Karnali Livelihood Empowerment Program (KLEP)


Karnali Livelihood Empowerment Program (Klep), under the aegis of Centre for Agro-ecology and Development (CAED), has been working in Mugu-Karnali in partnership with Fastenopfer (Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund) since 2008.  Klep started with an inception phase of three years (2008-2010) based on the legacy of Fastenopfer, where it worked partnering with local NGOs on four selected themes.  Following the inception period of Klep, Phase I program was undertaken during 2011-2013 with two core themes- Food Sovereignty and Human Rights giving thrust on four selected thematic areas such as Food Sovereignty, Caste-based Discrimination, Women's Reproductive Rights and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Education.  
During Phase I, two-fold approach was followed to undertake Klep in Mugu district; (a) direct program implementation through Action Research based in a remote, disadvantaged, isolated village, Dhainakot VDC, called Dhaina Community Concientization and Development Program (DCCDP) and (b) in collaboration with local NGOs undertaking  programs in other 11 remote and disadvantaged VDCs, called NGOSP.
DCCDP was undertaken for setting an example of software mode of development enhancing critical awareness on rights and responsibilities of locals for self-sufficiency and organized community.  Based on the insights, learning and experiences of DCCDP,  it supported local CNGOs to work on four selected thematic areas while institutionalizing the software mode of development  with rights based approach in other remote VDCs.
The overall goal of Klep is to establish software approach in development discourse in Mugu/ Karnali with reference to food sovereignty and assertion of specific rights of dalit, janajatis and women. 
In its phase II, Klep plans to reduce its direct implementation DCCDP in Dhainakot VDC significantly, multiplying its evidence based learning and experiences in other VDCs of Soru, Karan and Khatyad (only on dalit rights issues) belts in Mugu.  Besides, it also plans to widen the identified issues from local to national level stakeholders.  

Establishing Software mode of development 

Development and mobilization of human and social capital is very crucial for the socio-economic development of a community. These two forms of capital contribute a lot in accumulation, investment and return of conventionally identified natural, financial and technological capitals. Without sufficient level of human and social capital, accumulation, investment and return of other forms of capital cannot be in required quantity and quality. The program emphasizes to institutionalize a 'software mode' of development (building human and social capital i.e. building capacity of local people and their institutions, enhancing qualities of human social relationships within and between different organizations/institutions, supporting development of networks to further enhance individual and collective benefits and capabilities, etc) while promoting a dialogue-based transformative approach in the community in contrast to the mainstream ‘give away’ culture of development where development is receiving things from outside and the task of development workers is to distribute them. 

Incorporation of psychosocial approach for the empowerment of women and dalits

Human rights based approach practiced so far gave emphasis only to ‘power to’ dimension- get together, lodge demand, do advocacy and get it. Such processes were instrumental to bring changes in the policy but could not do much for the empowerment of an individual– enhancing the ‘power within’ dimension. It did not respond to the pains and priorities of an individual. 
Klep in the past used human Rights Based Approach (RBA) but now claims that it has been using Psychosocial Rights Based Approach (PSRBA). Psychosocial approach (PSA) has been mixed with the rights based approach and dialogue-based transformative approach.  In the past, Klep used to advise victims (clients) to lodge a complaint or an FIR against the offender in police office and set the process of justice in motion but, nowadays, we try our best to enhance 'power within' dimension of victim and empower him/her as a 'solution activist' so that he/she can decide what to do and what not to do. 

Blend of livelihood and human rights works 

People with empty bellies cannot assert and enforce their rights. Klep intends to achieve blend of livelihood and human rights works. In the areas where Klep does not implement activities, blending of critical awareness  and food production related activities is done by having two CNGOs intervene in the same area. CNGOs working on promoting self-awareness and supporting claiming of rights and CNGOs working on improving food security situation work with the same community in the same VDCs overlapping food security work and rights work. 

Family as working units

Couple approach refined from the experiences and lessons of working in southern Achham and in Siraha and Saptari districts has been applied.  The job of couples, is to bring changes within their household as an example in intra-household dynamics and management of agricultural resources and extend the same to other households in the village. They improve land use practice, cropping pattern, kitchen gardens, fruits and nuts plantation, farmyard manure and soil improvement, power relation within the household with due attention to reduced workload of women, physical appearance of the house and surrounding in their households. Being model couples and households, they extend their best agricultural practices and paradigm shift in household dynamics to other households by demonstration and discussions taking family as working units. 

From the bottom

KLEP does not believe on the theory of economic development that if resources are invested in helping the economy grow within an area, ultimately its impact will reach to the poor- called trickle down process as the experience showed that such principles did not work in various places in the world. KLEP has been doing positive discrimination in favor of women, dalits and janajatis. In the program, the dalits, janajatis and women (have-nots) learn/get first and then they teach/share with the non-dalits (haves). 

