May 112016

Medical and aromatic plants (MAPs), collected in the wild for centuries, are now fetching small Hill and Mountain farmers unprecedented income - a recipe for motivating young men to stay at home, says TMI.

In Nepal’s hill and mountain communities, food insecurity and lack of income sources continue to drive thousands of young men abroad as migrant workers in low-paid and often dangerous jobs. Women and children are left behind in villages where vast areas of agricultural land are left fallow as nobody is home to farm it. Out-migration is transforming many hill and mountain villages into communities in gradual disintegration! But in recent years, TMI – the Mountain Institute – has succeeded in slowing down this process in some districts. Their recipe? Training farmers in production of medical and aromatic plants (MAPs). Collected in the wild for centuries, these plants are now cultivated on a commercial basis and exported to India, China and beyond, fetching household farms annual incomes of USD 5,000+, thanks to a TMI programme started in 2002. This video – produced by LocalNepalToday – tells the story and how it can grow.

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Feb 052016

Rojina Barcharya - co-founder of "Girls in Technology" and software developer - winner of Silicon Valley scholarship

Rojina Bajracharya – co-founder of “Girls in Technology” and software developer – winner of Silicon Valley scholarship

Who says computer programming is only for boys? Rojina Bajracharya, a young Bachelor student from Bhaktapur, just won a Toptal Scholarship for Female Developers! Who is Toptal? Well, it’s one of the fastest-growing companies to emerge from Silicon Valley in California in recent years, today connecting thousands of elite freelance programmers around the world with billion-dollar companies like J. P. Morgan and Pfitzer! The scholarship – launched last October – is designed to “empower and support the next generation of female computer scientists, software engineers and developers”. But how did Rojina, a young girl from a local community – seemingly so far away from the buzz of international software development – get selected?

Well, it was not a difficult choice, explains Toptal’s Director of Engineering, Anna-Chiara Bellini, who is also leading judge on the scholarship selection committee: “Rojina’s application [for the scholarship] just blew us away. She is both brilliant and ambitious, and is not only working hard to develop her own Continue reading »

Mar 212015

Willingness to take risks going up: scene from traditional agriculture

Willingness to take risks going up: scene from traditional agriculture

“Agriculture in Nepal is always risky and therefore if you try to change something it becomes even riskier”. Whoever said that – and many did – has a good point. But it also seems that the willingness to try something new at local level is growing. New entrepreneurial initiatives in the local economy are now frequently turning up in the news. Indeed, climate change is drying up the land or causing devastating floods; out-migration is leaving villages half-abandoned and the local labour force depleted; unemployment is soaring more than ever. Nonetheless, local entrepreneurs in districts around the country keep taking risks as they jump into steadily new ventures! Continue reading »

Mar 132013
A sewing business

A sewing business

How do you start up a business if you live in a village? Of course it depends on a lot of things. But consider the basics for a moment. Indeed, it’s also hard to be a successful businessman in the city. Living in an urban community does give you certain advantages, like a fairly big market in the shape of lots of people, as well as, say, better infrastructure and easier access to information, even faster internet connection and mobile phone networks. Yet, in the city, getting the “business idea” and making it materialise can be really hard too. However, if you look at a village community, multiply that a couple of times! It is so much harder off the main roads, far away from banks and Continue reading »