References | Asia & Pacific

Rural Village Water Resources Management Project Phase II (RVWRMP II)


Natural Resource Management, Water Sector Services, Agriculture, Employment, Environment and Climate Change, Forestry, Gender Equality, Local Government and Decentralisation, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training Programmes, Fund Management, Health, Public Financial Management, Natural Resource Management, Good Governance and Public Administration

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The overall (long-term) objective of RVWRMP was institutionalized capacity at local and regional levels to sustain and continuously improve enhanced quality of life, better environmental conditions and increased opportunities in rural livelihoods in the Project area. The purpose was to achieve improved well-being and reduced poverty in the 113 Project Village Development Committees (VDCs, lowest tier of governance at the time). Decision making took place at district level via joint annual plans. The implementing agencies were the Ministry for Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), Department of Local Infrastructure Development and Agricultural Roads (DoLIDAR) together with participating District Development Committees (DDCs).

The project was embedded in local government structures and reported through the Red Book (national financial reporting). The grant from the Government of Finland was EUR 15.5 million while the Government of Nepal contributed EUR 4.3 million, the local governments EUR 1.1 million and the benefiting communities (usually in kind) worth EUR 5.2 million. The total funding of the Project was EUR 26,9 million. The figure of actual implementation of the TA budget of RVWRMP Phase II up to the completion date (2.2016) was 8 393 715 EUR.

The project staff provided by FCG ensured that the following results were achieved:

Result 1: institutionalized community capacity to construct and maintain community managed water supply and adopt appropriate technologies and behavior related to sanitation infrastructure. Achievement: total 406 stand-alone gravity-fed piped water supply systems were completed serving 137,978 people. Another 5,964 benefited from multiple use of water systems. In addition, total 177 rainwater harvesting jars and three solar lift systems built. At the end of Phase II, 112 out of 133 VDCs were declared Open Defecation Free with the support from RVWRMP.

Result 2: improved and sustainable nutrition, food security and sustainable income at community level through natural resources-based livelihoods development. Achievement: Total 53,000 people benefited from the micro-hydro power that further enabled establishment of micro-enterprises and had impact in education, health, information, communication, and reduction in women’s drudgery. The Phases I and II completed 96 farmer-managed hill irrigation schemes covering 720 hectares of land benefiting 7,430 households (45,300 people of which 28,000 in Phase II). These supported livelihoods activities through home gardening and commercial production of vegetables, spices and fruits, and were used for mountain/hill-side agriculture (paddy, maize, millet etc). A total of 35,773 households benefited from the home gardens at the end of Phase II for their food and nutritional requirements.

Result 3: institutionalized capacity at district level to continue integrated water resources planning and to support communities in implementing and maintaining Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and livelihood activities. For financial administration a water resources development fund has been set up in each of the project district. Channeling the contribution from the Government of Finland directly to the districts’ treasuries (through the account managed by FCG in PSU) and from the districts to the Users Committees Accounts resulted in learning-by-doing type of continued capacity building of the local governments’ accountants and other staff involved in monitoring, supervision, auditing and reporting the use of these funds.

The project idea was to develop the use of water resources on the basis of comprehensive VDC-wide inclusive Water Use Master Plans (WUMPs). The individual infrastructure schemes and related capacity building were selected as prioritized in the WUMPs, giving a long-term inclusive local development plan

The Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan of the Phase I was further developed and a Human Rights Based Approach was applied. This ensured that RVWRMP and its stakeholders adopted practices that lead to increased and equitable access to opportunities, resources and meaningful participation in decision-making, particularly for women, the poor and socially excluded (extending beyond the project activities only). The GESI Strategy and Action Plan had components and specific interventions that were applied at every step of the project, covering also monitoring, evaluation and reporting practices. It ensured that the voices of women & disadvantaged groups were heard at all stages, including the planning phase when the layout of the water supply scheme or other infrastructure was being prepared and the location of facilities such as tap stands was decided; through to the post-construction phase, when livelihoods activities were implemented. Confidence building workshops gave women and vulnerable groups the skills to participate actively in group meetings. Gender, rights and social inclusion were mainstreamed throughout the project activities, guidelines and procedures, and in addition, where needed, targeted approaches were applied (e.g. for issues such as combating discrimination against menstruation and improving access to water and sanitation, workshops for female User Committee members, or improving the access of people with disabilities).

