With an aim to holistically address and tackle the issues of the marginalized community living under the risk of landslides and extreme poverty, Bighnaharta Nepal initiated the project, Bio-engineering Social Enterprise for Disaster Risk Reduction and Livelihood Upliftment in Raksirang Rural Municipality, Makwanpur district.
The area is mostly inhabited by the Chepang community, which is categorized as the second-most marginalized community in Nepal. In addition to having to face the long-historic socio-economic and political marginalization, poverty, food insecurity, and under-utilization of natural resources, the community is also prone to face the extreme dangers of landslides as they live in the vicinity of the dense forest in the isolated, rugged hill ranges.
The project aimed to address the dangers of landslides, establish a sustainable means of living, and ensure food security for the Chepang community through the plantation of Broom Grass (Thysanolaena maxima) in landslide-prone areas. Broom grass, locally known as Amriso, possesses a strong root system that binds the soil mitigating the risk of landslides.
The project has been divided into four major phases. The first phase consists of engaging the Chepang households of Raksirang Rural Municipality to plant Broom Grass (Thysanolaena maxima) in landslide-prone areas. As a labor charge for planting broom grass, the second phase consists of providing the community with necessary food supplies under the “food for work” modality. Upon yielding the plant, as a part of phase three, essential training is provided to the community to help produce environment-friendly and sustainable brooms. Finally, the finished products are supplied to the distributors in the market, establishing a sustainable means of earning for the Chepang households.
As of now, the project has been able to mitigate the risks of landslides by 90% and benefit a total of 1610 Chepang households from all nine wards of the Municipality who were previously dependent on labor work and daily wages for their livelihood. Additionally, the community has been able to generate a sense of empowerment and ownership for the ecosystem management as the locals are running the project under the assistantship of the local government.