Between 2014 and 2017, Caritas Switzerland cooperated with two local partner organisations with the aim of informing the population in 35 communities about natural hazards, and to jointly develop measures allowing them to be better prepared for disasters and diversify their livelihoods. The project has achieved successes: With dams, ponds and canals, the water masses are regulated during the rainy season and stored for the dry season. Thanks to better irrigation, the yields have increased, income and food supplies have improved. The water situation during the dry season has also improved at the household level thanks to communal water tanks, with positive consequences for hygiene and health. Disaster preparedness training courses and the establishment of protective zones and emergency supplies (food, water, seeds) prevent the loss of lives and livelihoods. Thanks to the tremendous commitment of women in particular, the entire infrastructure was largely funded locally. At the political level, cooperation between the different public authorities and the population has improved. Moreover, the project supports a DRR network at the provincial level with likeminded NGOs and is involved in lobbying work at the national level.
The second project phase builds on the experiences and successes of the first phase. 50 communities are newly included in the project. Compared to the first phase, some innovations have been made. Thus, eight primary schools are newly involved, in which improved hygiene practices such as more frequent hand-washing, clean drinking water and environmental protection are being included in the curriculum (Blue School concept). Each school also benefits from improved water and sanitary installations. In the school garden, the pupils learn about the close link between the production of foodstuffs and an efficient and sustainable use of natural resources. A total of 3,150 children and 100 teachers are reached.
The government implemented two large-scale water infrastructure projects with dams and canals in the project area, which are designed to prevent floods and droughts in the region. The local partner organisations are involved in irrigation management and support the government agencies and the communities in developing sustainable solutions so that all benefit equally from the irrigation and avoid harmful effects on the natural, economic and social environment.
Climate-sensitive, ecologically sustainable agriculture becomes even more important. Farmers learn how to apply modern agricultural techniques in order to increase the yields and their quality on the one hand, and on the other hand to grow nutritionally valuable vegetables, grains and pulses alongside rice. They can then sell their produce on the local market, generate a higher income, and also improve their own nutrition.