Most people in Nawalparasi district in Western Nepal are small-scale farmers, many of them women who cannot read or write. With limited access to information, farmers still use traditional agricultural methods, and yields barely cover household needs.
the innovative service
To help the farmers improve their livelihoods, the library works with partners to provide a service that combines business and technology skills training with a lively information programme using radio, the internet, mobile phone text messaging and educational videos.
The library’s partner, MEDICT service (Mobilization for Education and Development through Information and Communication Technology) provides resources for hands-on technology training and other livelihood training, so that farmers can research the internet for answers to their questions and email agricultural experts for advice. Business skills training helps them to bargain with produce buyers and to manage their money better.
Practical answers to farmers' questions
The library’s lively Practical Answers programme provides desperately needed information by radio, SMS and online. Librarians gather farmers’ questions and concerns and pass them on to the library’s partners, the non-governmental organizations READ Nepal and Practical Action. The partners help the library find agricultural experts to provide answers.
To make sure non-literate farmers can benefit from the service, librarians send their questions to the local radio station, Synergy FM 91.6, which broadcasts a call-in programme during which agricultural experts speak to farmers and answer their questions on air. The library also regularly invites farmers to watch educational videos. Agricultural experts attend the sessions and meet the farmers.
achievements and impact
In just one year -
Vegetable, rice and livestock farmers are reporting increased yields – and now regularly come to the library in their free time to use the internet.
Librarians collected 995 and answered questions from the community, successfully answering over half of them.
Over 75 people attended film and video sessions on agriculture.
Over 140 people received ICT training.
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