COMMUNITY ACTION NEPAL
Nepal is a Kingdom of extremes - from near sea level to the summit of Mount Everest. This landscape brings real difficulties and challenges for those living in remote and inaccessible mountain regions. Community Action Nepal (CAN) helps to bring long term benefits to these resourceful and proud mountain people. CAN is a mountaineers’ charity to help mountain people to help themselves raise their standard of living and strengthen indigenous, community-based culture. CAN operates mainly in the Middle Hill Regions of Nepal from where the majority of the porters originate. It is the porters who make it possible for walkers and climbers to enjoy the peaks and passes of Nepal.
How did it start? The mountaineer who founded the charity was Doug Scott. He reached over 40 Himalayan summits, including Everest and Kangchenjunga, before taking an active interest in the welfare of the people who had, in effect, brought him relative fame and fortune. Inspired by the philanthropic work of Mike Cheyney and his Sherpa Co-operative, Doug launched the Specialist Trekking Co-operative (STC) in 1989. In 1994 profits from the trekking company were first put into community work at Ghunsa where a school was built and a Health Post established. Since 1994 CAN has established more than 50 projects, and is now sustaining over 40 grass-root projects benefitting 132,000 people.
When CAN agrees to undertake a project, it is at the request of the communities themselves. It aims to ensure that all projects are fully sustainable with an ongoing and indefinite commitment from CAN. Local people are involved from the design stage, to completion and beyond. To avoid donor dependency and to encourage a sense of ownership and responsibility for all projects CAN insists on the active involvement and commitment from villagers who are asked to contribute the equivalent of one third of the project's needs through the provision of labour, expertise and local material.
In 2010 the Everest Marathon Fund gave CAN £9,000 which will be used to fund a new CAN project at the head of the Arun valley, near the border with Tibet. From the air strip at Tumlingtar it is a day's jeep ride to the road head at Num, then a 2 day walk to the market village of Gola (1700m - 750 houses) which is the focal point for 11 outlying communities. Further northwest is the village of Hatiya (2000m - 625 houses). CAN has undertaken to rebuild the run down health posts in Hatiya and Gola (£3,500 - £4,000 each) and supply three nurses. These health posts will provide health care for about 6,000 people. But experience from previously built health posts has shown that 10 times that number will flock in from surrounding valleys.
The 2011 race will contribute £8000 towards running costs for the Gola health post. The remaining £1000 will go towards the porter shelter at Gokyo. The stone has been brought up and dressed and building should start in the spring of 2012.