Yesterday rice and lentils, today rice and lentils, and tomorrow rice and lentils – and vegetables! In the poor region of Far West Nepal, Finland’s water programme is helping to diversify people’s diets. When there is more water available, it can also be used for growing vegetables. Between 2006 and 2016 about 43 000 families established vegetable plots. In areas with a more abundant water supply, people built greenhouses, which mainly produce tomatoes, both during and outside the season.
As part of the vegetable growing, young women and mothers in particular were provided with information about the health impacts of a balanced diet and told how to prepare nutritious meals – with the help of the well-known food plate model. The information received from health clinics are encouraging: anaemia and malnutrition among children seem to be on the decrease.
The work began in 2006. By the end of 2017, 321 000 persons had gained access to clean drinking water, 574 000 got a proper toilet and 41 000 electricity. The work continues at least until the year 2022. From 2017 European Union has also funded the work.
Photo: Jukka Ilomäki, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta