The communities in the North of Gorkha Districts are some of the most remote villages of Nepal, with a lack of infrastructure, disadvantaged populations and difficult access their most striking characteristics. The villages are one to several days on foot from the roadhead – any material has to be carried there across steep paths and suspension bridges. The geographic situation also makes market access difficult for the local farmers.
In addition to all this, the region was in the epicentre of the first, devastating earthquake of 2015 – some of the PHASE project communities are no more than 10 km as the bird flies from the epicentre. There was widespread devastation; in some communities, for instance Keraunja, they were exacerbated by huge landslides in the following monsoon season. Because of harsh winter conditions in this high altitude, many people were relatively quick in rebuilding their homes. Unfortunately, many of these homes are no more earthquake resistant than the previous ones because of a lack of material and resources. At least most people used CGI sheets for roofing instead of the traditional heavy stone slabs – this might be less “pretty”, but it is also much less deadly when a house collapses.
PHASE has been working in the region since 2008 – at first mainly in the northernmost parts. In the course of a project consolidation (aiming for better logicstics and efficiency), PHASE left these communities in 2017, and has since concentrated on three communities to the East of the Budi Gandhaki river which don’t lie along the tourist route to the Manaslu, and therefore have little opportunties to generate additional income.