Ncell supports clean technology to ensure access to drinking water and commercial farming

Kathmandu, July 21
The leading mobile service provider of the country, Ncell has supported three communities of Syanja district to access water through clean water pumping technology, helping households save time they otherwise use in fetching water and utilizing the same for commercial farming, thereby contributing to raising household incomes. 
The project which was initiated as a part of Ncell’s corporate social responsibility, has strengthened the livelihoods of 75 families of Eladi, Dipka and Thuladi villages of Syanga district by enabling them to access water for multiple purposes in the village itself and providing households with opportunities to make extra income by growing high-value vegetables using drip irrigation. 
Through this project, Ncell has helped each community to install a Hydraulic Ram Pump (Hydram) at the base of the hill, build storage tanks on the hilltops and develop water distribution channels and tap stands to provide water directly to the whole community. The Hydram pump is a clean energy technology that uses the kinetic energy of falling water from a stream or river to lift part of the supply flow to a greater height. 
Eladi, Dipka and Thuladi villages are based on hilltops and locals, mainly women and girls, were spending around five hours a day to fetch water for household use from the nearest water source. “For women like us, the most important thing is water. It is needed for cleaning and irrigation. It is necessary for all household purposes,” said Bishnu Maya Chhetri of Dipka. Another beneficiary Sita Khare of Dipka said, “I use to plant traditional crops, but now, with access to water we are planting seasonal and off season vegetables. We are selling the vegetables and consuming too.” 
Before the implementation of this project, all three communities had been facing problems due to the lack of a reliable water source, resulting in high dependency on subsistence agriculture, poor nutrition and sanitation. Women had little opportunities and incentives to engage in productive income generating activities. Now, the 75 households and a primary school, representing a total of 420 individuals, are using pumped water to grow high-value vegetable crops using drip irrigation, irrigate fruit trees, provide water for livestock, and for domestic usage like sanitation. 
“Communities are the owners of the system, they have been provided with trainings for commercial farming and micro-enterprises, linked with supply chain, and also equipped with tools for better management of the system. All in all, the project aims to demonstrate how new technology can be adopted in sustainable way for poverty reduction,” said Milan Sharma, corporate communication expert of Ncell. 
What also makes this project unique is that for the first time a remote monitoring system using SIM metering technology has been implemented to measure the distribution of water for domestic and irrigation needs. The use of SIM card enables communities to maintain data of water supply and consumption at their end. They can monitor water uses for each household and thereby contribute fees according to the water usage. Payments are collected by the community and are used for the operation and maintenance of the system. 
“In a bid to make the project sustainable, a community based organisation has been established in each village to own and maintain the technology. As well as this, community members are trained to operate and maintain the Hydram technology, and a qualified local company has been capacitated to offer technical support to the community on demand”, said Baburam Paudel, senior technical manager of Renewable World, the project implementing partner.
Community members have been supported with training in commercial farming and market linkages have been established so that they can trade the agriculture produce now grown thanks to the water access. Through improved access to water, it is expected that these households will have better nutrition and household incomes will increase by more than $250 a year because of increased agricultural production.
Ncell launched this initiative in 2014 under the Water for Agricultural Livelihood Project. The project was implemented in partnership with Renewable World – an INGO with expertise in clean energy, Center for Rural Technology – technical partners and Andhikhola Community Development Center – a local project implementor. 

© Ncell 2020