New ERA's main goal is to provide an independent Nepalese perspective in the design, implementation and assessment of development policies & programs by employing a wide range of quantitative, qualitative and PRA methodologies.
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New ERA INITIATIVES

New ERA, being a non-profit research organization it has been using its entire operating surplus to improve the quality of social research, funding research activities in developmental issues, organizational development, staff capability enhancement and pro-poor grant projects aimed at alleviating rural poverty. 

 A.   Pro-Poor Grant Projects

1. Goat Raising by Poorest of the Poor Households of Bamdibhir CFUG, Kaski District

2. Saw Mill for the Poor

3. Revolving Fund Support to Poorest of the Poor Households of Tinjure NFTP           Network

4.  Pig Raising by a Group of Women Living with HIV/AIDS

5.  Assessment of TEWA Supported Program

 B.  Dr. Harka Gurung Fellowship Program (Announcement)

 C.  Educational Support for Sabina Bishwokarma, Mugu

 D.  Nationwide Scholarship Program  of SEBS

 E.  Large Block Demonstration-Cum-Seed Multiplication of Rapeseed in Dang  District

 F.  Education,  Manpower and Employment - A Study Report.

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A.    Pro-Poor Grant Projects

As part of New ERA's initiatives to alleviate rural poverty, it has provided financial and technical support to the poorest of the poor people in Kaski and Sankhuwasabha districts to help them lessen their hardship. During 2006/07, New ERA provided a grant support of Rs 200,000 as Income Generation Activity (IGA) for the poor in these two districts. New ERA aims to make these funds revolving, self-supporting and sustainable in the future. In order to make this happen, it has worked through intermediary organizations to mobilize and manage the funds.

New ERA has worked in both these districts (Kaski and Sankhuwasabha) in the past. It conducted a Participatory Action Research Project on Adaptive Collaborative Management approach to community forestry there. This research was led by the Center for International Community Forestry Research (CIFOR). This study was implemented in two phases. The first phase was implemented from 2000 to 2002, and the second phase was done from 2004 to 2007. 

 

 

1.  Goat Raising by Poorest of the Poor Households of Bamdibhir CFUG, Kaski  District

New ERA provided financial and technical support to the poorest of the poor users of Deurali-Bagedanda CFUG of Kaski district to raise goats as an income generating activity. The total amount allocated for this purpose was Rs. 80,000. The District Chapter Federation of Community Forest Users, Nepal (FECOFUN) has assumed the overall responsibility of mobilizing and executing the fund. 

Of the total 143 users of Bamdibhir CFUG, 23 households are involved in goat raising. The district chapter facilitated the distribution of a young she-goat to each of the 23 poorest of the poor households during November 2006. Of the total number of goats distributed, 19 gave birth to kids. The understanding was that anybody whose goat gave birth would present the first kid to another poor family in the neighborhood.

A report received from the FECOFUN District Chapter, Kaski reveals that all the 19 poorest goat-keeping households have been handing over newly born kids to the poorest families in their neighborhood. New ERA staff made a field visit to the project site and interacted with some of the 19 successful goat raising households in December 2007. All of them expressed happiness at the support received from New ERA. This is in fact a great contribution to poor rural households. They are now able to earn a little extra income from the goat rearing enterprise. 

 

 

 


  2.     Saw Mill for the Poor

New ERA provided financial and technical support to the poorest of the poor users of Deurali-Bagedanda CFUG of Kaski district to establish a sawmill as an income generating activity. The total amount allocated for this purpose was Rs. 80,000. The District Chapter Federation of Community Forest Users, Nepal (FECOFUN) has assumed the overall responsibility of mobilizing and executing the fund. 

Sixty-three poorest of the poor blacksmith families of Deurali-Bagedanda CFUG have been working to set up a sawmill in their community. The sawmill is not yet in operation because it does not have an electric power connection. The grantee, District FECOFUN, claimed that the Deurali-Bagedanda CFUG has purchased the necessary machinery for the sawmill. However, the sawmill project has hit a major snag because the electricity generation project has stalled. The CFUG, therefore, has invested this grant in building a house for the sawmill. The CFUG committee has promised to revolve this fund as soon as electricity becomes available to run the factory. The committee plans to involve these poorest households in manual work to make furniture at the factory.  

 

 


 

3. Revolving Fund Support to Poorest of the Poor Households of Tinjure NFTP Network

New ERA has provided a gift of Rs. 40,000 to Tinjure Hattisar NTFP network of Sankhuwasabha district for a revolving fund to be invested in running IGAs for the poorest of the poor users. A total of 50 poorest of the poor households of Tinjure Hattisar NTFP network, a federation of 10 CFUGs, have been involved in NTFP enterprise development activities. 

Reflecting the influence of this initiative on poor people's control over and benefits from a community-based NTFP network enterprise, a paper published by the Regional Community Forestry Training Center (RECOFTC) in January 2008 (page 14-24) states:

"… The approach involved shifts in governance and management, especially regarding inclusion of marginalized people and the development of risk and uncertainty analysis. The major outcome of the network’s adoption of this approach is a redistribution of control over livelihood benefits from NTFP resources towards the 'poorest of the poor' families in the enterprise area.

