In Baitadi, one of the poorest and most isolated districts in Nepal, a 32km long road is being built as part of the Dehimandu-Giregada Rural Road Construction Project over the next three years to provide improved access to markets and livelihood opportunities for over 6,000 local households.
During agricultural lean months, local villagers get the opportunity to work on the road building project in exchange for food and money as part of WFP’s Food/Cash for Assets (F/CFA) programme, funded by the EU Food Facility (EUFF).
"Usually at this time of year [March to May], my family struggles to put proper meals on the table,” says 52-year-old Raj Bahadur Malla, “but with this project, I am able to work and get additional food and money for my family and good nutrition for my children." In exchange for his labour on the road, Raj gets 2kg of rice, 250g of lentil and NPR60 for a day’s work, plus a sachets of Vitamix, a nutritional supplement to children under five years of age.
Local farmer Keshab Bahadur Bohara is very excited about the road and believes it will create many opportunities for the villagers once they are connected to the nearest town, Dehimandu. "I have seen how people's lives have changed after roads came to their areas, and I am looking forward to seeing what it will bring to my village."
Once the road is completed, Keshab will be able to sell milk and citrus fruit in the market, and he says the income will improve his family's livelihood. Both Raj and Keshab complain that currently their surplus agricultural products rot because of poor access to market. They both expect this road to change that. "I am getting old, so I will not be able to enjoy what the road will bring our village for long, but for my children and grandchildren it will be a different story," Raj said before going to work on the stretch of road that winds its way into his village.
In 2009, WFP Nepal received 12 million in funding from the EU Food Facility to undertake livelihood and agricultural improvement projects through food/cash for work activities.
WFP’s Food/Cash For Assets (FCFA) programme
WFP’s Food/Cash For Assets (FCFA) programme targets the most food insecure and vulnerable commuities with projects that improve production and livelihoods while providing assistance to meet immediate food and nutrition needs. In 2010, the programme will target 1.6 million Nepalese people, work activities will include: road and bridge development and repair, irrigation systems, fishery ponds and cash crop cultivation. Project activities are designed to be undertaken between planting and harvest periods when household food stocks are leanest.