmala Mahara

Nirmala Mahara, 15, studies in class 9 at the local government school in Seri VDC, Darchula district. After Oxfam and its partner Sankalpa Darchula helped establishing a micro hydro plant in the area, Nirmala no longer has problems completing her homework. Her house is well lit, and the family’s fields are irrigated regularly.

For the construction a single canal was dug to provide water for irrigating the fields in the day and run a 12 KW micro-hydro plant at night. The plant benefits the 50 houses of Jayathala village. Some of the electricity is used for household lightning and cooking and some for running the community grinding mill.

The electricity has opened new avenues for development, linking enterprise development with food security and livelihood. The women, who used to spent hours collecting firewood, now use a rice cooker and invest the extra time in income generation activities. With the easy access to irrigable water, more fields are getting irrigated, increasing the production.

Thanks to the installation of electric poles, women feel safer going out, even in the dark. Students now have access to computers and youth have the option to start a local business. Some plan to open a cyber café to connect people to the wider world. 

In 2015, WASH Innovation project under Oxfam's Disaster Risk Reduction/Climate Change Adaptation programme built this multi-purpose micro hydro plant in Seri which brought electricity and irrigation facilities to at least 50 households. The project created a canal which is used both as irrigation canal as well as a head-race canal for the micro-hydro plant, showing how water optimisation brings additional benefits to communities.