|Basic Survey & Follow up|
RIDS-Nepal and its project partners believe that people are the center of each project, and applied technologies and services through our projects are intended to serve and support them toward improved living conditions. This approach demands that the local context, the people's language and culture have to be learned and understood in order to comprehend the unspoken and invisible “software” issues of the community. This demands time, compassion and dedication - crucial parts of a project, difficult to identify and judge and even more difficult to budget and “sell” to a donor agency.
RIDS-Nepal believes that the combined outcome of a Holistic Community Development (HCD) project bears more sustainable benefits than the sum of each individual project. This is particularly true with respect to the four critical pieces of community development in remote Nepal, the "Family of 4":
We believe in the synergistic effect of a project such as our "Family of 4", and we have created additional project components, the "PLUS" of the "Family of Four PLUS" based on what we have been able to learn over the last 10 years. These includes projects such as greenhouse, solar drier and nutrition projects for increased food availability and nutrition. Further the solar water heater and the Slow Sand Water Filter for increased hygiene and health, Non-Formal-Education, just to mention a few. While each project can be implemented by itself, as part of a long-term HCD project though, in combination with other projects, synergistic benefits can be achieved. This practical experience energises the local people's faith in and enthusiasm for making the model of the "Family of Four PLUS" work as a whole.
If the hypothesis is correct, that a HCD project, in close partnership with the community, will have a more sustainable long-term impact than the individual projects, then planned yearly impact surveys should identify this. Beyond the quantitative changes currently being monitored in villagers' time usage, morbidity, and nutritional status, a range of qualitative impacts are being monitored, including:
In order to come to a detailed and clear understanding of the long-term impact and results of an implemented HCD project, the initial living conditions and situations of the local people before a HCD project starts have to be understood. Therefore RIDS-Nepal carries out in each village a "Base-Line Survey" with a questionnaire developed specifically for these people groups in Humla. Each family is visited by our RIDS-Nepal staff and in a discussion with the local people 65 questions of the designed base-line survey questionnaire are worked through together. This enables a clear picture of the way of life and living conditions the people had BEFORE the start of a HCD project.
Once a HCD project has started to be implemented, and the "Family of Four", the smokeless metal stove, the elementary WLED (White Light Emitting Dido) lamps, the pit latrine and clean drinking water system have been built, installed and are in use, a second, "Re-Survey" is taken by the RIDS-Nepal staff. That is often after 1 1/2 to 2 years after the beginning of the implementation of a HCD project in a village. By that time the people have already become more familiar with them simple indoor lighting, the benefits the smokeless metal stove provides and the improved hygiene and health the pit latrines and clean drinking water have provided.
Thus the compulsory Base-Line survey, the periodical Follow-up visits and the Re-Survey provide RIDS-Nepal with the necessary data and information needed to evaluate on a periodical basis our ongoing HCD projects. That approach allows us to not only to get ongoing feedback from the end users, but also to adjust and improve our services and technologies so that the implementing projects have increased sustainability with a village based ownership for the individual programmes.