Koshi River Project
1. Project Name Introduction
Koshi River Project
The Koshi River links Nepal with India and has caused catastrophic floods in the past. The flood disaster of 2008 resulted in high numbers of deaths and damages to land and property in both countries. In Nepal, many small farmers did not receive any compensation and impoverished increasingly. Income opportunities are low due to the desertification of the formerly fertile farmland. Households with better income have left the region, meanwhile poor farmers stayed behind. Especially ethnic minorities and members of lower casts are amongst the people who could not afford to move away.
Intensive rains and risks of breaches in the dam make the areas close to the river on the Nepalese side especially prone to spring floods. On the Indian side, areas along the Koshi River regularly face flooding during months and long-lasting water logging. Majority of the people residing in these areas are belong to the lowest castes and do not have possibilities to leave these areas. The inundations reduce the fertility of the ground. Families living there do have often no other option than to emigrate on a seasonal basis. Insufficient water and sanitation facilities present a major health hazard, especially during the regularly recurring floods.
The Koshi River flows from Nepal into the district of Supaul of the Federal State of Bihar and in the following into the district of Saharsa. The high speed of the Koshi River in the Supaul district is the reason that floods are only a short-term problem. In the project region of the Saharsa district the flow rate is much slower and thus floods lead to more enduring and extensive inundations. The elected Gram Panchayats Baghwa, Telwa and Ghongepur of the Mahisi Block, are all located between the Koshi River and its side river Kamala Balan. During the monsoon season, the area between both rivers is flooded. Due to topographical conditions, the water can hardly drain off. Almost half of the year, the area is under water and the whole year water logging affects the ground. The Mahisi block is a rural area, with almost 24% of Scheduled Castes (SC) or Dalits (the average of the Bihar Federal State is 15.6%). The percentage of illiterate persons is relatively high with 62% and the socio-economic livelihood of flood-affected persons extremely precarious. Most of the people live from daily labor on the field or cultivate their own small farmlands (although agricultural activities are hardly feasible between July and October).
The access to governmental social services is limited for authorized recipients, amongst other reasons because of a lack of knowledge and bureaucratic inefficiencies of local authorities. Alternatively, male family members migrate to the surrounding big cities outside the harvest season to work as laborers to make a living for their families. Whereas richer households move to safer locations during the flood season, vulnerable groups like Dalits, ethnical minorities, women, persons with disabilities and children, do not have the necessary means. Particularly the rigid caste systems and the poor income situation of the inhabitants hinder their ability to migrate to flood secure areas.
Despite recurring inundations, there are no standardized disaster preparedness and management structures. A functioning early warning system is not existent.
Impact: The project will contribute to poverty reduction among marginalized and flood-affected communities along Koshi River
The present project was flagged off in the month of September 2016. To achieve sustainability in the project and area population, we the project phase is divided in a span of 4 years upto 2019. And as per requirement, the project can be extended further.
- To improve resilience of 5 VDCs in the flood-affected areas of Sunsari District (Nepal) and 3 Gram Panchayats in Saharsa District (India) through improved and better livelihood, WASH conditions, and enhanced response capacities.
- To improvise the income opportunities for 1,000 households in India and 3,000 households in Nepal.
- To Increase and improve access to sufficient safe drinking water throughout the year, appropriate sanitation facilities and practice improved hygiene behavior amongst approximate 15,000 persons in India and 10,000 persons in Nepal.
- Ensure that in 5 VDCs in Nepal and in 3 Gram Panchayats in India, community-based disaster risk reduction and management plans exists.
- Regular cross-border learning and sharing opportunities would take place.
4. Target Groups
To have direct impact on 3 Gram Panchayats i.e.; up to 6,000 households and 25,000 population.
5. Key Components
1. The income opportunities for 1,000 households in India and 3,000 households in Nepal are improved.
- Formation and training of 100 community-based income-generating groups (IGGs) and consolidation into five cooperatives (Nepal).
- Training of at least 1.000 farmers in alternative and resilient farming practices (India/Nepal)
- Construction of 18 irrigation support systems (Nepal)
- Construction of four market centers (Nepal)
- Establishment of two fruit and fodder and four vegetables nurseries (Nepal)
- Employability enhancement and vocational trainings based on current market trends for 400 young persons and 350 community members (India/Nepal)
2. 15,000 persons in India and 10,000 persons in Nepal have access to sufficient safe drinking water throughout the year, appropriate sanitation facilities and practice improved hygiene behavior
- Training for community members in water quality management (Nepal)
- 3 Construction of 15 flood-resistant and shared model latrines with hand washing stations and solar lighting (India)
- Training of 200 community members in the use and maintenance of affordable and safe latrines (Nepal)
- Hygiene promotion on the community level and in schools incl menstrual hygiene management (India/Nepal)
3. In 5 VDCs in Nepal and in 3 Gram Panchayats in India community-based disaster risk reduction and management plans exist
- Formation and capacity building of 12 Gram Vikas Samiti-Committees (India)
- Facilitate VDCs to develop or update local disaster management plans and to integrate in local village development plans (India/Nepal)
- Facilitate the formation of a Panchayat level federation of village development committees and advocacy with Panchayat and block authority for implementation of Panchayat Level disaster risk management plans (India)
- Training in boat sailing and distribution of boats to 30 women (India)
- Improvement of local early warning systems and development of an informal cross-border early warning system (India/Nepal)
- DRR awareness campaigns in schools and communities (Nepal)
- Regular cross-border learning and sharing opportunities take place
- Conduct 6 exchange visits for learning and sharing of experience between community collective leaders from 5 VDCs in Nepal and 3 Gram Panchayats in India
- Implementation of bi-annual coordination meetings of all partner organizations
- Preparation of a joint publication on cross-border approach and lessons learnt
6. Key Outputs
1. Financial Sustainability
In India, the project will hand over the newly constructed infrastructure to the GVS and beneficiaries. To cover the accruing costs for the maintenance of hand pumps in India, each GVS establishes a bank account to which the community members transfer monthly a small amount dedicated for the maintenance. For each hand pump, a water committee within a GVS will be responsible. For the maintenance of each latrine, five households will be responsible. A written contract regulates the responsibilities.
2. Structural Sustainability
The project has inbuilt sustainability; the project focuses on the establishment and training of the self-help and self-administration capacities of the communities.
In both countries, through the IGGs and GVSs community-based structures will be built up and strengthened. In the last year of the project, the project team will federate these structures into higher administration units, which will be able to represent the interests of these marginalized communities. Both partner organizations have already gained considerable experiences that the structures will still function after the end of the project. The underlying approach of all activities is to build capacities that can pass on their knowledge after the end of the project.
3. Ecological Sustainability
This project also addresses ecological sustainability, though only to a smaller extent. Firstly, through the provision of reusable sanitary towels, the problem of disposal will be addressed. Secondly, on the Nepalese side, the planting of fodder plants limits the further destruction of trees by cattle.
The project itself is a model for disaster preparedness and livelihood for flood-prone regions that can be replicated in other flood-prone areas of Nepal and India.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation Development (German: Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung), abbreviated BMZ, Germany. Founded in 1961, the Ministry works to encourage economic development within Germany and in other countries through international cooperation and partnerships. It cooperates with international organizations involved in development including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the United Nations.
Malteser International is an international non-governmental aid agency for humanitarian aid of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Developed in 2005 from the foreign aid service of Malteser Germany (founded 1953), and having the status of an independent Eingetragener Verein since 2013, agency has more than 50 years of experience in humanitarian relief.