Habitat Observatory

    Bamboo eco homes for the Kamainyas community

Resource and Environmental Conservation Society, Nepal (RES Nepal), a Nepal-based NGO, has been instrumental in the upliftment of the Kamainya community, the inhabitants of Western Nepal. The NGO caters to their basic needs, including housing, toilets and other day to day requirements.

Bonded labours by tradition, the Kamainyas have lived in extreme poverty, with 58 per cent of them still living without proper shelter. The NGO introduced them to bamboo housing and cultivation that improved their lives and opened new avenues of employment for them. 

The innovative financial mechanism of the project led to the establishment of Bamboo trust funds that offers soft loans to the beneficiaries, helping them to start micro-enterprises, including bamboo-based activities.

The project also led to the construction of four bio-gas bamboo toilets and manufacturing of 180 improved cooking stoves. This has reduced the fuel wood demand by 20 per cent in the area.

The NGO conducts Bamboo Craftsmanship Training Programmes to help the local people to produce various bamboo products. This has had a major impact on bamboo extension and its multiuse.

Different awareness raising programs have also been organised through local NGOs and community based organisations (CBOs) as a part of institutional capacity development. Also, bulletins and posters are used to spread awareness about the use of bamboo.

In addition to providing low cost disaster-resistant houses, the project has helped in carbon sequestration as bamboo absorbes 40 per cent more CO2 than other trees.

The project was initiated in 2003 and was supported financially by Global Environmental Facility-Small Grant Programme (GEF/SGP) and technical support was provided by International Network of Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR).

The cost of one house constructed with this technology is approximately US$1000. The low cost houses are also earthquake proof and have duration of more than 30 years.

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