The "Inter-regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation and Development". GCP/INT/542/ITA. aims at promoting and consolidating people's participation in the conservation and development of upland catchments, in accordance with Government policies and priorities. The adaptation and application of participatory methods and the promotion of an integrated approach to watershed management are the central elements of this multi-component project which, during its two-year first phase, has included five country subprojects in Asia (Nepal and Pakistan), Africa (Rwanda and Burundi) and Latin America (Bolivia). The present three-year extension phase covers all the above countries, except for Rwanda, where field activities have been stopped due to prevailing security conditions. Consequently, Tunisia has been included by the donor as the alternative country to participate in this project.
In Nepal, the project is implemented jointly by FAO and the Department of Soil Conservation. During the first phase of the project, rural communities in selected villages of the Bhusunde Khola watershed, Gorkha District, were involved in the selection, planning and initial implementation of improved land husbandry, natural resource management and community organization activities geared to sustainable development of fragile upland areas. This extension phase aims primarily at consolidating the promising results obtained during the first phase, through continued support to the local participatory process, the mobilization of all actors involved (government institutions and services, NGOs. and projects), and through an extension of these activities to Upper Kher Khola watershed.
Assistance is given to the local administration and its technical services, in order to incorporate both the participatory and the integrated watershed development dimensions in decentralized planning for Gorkha District. Furthermore, methods, techniques and information tools are generated that enhance the replicability of the participatory watershed management approach in the participating countries and elsewhere.
User groups are at the basis of most development activities carried out by the project. During the first phase of the project many user groups were formed throughout the Bhusunde Khola watershed. Women groups are a form of user groups, they are usually primarily focussed on income generating activities and welfare. Eight women groups have been formed to date in the project area, most of them spontaneously. The leadership development and management training was particularly useful in strengthening the organizational capacity of these women groups and thus to contribute to their effectiveness and durability.
The training courses were largely conceived and organized by the National Consultant, Mr. D.R. Chapa, in close cooperation with other team members. Mr. Chapa also provided the largest contribution to the preparation of this report.
Frits M.J. Ohler
Chief Technical Advisor