One way CHOICE Humanitarian assists rural communities is by helping them to see the resources and possibilities around them. Two years ago, CHOICE helped the village of Divyapuri, Nepal to do just this. The resource is a simple plant called Jatropha.
The oil extracted from the seeds of the Jatropha plant is used to make biodiesel for standard diesel engines as well as a low carbon alternative to heating oil. Jatropha is resistant to drought, pests, produces high yielding seeds containing an average of 35% oil and grows well in Nepal.
The progress has been phenomenal. The community was trained on how to grow and cultivate the Jatropha plant – from starting the plants with seeds in a nursery, to later harvesting and selling the seeds. Since this projects inception, Divyapuri villagers have purchased and planted 146,000 plants and have grown an additional 45,000 plants in their own nursery. The plants are growing well and will begin yielding seeds next year.
In the mean time, with the help of CHOICE, the community has made connections with an oil expelling factory that has committed to purchase their seeds. The community now has plans to grow their business. The community leader, Til Prasad Pathak, said, “The community has a plan to expand the Jatropha plantation in the future and set up their own oil expelling machine.”
This project have a lasting impact on the 6,500 people who live in Divyapuri, setting them on a path out of poverty. In addition to this project, the villagers have also completed a village wide water project. The ground water in Divyapuri contains high levels of arsenic which resulted in many types of skin disease in the area. Now they are drinking clean water and the overall health of the village is improving.