Organisation doing in the Himalayan region

In every issue, HIMAL will introduce non-governmental organisations and research institutions doing work in the Himalayan region.
— Editor

Development Alternatives
Development Alternatives, established in 1982, is a non-profit, multidisciplinary organisation engaged in designing, developing and delivering appropriate technology packages for sustainable development. The society designs environmentally sound and socially appropriate technologies aimed at the mass market so as to bring socio-economic change through self-supporting action at the grassroot level.

At the invitation of Sikkim´s newly constituted Department of New and Renewable Sources of Energy, Development Alternatives ts organising a rural energy survey under the Integrated Rural Energy Planning (IREP) scheme so as to maximise use of existing resources. The Soreng Sub-Division in West District has been selected as the study region to develop a data-base for block level rural energy planning.

Development Alternatives plans to cover about´1,000 households in Soreng, which has a population of 34,662 spread over 62 villages. The study will assess the physical, economic and social environment relating to rural energy planning, investigate the basic needs, and attempt to understand the consumer´s perception and preference regarding energy options. It will quantify available energy resources, map the consumption pattern, and suggest models to optimise use of soft woods, hard woods and other materials. As a follow-up, Development Alternatives will provide a framework for increasing progressively the net energy to be made available to the villagers of Sikkim.

Ashok Khosla, Executive Director 22, Palam Road, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.

New Era
New ERA is a senior development consultancy in Kathmandu. In the past 15 years, it has completed nearly 150 studies and training programmes covering social and economic projects. By developing professional capability within Nepal, the group has contributed significantly to the process of replacing expensive expatriate expertise with professional Nepali know-how. In Juiy last year, New ERA adopted an enlightened policy by removing existing barriers between professional and non-professional staff members and providing uniform facilities.

During the past year, New ERA completed 11 projects. Among other things, it studied the impact of the Nepal-Australia Forestry Project, looked into the problems of public participation in forestry development in Sindhupalchowk District, prepared an inventory of trained community health workers, suggested ways to improve hill farm productivity in Tanahu District, and estimated the fertility and mortality rates in Nepal by geographic region and socio-economic group.

Ongoing work of New ERA includes an evaluation of water supply and sanitation in the Tarai, asking why women do not use contraceptives, helping improve services to Nepali craftsmen, and preparing a strategy for involving women in natural resource management.

Bal Gopal Baidya, Executive Director, P.O Box 722, Maharajgunj, Kathmandu.
Centre for Women and Development
Unhappy with the exclusion of women from the development process, a group of professional Nepali women got together in 1983 to give expression to their concern. The Centre for Women and Development is a non-profit "action agency" that wishes to "enable women to participate as full partners in the development of Nepal". In striving to create an environment in which women´s potential is effectively used, it conducts multisectoral social science research, collects and disseminates information relating to women in development, advises planners and policy makers, organises seminars and training, and collaborates with governmental and non-governmental organisations.

The Centre is involved in translating into Nepali major works relating to women so as to make the literature more accessible locally. It has studied the representation of women in Nepali media as part of an Asia-Pacific regionwide study. It is conducting an analytical review of the impact and effectiveness of the Women´ Development Programme under the Small Farmer Development Project. Work is in progress to establish within the Centre a Women and Development Information Network.

Bina Pradhan, Executive Director, P.O. Box 3637, Kathmandu

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Himal Southasian