Another notable change is that network members shifted from working in relative isolation to building alliances and greater interdependence, a change that helped mitigate conflicts between them regarding benefit sharing. Significant enterprise ownership and decision-making opportunities have been created for these poorer households by providing them access to revolving funds that enable them to become shareholders in the network enterprise. Furthermore, because of the learning-based collective action, this network has been able to increase its profit margin from the sale of processed NTFPs …" 

 

 


4. Pig Raising by a Group of Women Living with HIV/AIDS

In 2009, New ERA from its reserve fund provided a grant support of Rs. 53,000 to Asha Jyoti Sahayog Samaj (AJSS), an organization established by a group of women living with HIV/AIDS in Rupadehi district.  The organization since its inception in 2063 has been advocating against all forms of discriminations to the people living with HIV/AIDS and trying to prove that they are strong enough to make progress and sustain themselves in the society.  With this objective the AJSS members have initiated a number of self-employment initiatives like vegetable framings and poultry, pigs and goat raising activities in the area for its members abandoned from families after the death of their husbands.

 

With the support from New ERA, the organization has been rearing three improved variety piglets (Himstar) in its farmhouse located at Dandakhet community, Ward No 2 of Khadwabangai VDC in Rupandehi district.  Three single women living with HIV/AIDS have been taking care of the animals, which will be ready to sell after fourteen months.  These women reported that the growth rate of these animals is remarkably higher than that of the local pigs reared in the nearby communities.  However, New ERA monitoring report indicates that since these women were the beginners in this kind of entrepreneurial skill, they need constant feedbacks and external supports to make the program successful.

 


5. Assessment of TEWA Supported Program

Tewa is a non-profit organization committed to philanthropy for equitable justice and peace. It is committed to human resource development in all aspects of its work. Its work consists of two main programs: grant-making and volunteer fund raising. It provides funds to the grantees with the objective to support the women empowerment and upliftment of women. Tewa supports those women groups who have had no support but are diligent, organized and have forward looking plans.  

Tewa received Rs. 250,000 from New ERA for above purpose. As per recent monitoring report of the programs, Rs. 199,800 (80%) of the total fund has been utilized as grants to four different local women’s organizations. The organizations who have received grants are:  

·    Shree Gaurighat Mahila Jagaran Samuha, Nuwakot

·    Mahila Adhikar Kolagi Ekta Jagaran Manch (WRUAF), Udaypur

·    Shree Satasi Mahila Mauripalan Sahakari Sanstha, Doodhe Bazar, Jhapa

·    Forum for Women’s Participation in Rights and Development (FOWOPARD),   Chandanath VDC, Jumla

 

 

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B.     Dr. Harka Gurung Fellowship Program

New ERA initiated the New ERA Fellowship Program in 1995 to encourage and contribute to quality research in Nepal.  From 2007, this program has been known as the "Dr. Harka Gurung Fellowship Program" in memory of the late Dr. Harka Gurung. The program aims to promote the development of social science in Nepal and to strengthen the research capacity of Nepali students.

The priority areas for research fellowship are conflict resolution, social exclusion, social movement, gender equity, social forestry, poverty, and internally displaced people. Other possible areas include land tenancy, natural resources, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health. The students who have completed their course work for a Master's degree and are planning field research are eligible to apply.

In order to facilitate smooth operation of the program, New ERA has formed a steering committee that formulates the guidelines and closely monitors, supervises and supports the overall program. The committee consists of the following persons:

1.  Mr. Ashoke Shrestha             -     Chairperson

2.  Mr. Jagat Basnet                  -      Member

3.  Mr. Madhup Dhungana           -      Member

4.  Dr. Narayan Kaji Shrestha      -      Member

5.  Dr. Shibesh C. Regmi            -      Member

6.  Ms. Pranita Thapa                -      Member

7.  Ms. Sandhya Shahi               -      Coordinator

In order to select the fellowship grantees, New ERA places an advertisement in national newspapers calling for proposals from prospective students. After the proposals are received, New ERA forms a committee of reviewers/supervisors from among its senior researchers. The submitted proposals are reviewed by the committee members and the short-listed students make a presentation of their proposal before the committee. On the basis of their proposal and presentation, the reviewers/supervisors select the students to be enrolled in the Fellowship Program. The committee members provide feedback/comments on the proposals presented by the students and they are asked to make adjustments/corrections as necessary in the proposal in consultation with their university supervisor. After their proposals have been finalized, the fellowship grantees are provided the necessary financial assistance. The concerned supervisors of New ERA provide them necessary technical assistance throughout the study period.

