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uptake of information and knowledge
The Godavari Knowledge Park (GKP) supports ICIMOD’s focus on innovating and demonstrating sustainable technologies and conservation of natural resources
Two of the major pathways for disseminating information and knowledge derived from the various trials and activities at the Knowledge Park are study visits and training courses. The site is designed as a demonstration facility; the major findings are presented in such a way that a visitor can easily grasp the impact and potential of the various technologies and crops and decide whether to consider applying them in their own situation or recommending them to others. Training events provide participants with the expertise to actually undertake the activities in their own villages, or to train others to do so.
The courses and other training events are focused mainly on providing training or subject-based study tours to groups of lead farmers, NGO staff, Government Officers, and others who can have a multiplier effect in disseminating technologies, although some courses are designed specifically for groups of ‘ordinary’ farmers, too. Till 2018 more than 302 training events have taken place since 1994 and more than 2459 participants were benefited from the training on subjects ranging from sloping agricultural land technology (SALT) to income generation, use of GIS in the preparation of forest inventories. Nearly 17,651 farmers from ICIMOD regional member countries, more than 16,894 field staff from governments and non-governmental organizations; 53,379 students from Nepal, Germany, Japan, Canada, USA, Switzerland, France, Netherland and other countries participated in training events or study tour in the years after the site was opened. Altogether 87,924 people have visited in the ICIMOD Knowledge Park (1994-2018).
The impact of these events extends far beyond the border of the Knowledge Park. In a recent example, a participant in the hands-on ‘Training in Rural Water Harvesting, Income generation, Compost Making and Energy Technologies for Community Leaders and Government and Non-governmental Staff started a small bio-briquette production business Namche Bazar in the Everest region and Mustang District in Nepal. The bio-briquette technology is widespread in Badakshan and Bamyan Provinces of Afghanistan, the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. The briquettes have been welcomed by local hotel and the maternity hospitals as a potential means of room heating and cooking. Similarly, water harvesting pond demonstrated in Godavari is replicated in Palpa, Solukhumbu, Kaski, Kavre, Rasuwa and Nuwakot districts of Nepal. The kiwi fruit demonstrated and promoted by the Knowledge Park has been replicated by farmers in Ilam, Panchthar, Kavre, Dolakha and Solukhumbu districts in Nepal. In Ilam, kiwi is intercropped with tea and other medicinal or herbal plants. The Environment Protection and Alternative Power Development Pvt. Ltd. (EPAPD), a partner of ICIMOD, is involved in promoting kiwi and now there 1,400 kiwi farmers in Ilam District alone and many farmers have already started to earn income from kiwi farming.
Every year, some 600-700 people (policy and decision makers) visit the knowledge park simply to look at the methodologies displayed and learn about the range of interventions that are possible to support integrate mountain farming, income generation, and livelihood improvement approaches and a further 800-1,000 farmers and organizational staff and more 2,500 students take part in specific training and study tours. The visitors include government ministries , senior staff from governments, INGOs, NGOs, and UN organizations, community leaders, scientists, academics, representation of women’s and farmers’ groups. Over the years more than 87,000 people from as many as 72 different countries and 40 major international organizations have visited the park.
The trainees and students take with them knowledge and skills that are used directly in village communities across the region. The many other visitors take with them images and ideas that are passed on many times, building a potential for change and raising awareness of the possibilities across the Hindu Kush Himalayas and beyond.
The comments in the Visitor’s Book include such accolades as “A real introduction to the life and potential of these forests. I will look differently at them now. A beautiful and stimulating work that certainly inspire hope”, and “I wish to introduce the example of SALT demonstration here to many poor mountain areas so as to help the mass there raise their living standards because of work here is successful and encouraging. It is excellent indeed.” “Excellent Knowledge Park to disseminate appropriate technologies with this catchment village and natural resources, the park has huge roles to transform the rural economy on the principles of sustainable development. Wishing the ICIMOD and the rural people all the success in leading the process of change.”
Many of the activities and technologies have been adopted in regional member countries, as a result of input and capacity building effort from the Knowledge Park.
The site provides different technologies and farming and other practices useful for sustainable development. Different technologies and livelihood options demonstrated at the Knowledge Park to the visitors and mountain farmers would agree that the Knowledge Park is a place for “Seeing is believing” and to students it is a “Living Library."