Energy changes the face of Dagatundanda

Dental clinic in Kharbang
Dental clinic in Kharbang. Photo: UNDP Nepal

The small village of Kharbang in Dagatundada, Baglung (western Nepal) has a government-run Shree Tribhuvan secondary school. Though a lot of people prefer sending their children to private schools as long as they can afford, Kharbang witnesses a different scenario.

The Tribhuvan school’s management committee says, “students have now started to prefer this school over private schools. Even those students who had already enrolled in one of the private schools have joined this public school now.”

Highlights

  • REDP, the predecessor of RERL, built 317 sustainable micro-hydro projects with a total installed capacity of 5.7 megawatts (MW), directly benefiting 59,172 households.
  • The REDP/RERL model being adopted by the government in its landmark Rural Energy Policy (2006) and as the basis for its nationwide Micro-hydro Village Electrification Programme (MHVEP), which is funded by the World Bank.

The charm behind joining this school is the benefit that the school can now offer to the students after electricity has come to the village with the support of UNDP micro-hydro project.

The school now has a computer lab with a desktop and 15 laptop computers, a printer cum photocopy machine, a projector, digital library of educational and reference materials for the teachers and students and easy access to internet.

These facilities have made the school the most preferred one for many students and guardians. Students are now more enthusiastic about taking classes, and teachers have access to a lot more educational and reference materials than in the past. The teaching-learning process has become more effective and results have improved with more students passing their final exams.

Krishna Prasad Kharel, the principal who has been with this school for the last 29 years sees a drastic change in the excitement of the students for learning. He proudly says, “Our school has been selected from among many hundred schools to receive a grant of 50 computers from the government for expanding and improving computer classes. So, from this session onwards we are going to run classes using computers for just not computer subjects but also for maths, science, English and Nepali in grades from grades 2 to 6.”

UNDP’s Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood (RERL) programme (successor project of Rural Energy Development Programme, 1996-2011) works as a facilitator that helps the community to identify, establish and run energy consuming enterprises so that the generated electricity can be utilized during day time as well. The community is involved from the inception phase of the micro hydro project and are trained to maintain and sustain the plant. The project now is focusing  more on promoting sustainable livelihoods. In Kharbang, RERL has promoted several livelihood activities through technical capacity building and also through direct financial assistance.

These successes have led to the model being adopted by the government in its landmark Rural Energy Policy (2006) and as the basis for its nationwide Micro-hydro Village Electrification Programme (MHVEP), which is funded by the World Bank.