Solar panels light up rural Nepal
WWF Nepal, together with the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association, coordinated the distribution of solar panels to 193 households in the village of Tapehthok, which lies within the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area.
The majority of the rural poor living in the more remote parts of the country still depend on kerosene lamps. For those who can’t afford kerosene, they collect pinewood to burn.
“The solar lighting system has not only enabled us to work late but also help our children to do homework at night,” said Bishnu Kumari Limbu, one of the villagers who received a solar panel. “Now there is also no discomfort from the burning wood and kerosene smoke.”
The aim of the solar lighting system project is to encourage local people living in the conservation area to use alternative energy and to reduce biotic pressure on the surrounding forests. The solar panels have been provided to the poorest households of the area who are largely dependent on forest resources for energy.
“The local villagers have a positive attitude towards the project and are highly appreciative of our efforts,” said Ang Phuri Sherpa, project manager of WWF’s Kangchenjunga Conservation Area project.
“We will train some sixteen locals of Tapethok and other villagers to facilitate the installation of another 333 sets of solar panels.”
The success of WWF Nepal’s work in the social mobilization for biodiversity conservation, capacity building, and improving the socio-economic condition of local peoples is evident from the decision of the Nepalese government to hand over the management responsibility of the conservation area to the local communities.
Communities in Kangchenjunga will be the first in the country to have the management responsibility of their conservation area.
The Kangchenjunga area in Nepal, an area of 200,000ha including the world's third highest peak, was declared a WWF Gift to the Earth in 1997. The area possesses high biodiversity, including such species as the Himalayan black bear, red panda, and snow leopard.
Links to further information:
Sangita Shrestha Singh, Communications Officer
WWF Nepal Programme Office
Tel: +977 1 4434820