Seven days to double your donation and help the forgotten hilltop villages in Gorkha District, Nepal

Nepal’s beautiful but perilous geography makes access to a safe and plentiful water supply extremely challenging for hilltop communities, particularly in Gorkha, the epicentre of Nepal’s devastating earthquake in 2015.

In these forgotten hilltop villages water scarcity drives the spread of disease, limits food production and opportunities to earn a living. It also prevents children, but especially girls, from attending school and means women and girls spend countless hours each day fetching water, exposing them to injury and abuse and trapping them in a cycle of poverty.

Y4WASH, an exciting new project, will transform this situation in six hilltop communities in Gorkha District. It will increase access to water, using solar water pumping technology, build handwashing and toilet facilities in schools and homes, and support communities to improve food production and strengthen livelihoods through climate-smart agriculture. Working with our community partners, we hope to reach 2,400 people directly and a further 11,400 people through awareness raising and education on sanitation and hygiene.

We are taking part in this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge to raise funds for this much-needed project, and have set ourselves an ambitious target of £100,000. Will you help us raise the funds needed to get this project off the ground in early 2022?

By donating through the Big Give Christmas Challenge, your donation can achieve twice the impact. For seven days, from midday on 30 November until midday on 7 December 2021, any donations you make through the Big Give website will be doubled.

Countdown until the Big Give Christmas Challenge closes!

The Big Give Christmas Challenge, and the opportunity to double your donation, will close in:

What is the Big Give Christmas Challenge?

It’s the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign, that connects corporate sponsors with participating charities. For seven days, it offers individual supporters of participating charities the opportunity to have their donation doubled on

Why the Y4WASH project?

Y4WASH, a collaboration between Raleigh International and Renewable World, secured grant funding from the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) of over £1 million in early 2020. The project was due to launch in April 2021 but, following changes in the UK’s foreign aid commitments in 2020, and after nearly a year in limbo, the UK Government confirmed in March 2021 that they were cancelling funding for Y4WASH, alongside many other critical development initiatives.

Sadly, this decision means that some of the very poorest communities in Nepal, communities who are already struggling with the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, might miss out on this opportunity to improve their health, livelihoods and wellbeing.  

To save this project, we’re asking our supporters to help us raise the £100,000 we need to deliver the first phase of Y4WASH in 2022. We’re already halfway towards achieving our target, having secured £50,000 in match funding. We just need to raise the remaining £50,000 from our supporters during the online campaign in December.

This project will deliver four key elements, which are all vital to ensuring that communities have the resources they need to thrive.

1. Access to clean and safe water

We will install solar water pumping systems (SolarMUS) in six hilltop communities, providing 2,400 people with easy access to clean and safe water through taps outside their homes. Each system will pump approximately 70,000 litres of water per day over inclines of up to 200 vertical metres, and will be owned and managed by the community.

A Nepali woman smiling at the camera, she is standing next to a water storage tank, in the distance you can see tall mountains

A solar water pumping system was installed in Tanuja Sarki’s village in 2020. She recently told us the difference that it has made to her life and to others in her community.

We used to go to fetch water at 4 o’clock in the morning. The road to reach the water source is very steep, because of this I once fell down and broke my left hand.

Tanuja explained that she now has much more free time. Instead of walking a long distance to fetch water, she can access it from a tap stand right outside her house. This means she can spend more time with her children and help them with their studies.

She also commented that: “Due to the water problem in this community, it was the women who were most affected. This is because they were the ones who had to do most of the water collection. Now, after the project intervention, the workload of women from this community has decreased.”

2. Training on climate-smart agriculture

With easy access to water, year-round agriculture becomes possible. And with it, the opportunity to increase family incomes. Y4WASH will provide six priority communities with training on climate-smart agricultural practices. This includes techniques such as drip-irrigation, plastic tunnels, kitchen gardens, integrated pest management, and growing nutritious crops alongside high value crops for sale at market.

A Nepali woman crouched down and attending to the crops in her agricultural field. You can see 6 rows of crops, they have a plastic covering and drip irrigation pipes running along them, small plants are growing out of the holes in the plastic.

Amrita B.K. received training on climate-smart agriculture back in 2020. She commented: “The agricultural training has been really helpful, especially during this pandemic. Our family currently has no income, and it is only because of this training that we are able to eat a variety of vegetables”.

Before the pandemic hit, she used to sell some of the produce she grew. But now that her family has no income, she keeps the vegetables to feed her family.

Once Amrita gets into the full swing of the growing season, she should be able to grow enough fresh vegetables to feed her family and sell the excess at market – bringing back a much-needed source of income for her family.

3. Improved handwashing and toilet facilities

To ensure the provision of adequate sanitation, we will work in both homes and schools to construct and improve handwashing and toilet facilities for 960 people. This will include gender-specific toilets, washing facilities and a menstrual hygiene management space in schools, which will allow privacy and dignity for girls, as well as access for children with disabilities.

A female Nepali school student is sitting on a stool outside her classroom

Priyanka Khadka, a secondary school student, told us about the difficulties she and her fellow female students face when attending school during their period.

A lack of water means that the toilets are often dirty and in disrepair. Her school has a sanitary pad incinerator, but it is not currently in a usable condition. She told us: “I always feel a kind of shyness and danger in my heart every time I attend school while on my period.

Priyanka told us that school life would be much easier for girls like her, if her school had access to sanitary pads and a pad management facility.

4. Training on good hygiene practices

Finally, to drive long-term change, we will deliver training on sanitation and good hygiene. This will be rolled out in schools, empowering school children to become champions of good hygiene in their schools and communities. Ultimately this will benefit 11,400 people and will make these communities more resilient to threats from disease, including COVID-19.

A Nepali woman standing outside next to her wooden dish drying rack

Harikala Karki received training on good hygiene practices back in 2020. She explained that thanks to the improved access to water and hygiene training, she is now able to maintain a clean environment in her house.

She showed us her dish drying rack said: “As taught in the hygiene training, I have been maintaining the dish drying rack ever since then.”

With your support this December, we can ensure that this long-awaited and much-needed project finally gets the funds it needs to commence. Your donation will help ensure that Gorkha’s hilltop communities have clean water and can keep themselves safe from illness. So please, don’t miss out on this opportunity to double your donation and fund this project.

Double your donation today

You can donate to our Big Give Christmas Challenge from midday (GMT) on Tuesday 30 November until midday (GMT) on Tuesday 7 December 2021. Remember, only donations made via our Big Give campaign page will be eligible for the match funding.