OCTOBER 2014 – OCTOBER 2019
USAID OFFICE OF FOOD FOR PEACE (FFP) | NEPAL
The Promoting Agriculture, Health and Alternative Livelihoods (PAHAL) Program is a five-year, USAID-funded initiative that uses a resilience approach to strengthen livelihoods, improve nutritional status and increase the capacity of vulnerable households to mitigate, adapt to and recover from shocks and stresses in rural communities. This layering of resilience with holistic food security programming is transforming the way communities and their partners protect, invest in and pursue their futures.
The PAHAL program focuses on Nepal’s MidWestern and Far-Western Development Regions. Remote and rugged, this terrain is highly susceptible to shocks and stresses. From heavy rains, hailstorms and flooding to human disease, crop pests and stress-based migration, a complex set of interconnected risks increasingly undermine food security, trapping vulnerable communities in cycles of poverty and hunger.
PAHAL works in 14 districts in Nepal’s MidWestern and Far-Western Regions. Specifically, Dailekh, Jajarkot, Pyuthan, Rolpa, Rukum, Salyan and Surkhet districts in the Mid-West, and Achham, Baitadi, Bajhang, Bajura, Dadeldhura, Darchula and Doti districts in the Far West.
METHOD & APPROACH
PAHAL utilizes a multi-dimensional, systems approach to address the underlying socio-political, economic and ecological constraints and the related shock and stress exposures that drive food insecurity in Nepal. Due to the fact that systemic constraints—from poor governance to restrictive gender and caste norms—undermine food security and communities’ ability to cope with and adapt to shocks, PAHAL weaves the principles of good governance and gender and marginal caste empowerment throughout its interventions. This model helps address social inclusion and governance barriers to resource access, knowledge transfer and the application of risk mitigation strategies towards resilient food security. PAHAL addresses these underlying constraints through the following cross-cutting transformative resilience capacities: increased participation, agency and voice; enabling rules and regulations; supportive knowledge systems, attitudes and perceptions; and strengthened social capita. The complex connections between shocks and stresses require the program works collaboratively, layering and integrating interventions to ensure communities are prepared for risks within multiple systems. Intricate systems dynamics necessitate that the program develops interventions that anticipate risks along the path to food security and boost a range of capacities that help communities mitigate risks holistically. PAHAL uses an adaptive management approach to increase access to: improved Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) services, strategies and technologies; effective Disaster Risk Management (DRM) services, strategies and technologies; appropriate and diverse financial services and products; dynamic and responsive agricultural and non-agricultural markets; productive natural resources and resource management systems; and quality health and nutrition services and information.
- Health and nutrition has improved as evidenced by change in the Household (HH) hunger scale. At the end of the 2015 baseline, the median HH hunger score was 3.8 in PAHAL areas, reflecting moderate to severe hunger. When the same question was asked in the 2017 mid-term report, the score was 0, suggesting little to no hunger
- 21,762 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Farmers accessed savings programs, saving a total of $2,134,017
- Marginalized caste groups and female-only HHs are yielding above-average profit rates for livestock at $65/goat and $49/goat respectively, suggesting training and support has been effectively tailored for these populations
PAHAL connects key government institutions with civil society, building their capacity to better understand and implement the government’s seven-step participatory planning process. In total, 7,038 individuals (63.4% women) including Community Forest User Groups (CFUG), Farmer Groups (FG) and cooperative members, have been trained on understanding and implementing the planning processes alongside newly elected local officials.
Appropriate water management is essential to helping HHs navigate increased water scarcity, manage flood-drought cycles and ensure a healthy natural resource base to support agriculture even in bad seasons. To improve water management, PAHAL facilitated Water User Groups (WUGs) to develop Operations and Management (O&M) and pay-for-use water schemes in consultation with communities, adjusting rates not only based on cost, but also on wealth criteria.