Nepal Target Region
All development activities undertaken by NSP during the past two and a half decades focused on the hill regions of Kabhre Palanchok district in eastern Nepal. Kabhre district can be reached along the Arniko highway connecting Kathmandu with Kodari on the border leading into Tibet. Kabhre district has a population of approximately 350,000 made up of eight very diverse ethnic communities. The Tibeto-Burman speaking Tamangs represent about fifty percent of Kabhre district's population.
Initially, our development aid focused on the central Timal region, but was later expanded to other hill regions north of the Sun Kosi river. In 1985, we have shifted our development aid to the southern Mahabharat region, the southernmost region of the district situated between the Mahabharat ridge in the north and the Kabhre-Sindhuli-Makawanpur district boundary in the south. The high Mahabharat ridge spans the entire length of the district. The limited and difficult access virtually isolates the southern Mahabharat region from the rest of the district. The region is also the poorest and the most backward area within Kabhre district and is officially considered an undeveloped area. Prior to NSP's initiation of development activities within the southern Mahabharat, the region did not benefit from any development assistance, governmental or NGO, in spite of the obvious needs of the region's population.
The southern Mahabharat, although scenically very beautiful, is a much more rugged mountain region than the central and northern regions of Kabhre district with steep mountainsides and narrow valleys. The concluding paragraph of the Community Needs Assessment Report that was undertaken in 1993, at the request of the Ontario International Development Program, sums up the Mahabharat region and its population as follows:
Topographically, the southern Mahabharat is a remote mountain region with steep hillsides, often reaching very high altitude (3,000 metres or 10,000 feet) and deep narrow valleys. The population suffers from poverty, lack of safe water and health care facilities, a lack of income generating opportunities, difficult terrain, poor links of communication and a great distance from a motorable road and urban centres. The subsistence farming on low productivity land barely meets their food needs. The critical food self-sufficiency has been further acerbated by a major natural disaster which had struck the region in 1993. The capacities of the Mahabharat people are hard work, their dedication to the community cause and their willingness to participate in any development activity that would bring about an improvement in their primitive way of life. They are prepared to contribute whatever is necessary in local resources and voluntary labor to achieve those goals.