Based on research findings and experiences and the need of the local communities, ISER-N implements a small set of selective policy advocacy and development programs to help improve the socio-economic wellbeing and environmental conditions of the local communities.
Our research findings revealed high ethnic differences in school drop-outs. The drop-out rates are higher among ethnic minority children, specifically those whose parents do not have formal education. The most common reason for drop-outs is the lack of parental guidance and support to complete their homework.
In order to address this problem, the institute has designed and has been running a Child Education Program specifically targeting the children of ethnic minority communities in western Chitwan. The program first provides awareness to local parents about the importance of education, child rights, better home environments and the role of parents. The program encourages parents to send their children to school regularly.
ISER-N also runs the after-school education program to help children with their school homework. Tuition free classes are provided to children on major subjects such as mathematics, science and English. Educational materials are distributed free of cost to encourage children to participate in the program.
With the financial and technical assistance of the District Education Office, Bharatpur, the institute has been conducting adult literacy classes for Dalit and Janajati communities, particularly in areas that are least served by development activities. To run these programs, ISER-N partners with local organizations.
In case of emergency situations, such as earthquake, fire and flood, ISER-N partners with other organizations to facilitate relief work and provides some immediate relief supplies: food, clean and safe drinking water, and medicines. At the same time, ISER-N provides several awareness programs on environmental sanitation, clean and safe drinking water, and communicable diseases in the affected areas.
In collaboration with the district-level line agencies, particularly the Nepal Family Planning Association, ISER-N regularly runs women’s reproductive health camps at different sites in western Chitwan. The aims of these camps are to provide information about women\'s reproductive health, and to conduct general reproductive health check-ups by the health practitioners and gynecologists. These camps have directly benefited women as well as researchers.
The institute conducts advocacy programs in areas of human rights, women’s rights, domestic violence, girls trafficking, government laws and regulations. These programs are targeted to women and ethnic minorities including those from Dalit and Janajati communities.
Soil Conservation and Bio-Engineering
In order to protect the local environment from further deterioration, the institute encourages the use of locally available, low cost, environmentally friendly soil conservation and bio-engineering technologies. With this goal, ISER-N has initiated several conservation programs including plantation of Vetivar, Amriso and bamboo for river bank protection. For example, to produce a large number of bamboo seedlings, the institute introduced the single-node bamboo propagation technology in the area and encouraged local communities to plant these seedling along the Narayani River . This program has been highly successful in protecting the edge cutting by river and is well received by the local communities.
The programs on agricultural extension are designed to disseminate new low-cost appropriate agricultural technology to help farmers increase crop production. For example, the institute introduced several technologies including the advanced, high yielding, rice farming technology called the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) among farmers of western Chitwan. The farmers were trained and then encouraged to adopt the SRI technology for rice farming.
With the aim of familiarizing the farmers with this technology, the institute supported a small number of demonstrations in the area. The demonstrations were highly successful and were visited by the farmers from other areas of western Chitwan. The visiting farmers were highly impressed by observing the performance of rice crop and expressed their motivation to adopt this innovative technology.