I’ve been a little quiet over the past couple of weeks, but with good reason. I’ve moved from Banepa, and I’m now living in Kathmandu. The decision was largely based on pragmatism and practicalities. I said in an earlier post that one of the projects that I was working with in Banepa, (Navadeep Jyoti Kendra) closed because their funding ceased. Some of the staff and board of Navadeep continue to work with Sakriya Plus Nepal, and in effect there has been a merger between the two organisations although the existing funding arrangements dictate that SPN remains the named organisation.
So…one final photo for posterity of the front door to my home in Banepa. Fond memories….
I still continue to work for three days per week with SPN, but the remaining two days, (which were previously given over to working with Navadeep), have seen me working on a number of short term projects in Kathmandu. The reality is that any other additional work that I’m likely to be doing will be in Kathmandu…and in truth being here enables me seek out other opportunities more easily. I’m still working in Banepa, and commuting by bus. Watch this space…there’s a few things that I’m trying to get involved in, which once they are concrete, I’ll write about here…
And so back to a few reflections of the past year. Much of what I wrote about last time relates to infrastructure, or perhaps more pertinently lack of infrastructure. Its pretty much an abstract concept until you begin to factor in people.
Poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition are prevalent problems in Nepal. 24% of the population in Nepal live on less than US$1 per day, and the country ranks 145 among 177 nations on the Human Development Index. 42 of the 75 districts in the country are considered to be in food deficit, i.e., they lack sufficient food to meet the needs of the population [Source: Food and Agriculture Organization/World Food Programme. Food security assessment mission to Nepal’s special report. Rome: FAO, 2007.]. Nationally, stunting, underweight, and wasting affect 49%, 39%, and 13% of preschoolchildren, respectively, and nearly one in every two preschool- children (48.4%) is anaemic. [Source: Ministry of Health and Population/Macro International. Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). Kathmandu: MOHP, 2006.]
A household is considered food insecure if it has limited or uncertain physical and economic access to secure sufficient quantities of nutritionally adequate and safe foods in socially acceptable ways to allow household members to sustain active and healthy living [ Sources: Food and Agriculture Organization. Rome declaration on World food security, World Food Summit. Rome: FAO, 1996]. [Wolfe WS, Frongillo EA. Building household food- security measurement tools from the ground up. Food Nutrition Bulletin 2001; 22:5–12.].
Household food insecurity has two broad components: insufficient access to a nutritionally adequate and safe food supply at the household level, and inadequate utilization of these foods by household members.
The access component comprises three core domains: anxiety and uncertainty about household food supply, insufficient quality of food, and insufficient food intake by household members. The utilization component is influenced most immediately by nutrition knowledge and beliefs, but also by an infrastructure which limits access to healthcare, water, and sanitation services and practices relating to the management of childhood illness and hygiene
…and yet. This is a staggeringly beautiful country, with people who are keen to share their culture, heritage, time and often as not their food with you. Its often said that those that have least are those most willing to share. So…thank you to the people of Nepal. I think that you’ve given me more than I’ve given you in the first year. Hopefully next year I can reciprocate a little more…