Livelihood Fellow: Pradip Khatiwada

Livelihood Fellow: Pradip Khatiwada

               For the last couple of months, Women Development Advocacy Center (WDAC) along with Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai (TISS) have been working together on a project named "Post graduate Diploma in Disaster and Livelihood Recovery''. The program aimed to support energetic youths who have eagerness to learn, implement and give something back to the society. Seeing youthful hands involved in the earthquake recovery was enough to persuade WDAC to provide the platform for them to explore. And this has surely encouraged many youths to join the program.

               There were six contestant who applied for this fellowship and they are currently at TISS in Mumbai, India for studies. Recently, we have been in contact with the participants to get a brief on their experiences whilst at TISS.        

           Pradip Khatiwada is one of the participants of disaster management course. Pradip, has always believed in power of the youth in the service of the country. He has been engaging in various programs to connect with hundreds of volunteers and youths. He influences those around him to join the nation-building efforts. Multi-talented personality has made him succeed as a Program Host, Founder President of his own NGO, Producer, and Writer.

           Pradip took sometime from his busy schedule for a Q&A session. The questions basically compiles on their process of knowing about the course and their implementation afterwards. Here's the brief about the Q&A session.

What are the different occupations practiced by different groups in your community?

                In my community, the occupations of different groups of people are mostly dominated by the traditional means of agriculture and tourism. Many youths are in abroad for work and few are in the service sector but the ratio is very less.
      How has the earthquake affected the livelihood of different individuals, groups, communities?

               The main occupation of people in my community is agriculture and due to the relief materials that they received after the earthquake has affected their livelihood and made them more dependent. Due to the lack of seeds, water, etc. and some communities being displaced, they couldn’t plant crops, esp rice last season. So due to which, there can be a shortage of food in most areas this year. I had also visited places where most of the people were not engaged in agriculture and they are dependent towards relief materials.

               Tourism has suffered another big loss as the rate of tourists visiting after the earthquake has drastically reduced. The livelihood of hilly and mountain region people is more linked with the income they receive from internal as well as external tourists but the earthquake has created a huge loss. 

               More than 90% of the houses of my community have been destroyed; most of them even lost their cattle’s and their savings. It’s hard for them to imagine on recovering from that loss without any external help.

               The debris of the destroyed houses has yet not been cleared due to lack the of manpower. They haven’t even thought of rebuilding their new house as they haven't received clear guidelines from the Government. When I had conversations with the people it seems like they have lost everything in their life and are hopeless on getting back to their feet. 

How severe is the impact?

              Village life is always full of new challenges. Being based on traditional means of agriculture and not so competitive with the formal means of education system, the communities are already far behind in terms of means of technology. The earthquake has pushed them further backward physically and mentally.

             Due to the decline of numerous tourists, mostly the mountainous people are having to suffer just to continue with their basic needs. People are shifted from one place to another for their safety purpose but they are forced to live inside the tents even a year after the earthquake and are disconnected from all their normal activities. The basic needs of the people are in jeopardy and people are increasingly losing hope due to the slow response from the Government.

According to you which livelihood sector (agriculture, livestock, service, tourism etc) needs urgent attention for disaster recovery and why?
        Looking at the condition of my community, I think agriculture and tourism sectors need an urgent recovery. In order to fulfill basic needs of the people, first and foremost thing is to secure their food which can only be possible when they start continuing their agricultural activities.
        The tourism is another sector which was badly affected after the devastating earthquake. The ratio of foreign tourists in Nepal has greatly reduced. It's really an urgent need to recover life of people who mostly live in mountain and hilly region. This way they can get back and contribute to the tourism sector where most of their hope lies.

What are your ideas/plans for facilitating livelihood recovery among earthquake affected communities?
          My ideas/plan for facilitating livelihood recovery among earthquake affected communities would be, Providing an urgent support like the agriculture seeds, tools and technical support to the farmers. By Giving priority on recovery of irrigation canals and making it more participatory will make more people engaged. To support the economy of people, the products produced by the people living in earthquake affected areas can be branded as a cause and can be sold out in national as well as international market. The National Volunteering Program that I am leading, can be a perfect network to do this.
          For the recovery of Tourism, my ideas would be to put forward the concept of ‘Resilient Home-stay’ and promoting it into national and international stages. After the earthquake, the whole concern of the world is towards rebuilding Nepal and if we became able to spread that Nepal is safe for tourists then they will have less fear to visit here. This would really help the communities who are solely dependent upon tourism. Under the National Volunteering Program, we have already built more than 500 resilient homes. Now, our plan is to build such homes in the tourism dependent areas by promoting and publicizing the earthquake resilient homes. They will be available as ‘safe’ home-stays for the tourists, and the entire money spent goes to the earthquake affected communities directly. So, the tourism can be revived in those areas.

Prajwol Wagle - football fanatic, Blogger, Music enthusiasts, Studying Bachelors in Business Administration  



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