- I now know that women can do everything and therefore want to encourage other women to become leaders and increase women's leadership in Nepal.
The words come from Chin Maya, chairman of one of the agricultural groups in Naram that has received support from IM through MADE-Nepal. Since Chin Maya became part of the group two years ago, she says that her self-confidence and capacity has increased - so much so that she has now also run and been elected to the local school committee in the area.
Chin Maya is just one of the women I met during my recent field trip and who all testify to a positive impact on their lives - both financially and socially - after receiving various types of support from MADE-Nepal and IM. The majority of women, who often come from marginalized and socio-economically weak groups, have in one way or another been part of a local agricultural group. Through these groups, participants receive technical support and training in sustainable farming, support and information about their rights vis-à-vis local authorities, as well as material assistance in the form of, for example, plants, goats or materials to develop their agriculture. Many groups are also based on a principle of passing on to others in the area - if you get a goat in support, for example, you only keep it until it has given birth to cubs, then you give the goat on to the next person in the group.
Em Maya Chidi is another woman who has shown positive effects of agricultural projects. When she started with goat breeding, she got in addition to training and education also two goats. Two years later, Em Maya now has twelve goats on her farm and she has also been able to sell some goats and thus increase her income. Thanks to this, Em Maya can now give her five-year-old son a better education. Although the situation for Em Maya and her family has improved in recent years, she still has dreams and goals to aim for.
- In the future, I would like to start a company and develop my goat breeding to increase my income and thus be able to further improve the situation for me and my family, says Em Maya.
Just like for Chin Maya and Em Maya, the situation for Dil Maya Thapa Magar and her family has improved in recent years. Dil Maya, who is the secretary of an agricultural group in Naram, proudly showed off her vegetable garden during my visit to her. Among other things, Dil Maya has successfully grown tomatoes, which she has been able to sell and thus earn her own money.
- I am no longer dependent on others and I can now give my two children a good education. In addition, I have been able to save some money for my future retirement, says Dil Maya with a smile on his face.
In the future, Dil Maya plans to further develop its agriculture and possibly start with animal husbandry.
What all these three women have in common is not only a will to change and a belief in the future, all three also show what positive consequences a development work can bring - both financially and socially. To be able to influence one's own situation, to see change take place and to receive a dividend for the work one puts in - I think that is at least as important for living in the Nepalese mountains as for someone in Stockholm's inner city.