A cooperative dedicated for women
In Khoplang VDC of Gorkha district, a community based women agriculture cooperative group have taken concrete steps to empower the women in the village. With a noble vision to motivate women by engaging them in agriculture, Durga Ghimire from Khoplang VDC had initiated a cooperative named Shree Khoplang Mahila Sahakari Santha.
Today, the cooperative is running with 130 women shareholders who are not only growing different vegetables in their backyards,but are also learning new techniques to improve their farm production.“Right from my childhood I always wanted to do something for the women of my village. I saw huge potential in them, but somehow I felt their potential were not harnessed because agriculture was mostly dominated by the men,” says Durga.
It all started with a book
When CARE started working in the village of Khoplang after the earthquake, Durga was very hopeful to receive support from the organization. She recalls the conversation when she visited CARE district office in Gorkha. “When I went to CARE office in Gorkha, I was provided with a book published by the organization on using different techniques to improve vegetable production. When I read that book, I was confident that women in my village can also produce vegetables using the knowledge from the book,”says Durga.
Along with the book, CARE with the funding from Taiwan ICDF, also supported the cooperative with vegetable seeds and plastics for tunnel farm.
Durga is passionate about improving the lives of women in her village through agriculture. However, she has to face many challenges on a daily basis to fulfill the dream of her fellow women members. She says, there were men who used to discourage our cooperative by saying women cannot run a group efficiently and the cooperative would fail for sure However, Durga in a passionate tone says, “with every opportunity there are challenges.” She adds, “I didn’t speak back to those men, instead I thought that they will be silenced when I show them what women can do.”
Upon receiving vegetable seeds, plastics and the book from CARE, Durga thought it would be a perfect opportunity to prove her and her fellow women’s worth. “I distributed the seeds equally among all the members and told them to use all their knowledge to produce good yields for themselves. She claims that their families have not had to purchase a single vegetable from the market. “This has reduced a huge economic burden for their families as they didn’t have to spend their time and money going to the market and purchasing vegetables,” she adds.
With the support of many organization like CARE the cooperative has been running successfully as it has a collection center now. The group has accumulated about NRS. 100,000 by selling vegetables produced by the women in their farms. In addition, the cooperative has also started group farming in five communities with plans to expand group farming in more communities. “Those people who used to tell us that the cooperative will fail are now appreciating our work,” says Durga. Many men in the village tell me that we have done a commendable job that even they could not have done,” adds Durga.