In the rural parts of Nepal, women are often marginalized in the decision-making process, receiving less acknowledgment compared to men. They are frequently relegated to the role of homemakers and do not hold significant importance in society. Being a patriarchal society where men hold most of the decision-making authority, women do not take part in the decision-making process. This results in women depending upon men to carry out basic tasks beyond household responsibilities. Studies have found that in rural parts of Nepal, especially in the Terai belt, women lack power in decision-making as they are given less priority than men and gender disparities are very prominent.
However, there has been a noticeable shift due to the increasing contributions of women to society, empowering them to make their own choices. Two women from the Bara district, Inarpati Devi and Jagamatiya Devi exemplify this change. They installed solar water pumps on their fields through the training session conducted by Gham Power and Mero Microfinance Institution. Installing a sustainable and user-friendly solar water pump was a turning point for them; fuel expenses were saved and now they no longer need to rely on any male member just to operate their complex diesel pumping system.
Jagamatiya Devi, who resides in Bara district owns 4 hectares of land where she cultivates her crops. The soil where she cultivated crops did not get enough water due to lack of water canals and thus, the dryness of the soil made it hard to plow the field. During the COVID-19 lockdown, training sessions were jointly conducted by Gham Power and Mero Microfinance Institution about the importance of solar water pumps and measures to manage finances contributing to irrigation. She got to know about the importance of the Solar water pump and its benefits of time and cost savings. Later, she got in contact with Gham Power through which she installed a solar water pump in her farmland and received financing support from Mero Microfinance. After the installation of a solar water pump, she saved up to approx. $187 in just the first three months. It has been over 7 months since she installed the solar water pump and now she has saved more than $524 in total.
Inspired by Jagamatiya Devi’s vast growth in cultivation, one of the farmers from her village Inarpati Devi also joined the training session and installed Gham Power’s solar water pump irrigation system on her 2-hectare farm. Before that, she used to irrigate her farm using a diesel pump where she faced multiple problems such as the higher cost of fuel and maintenance cost, and pollution which hampered the crop health as well as the environment. This ultimately affected their own physical well-being. With the installation of a solar water pump, she is saving the high cost of fuel and is now growing healthy crops using sustainable solutions.
Earlier their motive for installing a solar water pump was to get ample water for their farm and save the expenses of diesel. They used to struggle to irrigate their short-grain rice, mustard, and pulses farm. However, now that they have access to a reliable irrigation source, they have ventured into cultivating new varieties of crops and vegetables as well. Currently, they have started to farm premium long-grain rice, millet, tomatoes, spinach, and brinjal. Furthermore, they have also started to help nearby farmers who were struggling with less rainfall by providing water to irrigate their farms at a minimal cost of less than $3 an hour. Whereas, Jagamatiya Devi rents her solar water pump on a daily basis for $7.5 per day. With this, they have also been able to generate additional income through a different source using solar water pumps.
Their decision to switch from diesel pumps to solar-powered pumps has improved their lives and reduced fossil fuel use. With user-friendly solar water pumps, it has become easier for female farmers to irrigate their crops on their own efficiently. The hassle for maintenance is close to non-existent due to the easily accessible Gham Power maintenance team. The success story of Inarpati Devi and Jagamatiya Devi has inspired other women in their village to embrace clean energy in farming, saving both money and time.
Watch their story of how they overcame their struggles to succeed in their own voice:
Inarparti Devi’s success story with Gham Power
Jagmatiya Devi’s success story with Gham Power