Revitalize A Village (RAV) encompasses the majority of our work in Nepal. As one of the most innovative and efficient programs in the Himalayan region, RAV encourages poor communities to discover their own abilities and skills to create permanent solutions for better educational opportunities and facilities, basic health and hygiene, and income generation.
dZi is currently working with 5 Village Development Committees (VDCs -
US equivalent of counties) in Eastern Nepal: Gudel, Sotang, Rakha,
Dipsung and Sundel. In 2011, we plan to add one more VDC: Cheskam.
There are three key steps to the RAV process: Teach, Build, and Grow.
The first step of our RAV process is to build up various skills of community members, and help them form non-profit organizations to support the community after we leave.
We mentor community members as they start with small infrastructure projects and work their way into addressing more complicate, long-term needs. We also provide the training required to manage donor and community needs such as accounting, report writing, project development and evaluation.
The basic infrastructure in these remote villages is in shambles or completely non-existent. Providing safe schools, clean drinking water, sanitary toilets, and safe bridges is always the first priority for community members. We encourage village residents to build ownership in the projects through contributing locally available materials and volunteer labor - this amount is often equal to over 60% of the total budget.
The final step is providing a sustainable method of generating income, directly addressing the root cause of poverty in the region. All of our communities' livelihoods are dependent upon subsistence farming. There remain few options to earn money, while populations continue to grow rapidly. This can lead to food shortages, forced migration, and even child labor. We support local farmers as they transition to cultivating new cash crops on unused land, and help them form cooperative groups to ensure fair pricing and to develop new products/markets for the future.
RAV relies heavily on field staff that live and work directly in our target areas.