Responding to climate variation and climate change 

Mugu also has been witnessing the indicators of climate change such as reduction in rainfall, reduction in snowfall and snow cover at higher slopes of hills, increase in temperature, water scarcity, occurrence of droughts, shifts in rainy seasons, occurrence of extreme rain and floods, and increased plant and animal diseases. A majority of livelihoods in Dhainakot depend entirely on rain-fed subsistence agriculture. It is felt that close monitoring of climate variation and climate change, building agricultural knowledge such as on cropping season, production cycle, etc, identification of climate compatible suitable crops in the changed condition, exchange of improved crop seeds e.g. resistant to droughts, heat stress or heavy rains are very important for mitigation and adaption of climate variation and climate change. CAED has been integrating these aspects of responding climate variation and climate change into its interventions on food sovereignty and help communities increase their resilience to withstand climate variation and climate change. 

Improvement of local production system through action research and extension works

Successful action research results and farming techniques identified during phase I regarding promotion of winter season kitchen gardening and inceasing production of cereal crops are being multiplied in other 4 VDCs of Soru belt- Bhiee, Natharpu, Photu and Jima. In addition to these, successful and sustainable agricultural techniques and practices from other similar arid or semi-arid areas are also introduced in the area. Klep has been following four methods to multiply successful techniques and results: (1) demonstration at Klep's base station and farmers' field, (2) individual or face-to-face methods (3) group methods and (4) regular and close follow-up while activating the feeling of superiority complex, egoism and envy

Advocacy through/with networks based on groundwork experiences 

Karnali region including Mugu has been airlifting rice for over 25 years in the name of improving food security situation of locals. There is need to sensitize the local people for their right to food and demand appropriate food policies. CNGOs are being supported to operate networks of NGOs at the district level and promote people’s networks at VDC and belt level while doing the groundwork at the grassroots to illustrate why there is need of changing the existing food and agriculture policies. VDC-level/Soru belt-level people’s networks have been linked up to district right to food network for effective lobbying and advocacy at district level while sensitizing local communities about the roles and responsibilities of government line agencies and capacitating them to visit to the government offices both at district and local level and demand for inputs and services from from government frontline units. 

Coordination and collaboration with government offices

CAED aims to establish and strengthen functional relationship with government line agencies and officials at district and VDC level such as DDC, DADO, DLSO, DFO, DHO, DWCO and VDCs in order to influence the system through trust, closer cooperation, coordination and collaboration while creating platform for dialogue between right holders and duty bearer and providing support to the right holders to hold dialogue effectively on the issues. 

Focus on youth

Klep's intervention in all thematic areas is focused on youth. They are provided with training and workshops on the thematic issues to enhance their understanding on the issues and encourage them to contribute in taking up local pertinent issues of social justice and the issues of food and agriculture. 
ASRHR (Adolescents Sexual Reproductive Health Rights) program has been intensified by building partnership with schools while coordinating with concerned government agencies (DHO and DEO). ASRHR program aims to sensitize adolescents (school going and out of school) on the issues of sexual and reproductive health rights and empower them, through life skill training, peer education, ASRH education in schools, formation and mobilization of adolescent group and community outreach through peer educators.   


International Collaborators

National Networks and Alliances

  • Alliance of Agriculture for Food

District Collaborators

  • District Agriculture Development Office (DADO), Mugu
  • District Development Committee (DDC), Mugu
  • District Education Office (DEO), Mugu
  • District Forest Office (DFO), Mugu
  • District Food Security Network (DFSN), Mugu
  • District Health Office (DHO), Mugu
  • District Livestock Service Office (DLSO), Mugu
  • District Women and Children Office (DWCO), Mugu
  • District Right to Food Network (DRtFN), Mugu
  • Dalit Community Development Centre (DCDC), Mugu
  • Karani Community Development Centre (KCDC), Mugu
  • Karnali Food and Agriculture Concern Group (KFACG)
  • Karnali Integrated Women’s Development Forum (KIWDF), Mugu
  • Malika Community Development Centre (MCDC), Mugu
  • Public Service Centre (PSC), Mugu 
  • Prayas Samuha (Prayas), Dhainakot, Mugu

Local Partner/Collaborating NGOs

  • Dalit Community Development Centre (DCDC), Mugu
  • Karani Community Development Centre (KCDC), Mugu
  • Karnali Integrated Women’s Development Forum (KIWDF), Mugu
  • Malika Community Development Centre (MCDC), Mugu
  • Public Service Centre (PSC), Mugu
  • Prayas Samuha (Prayas), Dhainakot, Mugu

Local Collaborators

  • Health Facility Operation and Management Committees (HFOMC) in covered VDCs in Mugu
  • School Management Committees (SMC)  in covered VDCs in Mugu
  • Village Development Committees (VDC)  in covered VDCs in Mugu