The Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction together with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and German development agency — Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) — today inaugurated a new road that connects remote villages of Baitadi district in the far-west, providing communities with better access to markets, health centres, schools and other key facilities.
"Roads provide vital access and mobility to poor rural communities," said WFP Nepal representative Nicole Menage. "With the opening of the new road, people will have improved access to social services," she said, adding that it will stimulate the local economy, improve lives and reduce geographic isolation.
With funding support from the European Union Food Facility, construction of the 32-km Dehimandu-Giregada Rural Road Construction Project started in 2009.
GIZ, under the guidance of the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction and WFP collaborated to provide work opportunities to participants who received food — rice and lentils — and cash in exchange for their labour. More than 5,000 poor households have already benefited each year from the food and cash transfers, and many more are benefiting from the opportunities created by the new road.
GIZ and WFP are long-term partners in the implementation of community-based livelihood projects in Nepal. Under the commission of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, GIZ provides technical expertise, equipment and skilled labour to ensure the quality of the road, taking into consideration social, environmental, health and safety aspects.
Local development officer Ram Datta Pandey hailed the completion of the new road that will transform people’s life for the better and will contribute in the development of the region in the years ahead.
Till date, a 25-km stretch has been completed — the remaining seven kilometres will be finished by September. By connecting seven remote villages — Dehimandu, Gwalek, Nagarjun, Rodidewal, Amchaur, Kulau and Giregada — the road will benefit more than 47, 000 people and promote social and economic development.
"The inputs from WFP and the German government complemented each other in a perfect way," said GIZ programme manager Claudia Maier, on the occasion.
"On one hand, people were able to bridge their food gap instantly and on the other, they profited from plenty of new long-term income opportunities," she said, adding that agriculture production has gone up significantly and many families earn additional money since they have completed vocational training. "The changes will motivate people to manage their lives independently in the future."
Between 2007 and 2012, WFP constructed or repaired nearly 3,000-km of roads and trails linking rural communities to markets and towns in the most isolated regions in the country.
WFP programmes reach about 500,000 people every month in Nepal, mainly in the mid- and far-western hills and mountains, helping people meet their immediate food needs and to improve their living conditions by providing employment opportunities on infrastructure projects designed to bolster resilience and self-reliance.Joint secretary of the ministry of peace and reconstruction Bharat Prasad Poudyal, WFP Nepal representative Nicole Menage, GIZ country director Roland F Steurer and GIZ programme manager Claudia Maier apart from local government officials and community members were present in the programme.