A large number of initiatives were taken addressing capacity building and well-being aspects at all levels. Capacity building at national, district, VDC and community level was an integral part of program implementation in RVWRMP. This included formal training events and courses, as well as a multitude of on-the-job training, study tours, etc. For example, the project worked to strengthen the capacities of local User Committees and Community Organisations to manage their water and sanitation, irrigation, micro-hydro or multiple-use of water structures construction, maintaining bank accounts, records, procurement, etc. The project recruited and trained local level facilitators, giving training in community development skills, gender, technical training to village maintenance workers, agrovets, etc. and helped them to establish small businesses. The staff worked to develop the local government and line ministry staff capacities to manage infrastructure and social activity planning, implementation and monitoring (including rolling training for local government accountants). This included government staff working with agriculture, small- and medium enterprises (SMEs), local infrastructure, cooperatives, gender, etc.

Intensification of monsoon rains, reduction in winter rains, prolonged dry season and increasing temperature are some of the climate changes affecting water resources in Nepal, which set the context for Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) mainstreaming in any water and sanitation programme. As a result of climate and land-use changes, many springs in the middle hills of Nepal are in declining condition – the amount of water they discharge is reducing – creating a situation of water scarcity in numerous communities. A Climate proofing study was carried out in 2012. Based on the recommendations of the study RVWRMP's approach to climate change and disaster risk reduction addressed both adaptation and mitigation. The key point of entry was that all climate change and disaster risk mitigation/preparedness done in the Project must have direct tangible benefits for the poor and remote communities and their livelihoods. The Project prioritized strengthening the resilience and adaptive capacity of communities and local economies to climate risks. The Project addressed the challenge from various perspectives through its capacity building, livelihoods development, water resources management and related infrastructure work. Disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities were introduced in all scheme designs.

CCA and DRR mainstreaming received considerable attention – this included:

• Watershed based planning, to consider all aspects

• Training for district and project staff in CCA/DRR – incorporating CCA/DRR considerations in Water Safety ++ Plans and methods to improve water recharge and slope stabilization.

• CCA & DRR considerations were also integrated into Water Use Master Plans, and into WSP++. The CCA & DRR activities in WSP++ aim at preventing environmental and climate-induced hazards and addressing problems already experienced by water users, such as drying up of sources or damage by floods and landslides

• Training and awareness-raising on hazards linked to climate change for staff, district government staff and community members. The most common hazards are landslides, floods, source depletion/drought and thunder/storm/hail/snow. Activities to prevent these hazards include, for example, construction of conservation or recharge ponds, afforestation around the water source and preventing deforestation, awareness on how to protect from thunder etc.

RVWRMP supported trainings and development of infrastructure on topics such as:

• Rainwater harvesting structures (helps to make the most use of available rainwater and thus reduce the water stress)

• Improved Cooking Stoves (decreasing greenhouse gas production, decreasing firewood use by 50%)

• Catchment improvement works, such as tree planting, digging recharge ponds and pits, slope stabilization measures, to combat risks of extreme weather and drying up of sources)

• Solar lift water supply schemes (renewable energy source decreasing dependence on electrical or diesel pumps)

18 Micro-hydropower plants were constructed (5-100 kW, with an average of 45 kW), supplying around 41000 beneficiares. These systems had minimal environmental impacts, often utilizing existing irrigation channels and providing Multiple use System benefits to the communities, permitting small enterprise development and an improved quality of life for the users. Home lighting increased the potential study hours of children and improved their educational performance. It also improved the quality of life of everyone allowing light and power for social interactions, radio, computer connections and charging mobile phones. Small businesses became possible when reliable power from micro-hydro was available: carpentry, furniture production, spice grinding, noodle production, and other businesses have sprung up – providing income generation and employment in remote communities. RVWRMP worked closely with the Nordic Climate Fund- supported Renewable Energy Technologies for Enhancing Rural Livelihoods-project (REFEL) to install improved cooking stoves, improved water mills and hydram pumps in project areas.