Corinne Reilly is a writer in Pact's communication department.
September 29, 2016
Outside a modest mud-brick home in Binauna, Nepal, far from any paved road, Anita Kumari Chaudhary is reaching high into the trees that shade her small plot of land. With a long tool, she clips a few leaved branches and carries them to a nearby pen of goats who eagerly munch them down.
Two years ago, Chaudhary, now 32, had no income of her own. She and her two children depended entirely on the small sum her husband made repairing motorbikes.
“I just stayed at home and waited for him to do something for us,” she says. “I didn’t go out or talk to anyone or earn any money.”
Chaudhary’s life today couldn’t be more different. Besides goats, she farms and sells poultry and vegetables, and she’s saving for the future. About a year ago, she became a member of her ward citizen forum, or WCF, a local public body that represents villagers, advocating to government authorities for funding and other resources. Chaudhary has helped women farmers in her village get free vegetable seeds and a motor for pumping water to crops. She also heads a citizens’ committee that is monitoring the construction of a village canal to prevent flooding, which the government agreed to fund after a request from Chaudhary’s WCF.
Chaudhary credits her transformation to USAID’s Sajhedari Bikaas project, which is implemented by Pact and combines interventions in the areas of governance, livelihoods, capacity development and health to holistically improve people’s lives in 12 districts of Nepal. Sajhedari Bikaas — Nepali for “partnership for local development” — relies on Pact’s unique integrated approach. While the project’s aim is to help Nepali communities better direct their own, inclusive development, Sajhedari is taking a broad approach, tackling a range of problems that historically have stalled Nepal’s development, including poor governance, poverty, conflict and inequity.
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