Pani Ghatta – Water Mills

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               Himalaya are boon and curse. These are the mountains that’s helps to tranquil our soul and assemble our hopes in solitude. The same mountains stand tall to hinder the progress to modern development and technology. The mighty rivers starts as rivulet in lap of these mountains. The kinetic energy of falling river among the slopes are used to harness power to grind grains to empower human body. The conservation of energy works perfectly fine satisfying scientific society of rich nation who want’s to keep nature pure and make big shout out for being agrarian while doing so.  

              These turning machine are popularly known as Pani Ghatta a.k.a water mills. The water mills are very popular across Himalayas, as it is only reliable machine to grind grain for people living across the regions. The water mills is not limited to Nepal but you can see across stretch of hills of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet, and Bhutan. Traditionally limited to grinding, now many are modified to generate electricity for local use.

Construction:

          The water is diverted from the main stream via open or closed duct towards the turbine placed on lower section of mill house. The turbine used to be made of wood, but majority of wooden turbines are replaced with metallic as improved water mills these days. The vertical shaft connected to turbine on the floor of mill house runs, and turns the upper section of stone. The lower section is stationary, and grains stored in wooden settings above the stone drops grains through hole in upper stone to lower stone via feeder mechanism, and then grains are grinded in between the stones.

Improved Water Mills (IMW)- New Name for Modern era

                         Improved water mills is one of the clean technologies promoted by government of Nepal with many other stakeholders. Nepal has about 25,000 traditional water mills scattered throughout the country. 6,500 of them already have been converted to IMW. Replacement of wooden parts (rotor and shaft) with metallic parts is the main improvement made in the technology. The technology can also generate electricity up to 3 kW, sufficient for lighting as well as for operating small electric and electronic home appliances.

Advantages of IWM

Employment :The installation, advocacy, operation, maintenance and promotion of IMW will create lot of opportunities at national and local level employing skilled as well as unskilled labor.

Income Level :It helps to improve income of mill owner as well as user. It helps to increase living standard of local people.

Boosting the local Economy : The water mill will remove drudgery of traditional grinding. It will save time which people can invest in income generating activities like animal husbandry, agriculture, and others. People will get familiar to new technology and electronic devices which is powered by electricity from water mill.

Gender Mainstreaming and Social Inclusion: Water mills helps to reduce stress of grinding grains for women. Traditionally grinding was done manually by women. This replaces huge burden on women. The mills will be melting point for women to socialize and get connected to each other. It helps to remove social evils like un-touch-ability, status quo and others.  

Environmental Impacts :The IWM is powered by gravity-driven water, a renewable source of energy, which essentially does not produce air pollution or sound pollution. Therefore, the technology is environmentally sound and acceptable.

Sources:

  1. http://www.aepc.gov.np/old/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66&Itemid=108
  2. http://www.inforse.org/asia/pdf/Pub_Nepal%20water%20mill_2014.pdf
  3. http://www.dw.com/en/nepal-efficient-water-mills-produce-electricity/av-15950902
  4. http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~nathan/nepal/ghatta/ghattas.html

Image Source: http://nepalitimes.com/article/nation/Flour-power

 

 

Solar Training and Capacity Building : Power to the People

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                                    March 29, 2016 Before dawn of warm and fuzzy morning I woke with sharp shrill of mobile alarm at 5:00 am. As it was planned to meet at 5:45 am at Old Bus Park to move into another adventurous travel on off load leading to Dhunkharka, Kavre. The bus ride from Old bus park took us to Panauti via Bhaktapur, Sangha, Banepa. The real journey began from here accompanied by Mr. Subash Lamichane and Mr. Kancha Tamang. The 14km dusty, bumpy, narrow and scary road begun from Panauti steadily uphill climb in bus cramped with people, animals (chickens), kids crying, people yelling at each other. It was perfect like Hindi film melodrama at bus. Irony was that we were not able to get any seat through out two hours ride. Even within bus we had to wear mask and continuous shake up really made me tired. But internal motivation to go there and help people to sort things out, teach them, connect them to more reliable energy was continuously pushing me up.