 


C.    Educational Support for Sabina Bishwokarma, Mugu

New ERA’s educational support for Ms Sabina Bishwokarma was initiated in response to a news article published in the Kantipur Daily on August 18, 2006 regarding her dream to pursue further studies and become a doctor.  Residing permanently in Kot Danda VDC, Ward no. 5, Luee village of Mugu district, Sabina passed her SLC in the year 2009 and is currently studying in class 12 in Mahadev Mashta Higher Secondary School situated in Ratapani, Luee village of Mugu district.  Belonging from Dalit caste group, Sabina is the only girl studying at the higher secondary level in the Khaptad region of Mugu district.

The amount that New ERA decided for Sabina's educational support was Rs. 15,000 per year, which she started receiving when she was in grade 8, and the support continued until she completed her SLC in 2008. As Sabina decided to study further after completion of her SLC, the last year's AGM decided that New ERA would provide her with the amount of Rs. 25,000 for her 10+2 level education.  New ERA has provided her with a total of nearly Rs. 100,000, which includes cash amount plus expenses for educational materials and installation of solar panel in her house.

As per the discussion with Mr. Ramchandra Tiwari, the Principal of Shree Mahadev Mashta Higher Secondary School, Sabina took her final exam of class 11 and is currently studying in class 12 of the same school since Bhadra, 2067. Though result for class 11 has not been published, the principal is expecting that it will be a good result. As he mentioned, Sabina is a disciplined student, hard working and very much focused on her studies. Hence, he is confident enough to say that Sabina will definitely pass in her final exams of her class 12, which is scheduled for the month of Baisakh, 2068. Being weak in English, Sabina has been taking English tuition classes for six months starting from the month of Mangsir, 2067 for which she has to pay Rs. 3,000.  According to her father, Sabina has no plan to get married now, as she looks forward to pursue further studies. 


 

D.   Nationwide Scholarship Program  of SEBS

The Nationwide Scholarship Program (NSP) was started by the students of Budhanilkantha Students in 1991 with the broad educational objective of helping underprivileged Nepalese children. The program was incorporated as one of the programs of the Society of Ex Budhanilkantha Students (SEBS), alumni of Budhanilkantha School, in 1993. NSP provides scholarships for the students studying grade 8 to 10 in governmental schools. Till now NSP has sponsored 500 students from 54 districts.

New ERA and NSP engaged in a joint program to support students with scholarships for 3 years, starting from Baisakh 2066, for which New ERA provided Rs. 250,000 to SEBS Nepal so these students may continue their education. Students were chosen from Low Human Development Index (HDI) districts: Doti, Kailali, Rukum, Sindhupalchowk, Mahottari and Sankhuwasabha. This joint scholarship was provided to 20 students (12 girls and 8 boys) in selected schools of these districts. New ERA Board members and NSP members jointly reviewed over 100 applicants, from which 20 students were selected from 6 low HDI districts.  The selected students are from poor households and marginalized castes/groups.

 

E. Large Block Demonstration-Cum-Seed Multiplication of Rapeseed in Dang District, (2002)

In 1991, New ERA using its own core fund, created a non-profit making sister organisation “New ERA Agriculture Development Centre (NEADC), with its office based in Tulsipur, Dang. NEADC was committed to uplift the livelihood of rural poor by launching action programs through promotion of improved agricultural technologies; training to farmers and NGOs’ workers using participatory approaches in the field of agriculture and rural development; technical assistance; conducting adoptive/social research and creating awareness.  Based on these objectives, NEADC introduced improved and high yielding rapeseed variety ‘VIKASH’ and started a ‘Large Block Demonstration-Cum-Seed Multiplication of Rapeseed. It also created awareness among local people on different aspects including marketing of their products at reasonable price and social welfare. Similarly, its also conducted ‘Demonstration-cum-seed multiplication program’ on high yielding recommended varieties of Lentil, Niger, Potato and Maize. These programs were conducted in Chakhaura village of Hekuli VDC, Motipur and Dumre gaon of Tulsipur Municipality; and Thap gaon of Shree Gaon VDC in Dang. The program uses participatory, bottom-up planning and a one window approach. The aim of the program was to increase the yield of these crops through improved production practices as well as to produce good quality of seed to be used in the subsequent year. The program was successful in increasing the yield of these crops and as a result, the demand for NEADC seed increased. For example the seed yield of toria went to 1.259 metric tons/ha as against its average yield of 0.6 metric ton/ha in Dang district. The model developed by NEADC was replicated by some INGOs/NGOs/GOs.

 


F. Education, Manpower and Employment - A Study Report. New ERA ,  June 1988

New ERA's one of the interest is to contribute research on critical issues of national interest. Despite investments in vocational and technical education, shortage of semi-skilled and skilled manpower remain acute. At the same time the problem of unemployment or under-employment of educated population is growing.

In 1988 New ERA, using its core fund, was initiated a research project on "Education, Manpower and Employment". The main objective of the study was to examine the magnitude of manpower problem and different variables affecting it.  It also looks into the technical and vocational training programs and the investment pattern in technical and higher education since the launch of the New Education System Plan (NESP) in 1971. The study recommends steps to improve the manpower situation in Nepal and to attune higher education to meet the manpower needs.

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