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In April 2015, Nepal was hit by a devastating earthquake, killing thousands and rendering many homeless across Nepal and India. To aid relief efforts, lend security and a level of comfort in this time of distress TERI collaborated with ICIMOD, Nepal to disseminate 1000 stand-alone solar lanterns to earthquake affected communities and families as part of the Lighting a Billion Lives campaign. The solar lanterns were provided at a special rate by technology partner Avni Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd. and transported to Nepal by road. With ICIMOD, the dissemination of all 1000 lanterns is now complete. We are happy to share a brief description by ICIMOD's Mr Nilhari Neupane of the last tranche of disseminations that took place this month.
440 earthquake affected households from Ratanchura and Baseshwor VDCs* of Sindhuli received solar lantern sets. Both VDCs are piloting sites for local level water use master plans (WUMP) in Sindhuli and are severely affected regions of the 25th April 2015 earthquake. Since 2014, under the Koshi Basin Programme (KBP), ICIMOD and HELVETAS Swiss Inter-cooperation, Nepal have initiated collaborative action research to develop Water Use Master Plans (WUMPs) at the catchment level in the three districts of Sindhupalchowk, Sindhuli and Saptari, that represent three ecological zones of the Koshi basin.
ICIMOD had received solar powered lamps from TERI to support earthquake victims of Nepal. To distribute these in the affected VDCs, prior coordination with CDO (Sindhuli), VDC representatives, local leaders and Nagarik Manch was done through partner organization HELVETAS and several local NGOs in Sinduli, including, Ghoksila Sewa Samaj and Community People Awareness Program (CPAP).
Due to a high demand for these lamps, a selection criterion was developed by the local authorities and priority was given to earthquake victims, un-electrified households, women headed households and dalit households. On 23rd December, 2015, local stakeholders organized a formal program for the distribution of lamps, with more than 300 households in attendance. Representatives from ICIMOD, HELVETAS, partner NGOs and VDCs attended the event as well.
The solar lanterns were well received by the earthquake victims. Recipients mentioned how these would be very helpful for their children as school final examinations were approaching. Women expressed how the lanterns would help them extend their household work hours to later in the night and also allow them to attend adult literacy classes in the evening. Most men planned to use the lanterns when they irrigated their land at night, which would be easier to do now, as they have to go to the source of water and walk along the canal several times during their irrigation turn.
The solar lanterns were also well received by the local community, who expressed their gratitude towards TERI and ICIMOD for their support. They also appreciated the efforts made by HELVETAS and local NGO partners for organizing the event and making the lamps available to those in need.*VDC - Village Development Committee