“Grab a Root and Hang On, We’ve Got to Get Through This!”
Ishowri is a Village Model Farmer (VMF) who lives in a small village in the Rasuwa district, situated in the north of Nepal’s central region. Most households in this community depend upon agriculture as their major source of livelihood.
Ishwori is one of many women in the district who have been a part of Suaahara, which is funded by USAID. Suaahara–‘good nutrition’ in Nepali–is uniquely designed for multi-sector integration of nutrition interventions that focus on women and children during the critical 1,000 days from conception through to a child’s second birthday. The program addresses the vulnerabilities in early development that result in stunted growth.
Suaahara’s agriculture component implements strategies to increase access to quality, locally produced, nutrient-dense foods among households with children under two years, focusing on reaching the ultra-poor and marginalized populations.
As a VMF, Ishwori provides nutrition education and enhances knowledge and skills on homestead food products to mothers’ group members. Her farm plot is used as a demonstration site to provide knowledge and skills on the production of nutrient-rich vegetables and backyard poultry management to further strengthen the link between food production, consumption and improved family nutrition.
The massive 7.9 earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25, 2015 left thousands of people dead and extensive damage to buildings. In the Rasuwa district alone, where almost everyone lost their homes, there were 579 deaths and 753 injuries.
Ishowri immediately responded to this tragedy by providing materials for shelter to families in her community, including plastic sheets she used for regenerating vegetable seeds.
Despite her property being severely damaged it is clear that Ishowri and her family have not given up. During a visit to her home post earthquake she said, “grab a root and hang on, we’ve got to get through this!”
This positive attitude makes Ishowri stand out as a VMF. She has lifted other local famers up with her by moving them on to the farming land, pulling out fences and establishing temporary houses. Her determination is an example; she says she’s teaching coping skills and encouraging development based on what they’ve learned.