Oxfam launches trans-boundary water governance project in Nepal
Oxfam in Nepal has launched a five-year programme to promote improved policies and practices that protect the rights of riverine communities along four districts of Mahakali River Basin by working with governments, private sector and other actors as well as women’s networks to strengthen their voice in decision making on water management and building infrastructure.
Funded by the Government of Sweden through its Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) office in Bangkok, the project will be implemented by Oxfam and regional and national partners in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
“The project looks at different dynamics of disaster from a river-basin lens,” said Dr. Swornim Wagle, Vice Chair of the National Planning Commission, adding, “We’re drafting a Resilience Book which could be a reference document for TROSA.” He further added, “INGOs could work together with the government to reap more benefits.”
The Nepal project will work in Darchula, Baitadi, Dadeldhura, and Kanchanpur districts for five years. Among others, the project will establish early warning system on Mahakali River Basin, collect challenges and good practices of riverine communities and present it to the government of Nepal (Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Water and Energy Commission Secretariat, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs) for further actions. Additionally, the project aims at empowering women on transboundary issues and also to support them in generating income. “If we could get enough support from government, private sector, partners, and INGOs, we could make this project a success,” said Cecelia Keizer, Country Director of Oxfam in Nepal.
Most of the population in the target areas are involved in agriculture—growing wheat, paddy rice, barley, maize, vegetables, potato and garlic in small scale. Men are involved as fishers; men and women also gather sand and stones from the river and crush them to produce construction materials. Most of the trade for the marginalized communities is from Nepal to neighboring country India, where they sell sand and gravel, fish and vegetables to the larger markets.
The TROSA projects aims to reach 224, 600 people among which 11% are people from Dalit community. It also aims at strengthening capacity of the river basin communities and civil society to have their voice heard in trans-boundary water resource management. By bringing together academic research with local knowledge, the project will build on evidence which will influence the trans-boundary water resource governance.
The TROSA project in Nepal is being implemented in partnership with ICIMOD (International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, WWF (World Wide Fund), IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), RUDES (Rural Development and Environment Management Society), RUWDUC (Rural Women Development and Unity Center), NEEDS (National Environment and Equity Development Society), and Sankalpa Darchula.
- The riverine communities’ problem has been impacted by the increasing natural disaster and hazard combing with the human induced disaster. The example includes the 2013 flood in Darchula where it damaged the Khalaga market place including loss of Kalagadh Micro Hydro project's powerhouse and its transformer, damaged Resource Centre of the District Education Office and mortuary of the District Hospital.
- Oxfam in Nepal worked in the Transboundary water issues in 2008 after the Koshi flood. Oxfam has worked to establish Early Warning System in Dadeldhura through Safer project funded by ECHO in 2013 and has also been supporting government officials to enhance their capacity in Early Warning system since 2008.
- Oxfam also responded to the Mid-West flood in 2014, flood in the eastern Terai 2017
- TROSA project in Nepal has four implementing partners—RUDES (Rural Development and Environment Management Society), RUWDUC (Rural Women Development and Unity Center), NEEDS (National Environment and Equity Development Society), and Sankalpa Darchula. The total budget of the project is USD 1.4 Million for five years.
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