Community Development is a vital part of our work. Nepal is a country, with many people living in remote areas. We are committed to work with those who are hardest to reach and where hardly any other organisation is helping. Our teams help build strong and independent communities where everyone, particularly those living with a disability, can flourish and thrive.
'They are scared of us now'
INF's Community Development programme has changed many lives like Rita's. Rita lives in a small village community, just north of Nepalgunj, near the Indian border. Here INF’s community development work is transforming the lives of local women.
The land is flat and fertile, but still farmed in traditional ways. It is quite normal to see oxcarts travelling along the dusty, rutted tracks, which serve as roads. Very little has changed for hundreds of years.
Women like Rita are often regarded as lower class citizens within Nepali society. But in her village, they are beginning to take charge of their own destinies in a way they never have before. With the help of Bishnu, an INF community development worker, the women in Rita’s village are changing their own lives for the better.
Bishnu has encouraged these women to form themselves into a self-help group. Together they have thought about what they would like to do to improve their community. They decided on a number of projects. The group began by planting a vegetable garden so that there would be more variety in their diets. They have also planted a banana grove. This has had the added benefit of improving the children’s health. They have even built a shelter so that they can continue to have their group meetings in the 40 degree temperatures of summer, or the rains of monsoon.
Community development transforms individual lives
The achievements of these women mean that they have grown in self-confidence. They are now more likely to stand up for themselves. When the teacher failed to come to the local school regularly, they contacted the authorities to complain. They would never have dreamed of doing this before. Now the teacher is in school every day and the village children are getting the education they are entitled to.
When asked what their husbands thought about their new-found confidence, the ladies smiled. Rita said, laughing, “They are scared of us now”. Community development in Rita’s village has truly transformed the lives of individual women.
Traditionally the work of aid and relief organisations has been seen as simply the provision of much needed aid. A relief organisation might build a toilet, dig a well or install water purifiers or pumps. Whilst these projects do improve conditions for poor and marginalised communities, it has become clear that this does not make a long-term difference. Communities become dependent on donors for further needs to be met.
Find out how INF is making a difference by reading an Impact study about our work HERE