The 2014 GROW interns, Jasmine, Marie, Charlie, Ramya, and Chris, in traditional Tamang clothing.
The 2014 GROW interns, Jasmine Bains, Chris Klene, Charlie, Linkenheil, Marie McDonnell, and Ramya Palaniappan, spent approximately 7 of the 10 weeks of the internship in the village of Sertung, although they also visited Tipling, Lapa and the HHC office in Kathmandu. They have written many research essays about their expedition, which can be found in the Educational blog, which will help you better understand the problems and difficulties faced by the students there.
They worked alongside HHC staff to help monitor and evaluate several of HHC’s projects. A large portion of their time was spent with the Kami (lower-caste) community working on an income-generating garden. The interns also helped gage the effectiveness of HHC’s efficient cookstove project by conducting surveys and measuring indoor air quality. Here are the outcomes of these two projects.
Sertung’s Kami community consists of 14 households, only 2 of which own land of their own. Because of this, families struggle to grow food of their own and oftentimes must resort to begging. In May 2014, HHC purchased a small section of land to be used as a community garden for Kami families. During the summer 2014, the Kami community, under the supervision of HHC Field Coordinator Sapta Ghale, formed an agricultural group, prepared the field for planting, built a large structure to serve as a greenhouse, and planted a variety vegetables including lettuce, carrots, peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes, squash, beans, hops, and radishes. At the end of the GROW internship, the interns were joined by an agricultural technician, a recently hired HHC employee. The agricultural technician will spend the majority of his time in the village, helping the Kami community with crop rotation, controlling pests, etc.
In addition to providing the families with nutritious vegetables they can grow most of the year, the garden allows the Kami community to sell the vegetables to third parties as an additional source of income. This project yielded that strongest relationships between the GROW team and villagers as we worked on the greenhouse with Kami families almost every day. This project also helped further unify the community itself as no single individual owns the land, allowing for communal involvement. Because of the success of the garden, GlobeMed at CU Boulder will provide additional funding for this project to help HHC expand it Tipling and Lapa.
Efficient Cookstove Study
During GlobeMed at CU Boulder’s 2014 GROW internship, students surveyed 24 households about their indoor cookstoves. 13 of these households had traditional cookstoves, while 11 of the households had efficient cookstoves. The surveys asked questions about satisfaction with the cookstoves, the amount of firewood used weekly, and demographic information. All of these surveys were conducted while the household’s stove was in use, and both carbon monoxide and particulate matter levels were recorded during the surveys. Readings were taken in intervals of one minute and at locations where someone would sit while cooking (approximately two feet off the ground and two feet from stove). The following summarizes the key findings of the surveys:
- On average, households with traditional cookstoves reported using 2.87 bundles of firewood per week, while households with efficient cookstoves reported using 1.05 bundles per week. This is a reduction of 63.41%.
- 57% of households with efficient cookstoves reported that the stoves provided enough heat during the winter
- 50% of people reported problems with their improved cookstoves. These problems included:
- Having to frequently re-mud the stove
- Smoke blowing back through the window
- Not enough warmth
- Food cooking unevenly
- Despite these problems, 100% of people surveyed with efficient cookstoves would recommend them to others because they produce less smoke, require less firewood, cause less eye irritation, and keep the home cleaner.
- Most people who have built an efficient cookstove only use their traditional cookstoves to make alcohol. However, one family reported using the traditional cookstove to make food for lots of people and to stay warm between the months of December and February.
- Instead of gathering firewood on a regular basis, families stockpile firewood for the entire year. Families walk for approximately 12 hours round-trip to reach their wood-gathering location in the forest.
In addition to these projects, the interns also interviewed people that had built HHC latrines and students that receive education stipends, attended women’s empowerment classes, and spent time in the local school in Sertung. Please contact us at if you have more questions regarding the GROW internship!