Meet Suntali Roka
60-year-old Suntali Roka lives with her family of six in Rolpa District, in midwestern Nepal. When we met her, she told us about how life is like in her community and what has changed over the years.
In general, the women of Suntali’s community are responsible for all the household work, including collecting water. Suntali’s family mainly rely on agriculture for the income. Over the last five years, Suntali told us, there had been a lot of improvements in the region and for the community, such as developments in agriculture, better road access, and afforestation . As a result, the forest has grown rapidly, production of traditional agricultural crops has become less of a burden and the availability of grass as well as manure has been increased.
Before Renewable World’s solar-powered water pumping project came to the community, the village was deprived of water for six months of the year during the dry winter season. That is because the community lies up the hill and lacks a water source in the village. Even the nearby sources which the community rely on during the summer dry up in the winter, forcing inhabitants to walk all the way across the hill and into the forest to collect water. Most of the households must walk at least half an hour to reach the water source, and once they get there they need to wait their turn. “We do not lack any food or other resources (…). The only thing we have scarcity of is water”, Suntali had explained.
Since the installation of the solar powered water pumping system, Suntali and her daughter-in-law became members of the water management committee. She has supported her daughter-in-law to actively participate in the project, and access the training provided in water saving drip-irrigation agriculture techniques. With the new access to water, they are planning to make the most of the new resource, be careful not to waste water, and use household waste water for agricultural works. “As a result of the water access, all our hard work will pay off. Our sweat would wear off and our thirst would subside”, Suntali concludes.
 Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees (forestation) in an area where there was no previous tree cover.