In small towns near Kathmandu, CORE supports courses to provide weekly training in organic vegetable growing and mentoring to women groups to grow vegetables organically for their families and to sell to improve livelihoods. The course lasts for four months and as of 2015, we have now supported eight groups with a total of about 200 women.
The training is conducted by an experienced agricultural technician hired on a freelance basis. The classes are conducted once a week for four months. Then for the next eight months, the technician visits the group to mentor and support the women in their production and marketing of the vegetables.
The women begin growing vegetables on their own land. Once the vegetable training is done, we offer the women an opportunity for literacy classes that focus on identifying and resolving their household and community problems.
Demand for the vegetable training has grown with the women in the first towns are continuing to grow vegetables for their household use, which saves them money and usually provides a surplus of vegetables that they can sell for income. Several women are renting extra fields to grow vegetables in the fall-winter months. The women’s graduation ceremonies after the fourteen weeks of vegetable training are always full of fun and songs. The women make up songs and skits about growing vegetables and sell the group produce to earn extra money for their group saving fund.
Some of these villages were completely destroyed in the earthquake, so CORE has already provided tin roofing sheets for 54 of the most affected families to construct temporary shelters before the arrival of the monsoon.