Farewell and Welcome, Friends of Sankhu!

AWO Internati onal’s long-term partnership with the Nepalese NGO ‘Friends of Sankhu’ (FOS) ended in December 2011. To bid farewell officially, a meeting was held recently at FOS’ central office in Sankhu where both organizations exchanged letters of appreciation. Together with AWO International FOS was implementing the project ‘Community Development through Social Mobilisation’ (CDSM) from April 2003 until December 2011 in the four Village Development Committees (VDC) of Fatakshila, Deupur, Bansbari and Bhimtar in Nepal’s Sindhupalchowk and Kavre Districts.

The project aimed to empower rural women in these VDCs, bringing them under the umbrella of first micro-credit groups and then effective cooperatives. More than 2.200 women have thus been brought together in four cooperatives.

The project primarily focused on capacity-building to strengthen local institutions, mainly the four cooperatives. It also contributed to the enhancement of income opportunities as well as educational and health access, and carried out advocacy and networking for the benefit of the target group. All the women group members are engaged in various farm- and off-farm-based income generating activities and are equally participating in community mobilization. Besides this, the project supported various kinds of infrastructural interventions. To name a few: it established 36 public taps (Community Drinking Water), it helped with the construction and maintenance of 16 schools and one Health Post, at 15 schools it supported the construction of adequate toilets, provided 150 sets of furniture for various schools (for classrooms, offices and libraries), conducted child class management courses, and helped building 3 village irrigation plants. More than 20.000 people - mainly marginalized and socially excluded ethnic groups of the districts - have thus directly and indirectly benefited from the project.

But the official farewell to FOS is not the end of its partnership with AWO International. In addition, AWO International and FOS have joined hands again for a small scale grant project from June to August 2012 to further strengthen the Bhimeshwory Women Saving and Credit Cooperative in Bhimtar VDC of Nepal’s Sindhupalchok District. The cooperative belongs to the socially excluded ethnic people (Dalit, Majhi, Danuwar, Tamang) of the VDC, and the funding comes from donations from German individuals.