                                        After travel of 2 hours we reached Dhunkharka. The bus stop was on top of hill to reach to our destination we had to go downhill and again uphill. The slow down hill walk began interacting with each other knowing about peculiar things about location. It was good to be back on hills among tress, clam and serene country side where nothing bothers you except cool breeze, birds chirp and perennial flow of river. I encountered various rural technology like water mill, hydraulic ramjet pump, fodder cutting machine, solar system. The very delicious meal was waiting for us, prepared from organic vegetables, grains crushed from water mills, cooked in improved cooking stove, rice grown in nearby fields. This was perfect amalgamation of technology with rural livelihood.

                       The training sessions began at 11:00 am. The 22 owners of solar system were present in upper floor of cowshed. It was great to see energy and enthusiasm in people. The training started with introduction of speakers and participants. The training was planned for 2 hours and following topics were discussed:

  • The initial session explained about what is renewable energy, Solar as renewable energy.

  • Participants were introduced about solar system and its components like Panel, Battery, Charge Controller and Load.

  • Installation do how and safety handling was demonstrated with system present on the location.

  • Various Procedure for Repair and Maintenance were provided.

  • Specific care handling, minor damage and quick repair locally was provided about battery, charge controller and loads.

  • Final solar power use calculation was done and how much load people can use with technology given to them was shown.

Training Outcomes

                          The people have been following malpractice about solar system handling. The solar panel were hung as photo frame in walls, no safety precaution were taken, people were brining in & out panels in rains, their perception was heat generated more power than light. About training accomplishment participants got chance to learn about each components of solar system. They are now able to assemble and dis-assemble the system on their own. The standard parameters like facing panels on south direction, keeping panels at 30/45 degrees, keeping battery far from heat source, use of loads according to power generation, sustainability of battery system, various light symbols and their meanings present on charge controller, minor repairs was provided. Overall looking after longevity of solar system with efficient use was provided.

                  After completion of training we visited two hydraulic pump operation at Chanaute and Ladkhu. We learned about bio-char preparation, its use.

                           The return was one of the most memorable journey of my life. The last seat of bus squeezed between a women with child and old grand pa. The lady by side was vomiting throughout journey while grand pa was drunk, mumbling and fumbling with words and directions. The smell from both side was killing me, as I sat contemplating about life. I endured situation, just invigorated into circumstance.

                                              This was one of my life awakening journey. What surprised me was humbleness and subtlety of people. Obviously they are cutoff from mainstream media attention still they are happy to be living there. There are numerous challenges but somehow they have managed to be living well. I hope to see better road access, sustainable clean energy supply, educational facilities, better health facilities and access to ICT be within their reach. The natural serenity shall not be disturbed, only right technology along with nature can develop Dhunkharkha.

Community Built by Community : A story from Pharping

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                   A community outskirts of Kathmandu valley with slight uphill and downhill bumpy roads gets connected to capital proudly exhibits its communal innovations and ownership. A model town recently turned into municipality encompasses sense of oneness, co-operation, mutual benefits and desperate need to catch up with development. The traditionally Newari town is slowly accepting all kinds of caste’s along with burgeoning Buddhist among hillside periphery is truly reflected with chants and bustling monks. Slowly and steadily globalization is engulfing life and people want to see changes within their tenure. The local leaders, developmental workers, intellectuals, social workers share their story with us, the locality they envisioned, the hardship they fought for to bring such beauty and changes in town and challenges for further.

                              TUDE (Tourism Development Endeavor) a parent organization nurturing “ I am power shifter” campaign for Global Power Shift Nepal (a initiative supported by 350.org) helps to break glass between power shifter and local experts. The venue which witnessed this conversation was none other than “ A school for community” Sheshnarayan – 4, Pharping. We were so glad to hear and share our cause. The struggle, contribution and changes made by Niraj Shrestha (Developmental worker and Principal of School) and Sashi Sharma Aryal (Former Principal, V.D.C Secretary and Local Developmental expert) really inspired us. We were glad that we would also contribute to some extent in community to lead it as model community.

                                       We took tour around community school, community hospital and community centre named Shikharpur Sustainable Farmers School. The community farmer school was real piece of innovation and triggered me so much as it was build out of alcohol bottles left around Dakisnkali temple premises. The bottles were used as bricks mixed with locally available mud (mud + hays mix). The roof was covered by locally available hays. The centre was built by foreigners and local people’s active participation as farmers school. The various skill generating trainings are conducted periodically in house to empower local community and plant seed for socio-economic improvement of locals. The resource centre itself includes creative and innovative ways for solid waste management area, ground water recharge system and organic farming. The farmers school excited our hopes and enthusiasm.

