Next time we might consult an engineer…
Hari Parajuli is a member of the Community Radio Madanpokhara listener club in Pokhara Chowk VDC, ward no.9, Palpa district. Being 23 makes him the oldest member in the group that consists of 24 children between 8 and 23 years. Out of the many experiences being an active member of the listener’s group has given him, constructing a new road leading up the mountain to their village proved to be very challenging.
Over the years many frustrations had built up among the villagers in Pokhara Chowk VDC, ward no.8 and 9. The villagers badly needed something to replace the narrow trail connecting them to the main road between Pokhara and Tansen. Since the Village Development Committee (VDC) was not paying attention to the interests of ward no.8 and 9, the listener club decided to take action and start building a road themselves.
Making the road has been a long journey. After having conceived the idea the listener club decided to ask a neighboring community saving and credit group to construct the road jointly. A road construction committee of nine people was formed and the spades were pulled out from every household to do the digging. Fathers, mothers and children all contributed with four days of work during the two years of construction. Around 150 people were involved in the project which was all free of cost for the villagers – except for those people who were not able to participate. They were obliged to pay 105 rupees per day instead. The fees went to the VDC which eventually decided to help the local initiative by providing a bull dozer to do the hard work.
“We needed a road because it would make our life so much easier. All villagers now feel they can easily go to the market by taxi to sell vegetables and to do practical matters. It is a lot easier to transport maize seeds to either Pokhara or Tansen. If somebody is sick and need to go to the hospital it now only takes 10 minutes to walk to the car. Before it would take half an hour”, says Hari Parajuli.
To Hari Parajuli it was an immense effort for himself and the group to make the road. He feels his confidence has been boosted during the past two years. Before he could not speak up in public, but now he is often the one chosen to give welcome speech when the listener club has cultural and social gatherings in the community. Saying it with a smile on his face, Hari admits that he and the group also have learned to take advice.
“Actually we must say that the road is not really good. We should have taken some technical advice on how to construct a road before we started digging. But what were we to do? We had no money for that! Anyway, the District Development Committee has offered their help so that an engineer can examine the road.”
So what exactly was Community Radio Madan Pokhara’s role in all this?
Hari Parajuli answers – “The DDC started knowing about our project after hearing a radio programme broadcasting our story and being in the listener club I feel I am a member of Community Radio Madan Pokhara.”
What about the future challenges for the group? To outline these does not take Hari Parajuli long. A paper is quickly revealed from his pocket listing 13 new goals for the club: “1. Develop tourist area, 2. Green road concept (plant trees along the road), 3. Collect plastic…” Giving advice from the listeners to CRM is also included as well as conducting a 12- hour cultural programme that is also to be broadcasted.”
“CRM is experimenting with public hearings on certain issues. We would also like to contribute to the development of this program,” says Hari Parajuli.