The Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction (MoPR) together with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and German development agency Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), today inaugurated a new road that connects remote villages of Baitadi district in far-western Nepal, providing communities with better access to markets, health centres, schools and other key facilities.
The ceremony was attended by MoPR Joint-Secretary Bharat Prasad Poudyal, WFP Nepal Representative Nicole Menage, GIZ Country Director Roland F. Steurer and GIZ Programme Manager Claudia Maier, as well as local government officials and community members.
“Roads provide vital access and mobility to poor rural communities,” said Menage. "With the opening of this road, I am confident people here will have much improved access to social services. The road will stimulate the local economy, improving lives and reducing geographic isolation."
With funding support from the European Union Food Facility, the construction of the 32 km Dehimandu- Giregada Rural Road Construction Project started in 2009.
GIZ, under the guidance of Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, and WFP collaborated to provide work opportunities for participants who received food (rice and lentils) and cash in exchange for their labour. More than 5,000 poor households have already benefitted every year from these food and cash transfers, and many more are benefiting from the opportunities created by the new road.
GIZ and WFP are long-term partners in the implementation of community-based livelihood projects in Nepal. Under the commission of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ provides technical expertise, equipment and skilled labour to ensure the quality of the road, taking into consideration social, environmental, health and safety aspects.
“I am pleased to see the fruits of the collective work of the government, international agencies and local communities,” said Ram Datta Pandey, the Local Development Officer. “I am hoping this road will transform people’s life for the better and will contribute in the development of the region in the years ahead.”
To date a 25 kilometre stretch has been completed – the remaining seven kilometres will be finished by September this year. By connecting seven remote villages – Dehimandu. Gwalek, Nagarjun, Rodidewal, Amchaur, Kulau and Giregada – the road will benefit more than 47, 000 people and promote social and economic development.
“The inputs from WFP and the German Government complemented each other in a perfect way,” said Claudia Maier from GIZ. “On the one hand people were able to bridge their food gap instantly; on the other hand they profited from plenty of new long term income opportunities. Production in agriculture has gone up significantly and many families earn additional money since they have accomplished vocational training. These changes motivate people to manage their lives independently in the future.”
Between 2007 and 2012, WFP constructed or repaired nearly 3,000 kilometres of roads and trails linking rural communities to markets and towns in the most isolated regions of Nepal.
WFP programmes reach about 500,000 people every month in Nepal, mainly in the Mid- and Far-Western Hills and Mountains, helping people meet their immediate food needs and to improve their living conditions by providing employment opportunities on infrastructure projects designed to bolster resilience and self- reliance.