                            We roamed around city peering through various Newar communities settlement, temples, stupas and playing grounds. Finally leading to holy shrine of Dakinsinkali, what intrigued us was how improperly solid waste were squandered without thinking environmental degradation, lets forget about how much values could be generated. The stinking, sharp smell caught our nose. We had no choice except to cover our mouths, mentally we thought solution for them.

                                              This was reason why power shifter were on town. We had planned to make random sampling about waste management of underprivileged village where it will be harbinger of change and generate values out of waste. As per discussion with rural experts in Chautari of KOPU (a most back ward village on ward no 6 of Daisnkali Municipality) was the location where power would to shift. As early morning downhill with Mr. Sharma took us to Chautari discussion and random list of 25 houses were selected for survey with local participation. The data are under review, soon power shifter team will be moving to Pharping for actual power shift i.e managing and equipping local who will be good enough to handle local waste for environmental, social and economic values.

My Learning:

  • To work as individual and team member motivating, leading and following

  • To interact with experts, team’s and local people

  • To brief, update and channelize team vision

  • To travel (see, believe, learn and share )

  • To make deep imprint on canvass of my memory of place, people food as a whole to change mindset

Photo Credit: Sanjay 

Paaila For Education

                            10906334_860035530705129_4395455297928479714_n                       Education is backbone for development of country. Nepal is country with literacy rate of . The rural population is higher than urban population so education is only tool to abridge this gap. Education is considered one of most important infrastructure for development so annually largest portion of our budget is separated on education. Despite huge expenditure we are not able to achieve target as presumed by national planning commission. We have booming eduction business in cities but we are not able to address actual challenge on educational reform to touch life’s of people in remote Nepal. The traditional approach of teaching, learning, evaluating of students are also often questioned and discussed. There are still chaos in eduction system which need immediate address from major stake holder.

                      Education is regarded as basic fundamental and guaranteed right of people. Nepal government has got helping hand to decentralize its educational plans and policy at local levels. There are several organization trying to help for enriching education for people. Among cluster of education for all projects “Paaila for Educationdistinguishes itself as pioneering and cent percent dedicated for education. This is fine example of how Information, Communication and Technology can touch and transform life of people. Paaila for education merely started with use of ICT for education, pilot funded by U.S Embassy in Nepal and facilitated by Yuwa Nepal and FNCCI. The success story made by Paaile are mind boggling.

               The outcomes of Paaila are beyond comprehension. The foot prints of Paaila can be seen in various urban and rural Nepal. Through pretty interactive website donors, corporate sector, Industries with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are directly linked up to need oriented educational institutions, schools and clubs. Most wonderful aspects of Paaila is it helps in direct connection of helpers to help seekers. There is no operation cost and hidden economic handling its benchmark for non and not for profit organization.

                   We (Bipin Karki & Bishnu Parajuli) were glad to represent Paaila for Education in Youth Mela organized by Yuwa on occasion of World Youth Day at Nepal Administrative Campus, Pulchowk. The congregation of youths came to know about Paaila initiative, how they can contribute for education, who were behind Paaila force, education status in rural & urban Nepal, success and life transforming story of Paaila at ground zero, past project flashback and future vision of Paaila. Really it was hectic day indeed full with rush, information exchange, listening and saying but worth to be there. It was amazing to chit chat with young, energetic and passionate youths who are desperate to bring changes within self and country. The experience can hardly be expressed but it was glad to see so much charged and motivated youth who are looking forward to really make Naya Nepal. There were lots of positive vibes and inspiration reflected among youth which is really a good sign.

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                     If you care about education, believe education can really bring development in country and want to add more Paaila with Paaila for education. Then you can directly and indirectly support Paaila team. A small effort of yours can bring a wave of changes in other parts of Nepal. Not every person is privilege to have education. If you are wondering how to celebrate success then separate small chunk of your budget and help a rural school to illuminate life’s of children. Help can come in any form a day volunteer to help for re-construction of school will give you chance to get know rural life and bring educational infrastructure on other. Helping to subscribe newspaper for rural school or you can add your innovative approach to spread education. Its best time to sow seed of education now so future generation can reap a good harvest.

            Lets realize this: “Education is most powerful weapon which you can use to change” – Nelson Mandela