Lives are being changed in a fundamental way and people are taking a measure of control over their own development. Mal Simmons (Independent Evaluator, 2013)
Over the last nine years, with financial support from Irish Aid and ICCO, more than 100,000 marginalised people benefited through participation in Community Groups (CGs) and networking organisations formed by SS. These have enabled marginalised people to advance their interests by engaging in collective action to increase access to resources and to influence local government planning processes.
An independent external evaluation carried out in September 2016 stated that the evaluation team found significant changes to the communities resulting from the FEST process. The most significant change is increased respect and inclusion of marginalised communities. Gender and caste discrimination has decreased considerably.
Recent achievements (2014-2016)
During the last three years, 179 new CGs were established in 10 VDCs of Kailali and Jajarkot Districts, all of which are committed and active. These CGs, which include Dalits, tribal minorities and people with endangered livelihoods were faced with significant problems of food insecurity, social exclusion and poor access to government services. Of their 4,195 members, 87% were women. Of the 1,875 action plans made by the CGs, a total of 78% were successfully implemented. CGs developed community infrastructure (repair or construction of roads/paths, electricity installation, construction of new school buildings and community meeting houses, construction of plantations, irrigation channels and ponds, repair of drinking water systems, protection of land against soil erosion and landslides, etc.). They also collected community funds amounting to â‚¬227,328, 98% of which amount was provided to 2,812 members for income generation and specific household purposes. They further raised â‚¬12,500 from external resources.