Jajarkot is one of the least-developed districts of Nepal with Human Development Index HDI value of just 0.373. The outbreak of cholera in 2009 that claimed lives of 129 people and attacked 12,500 people shows the backwardness of the district in terms of health awareness and facilities. Lack of basic infrastructures such as transportation and electricity directly acts as a serious hindrance in daily lives of people. Punma Village Development Committee (VDC) which is located in the north-west from Jajarkot district headquarter; Khalanga, has majority number of male population migrating abroad or lower regions of Terai for laborious work that leaves only women to tackle with economic burden of the house. Moreover, their poor knowledge on child nutrition and sanitation had constantly made them victims of epidemy such as cholera .
Thus to help women improve their economy and nutrition knowledge ECCA established four women groups(Mahila Samuha) in four places of Punma which were named as BalJyoti Mahila Samuha, Kimeri Mahila Samuha, Laliguras Mahila Samuha and SuryaJyoti Mahila Samuha. 92 women were given training on various subjects that were thought to be necessary. Realizing the need of water purification in the community, chlorination devices were distributed and members of the group were taught about safe and affordable water purifying technology of chlorination plus WATASOL production. They were further made aware of many water-borne diseases such as cholera itself and how they can avoid such diseases through drinking purified water. Home gardening was one of the main highlights of the project. Along with providing skills on vegetable farming, the members were provided with different seeds support. Furthermore, they were given training on saving and credit management as a result of which women have already started a monthly saving scheme. Besides revolving fund support, the members are also allowed to receive the saving amounts collected in the form of credit after their request for gets approved by the group. This has helped to build the confidence of women to go forward for income generating activities like grocery shop, buffalo/goat farming, vegetable farming and poultry.
“Being involved in women group has changed my life. I wasn’t used to saving money. To begin with, I barely had any to invest. But now it’s different. By taking loan, I have grasped agriculture and animal husbandry as a source for my livelihood. I have managed to pay back the loan slowly and even have 1600 rupees in my saving accounts till now”, Dalli Sahi of BalJyoti Mahila Samuha happily shares.