LI-BIRD’s 25th Annual General Meeting And Social Audit

LI-BIRD organized its 25th Annual General Meeting and Social Audit in Pokhara, Kaski on 24 August 2019 with the participation of representatives of government agencies, donors, partner organizations, private sectors, impact groups (farmers), media, founder members, executive board members, general members, and staff. The Chief Guest of the event, Honorary Gayatri Gurung, Province Assembly Member, Gandaki Province inaugurated the event by unveiling Smarika entitled ‘Manka Kura’ published on the occasion of the silver jubilee. The Smarika consists memoir of LI-BIRD’s Founder Members, Board Members, General Members, Donors, Partners, Community Organizations, Ex and Current Staffs. The stories in the Smarika are about the establishment, organizational development and how a variety of people associated with its establishment and development see LI-BIRD. 

The Chief Guest of the event, Honorary Gayatri Gurung, Province Assembly Member, Gandaki Province inaugurated the event by unveiling Smarika entitled ‘Manka Kura’ published on the occasion of the silver jubilee. 

LI-BIRD has been conducting social audit in its programmes and projects regularly for the last six years. Mr. Namaskar Shah, a registered facilitator from Nepalgunj conducted the social audit. As an integral part of the social audit process, facilitator visited project sites in Sindhupalchowk district and conducted interaction with beneficiaries, and observed project activities. Based on those observations and interactions, social audit report was prepared, which was shared in LI-BIRD’s annual general meeting.

Dr. Balaram Thapa, Executive Director of LI-BIRD, shared on LI-BIRD’s overall portfolio, organizational governance and internal control system. He highlighted LI-BIRD’s key achievements in the last 25 years with a special focus on the year 2018-19. Various stakeholders and representatives participated and provided feedback and suggestions during the interaction session as part of the social audit process. 

Mr. Namaskar Shah, Social Audit Facilitator appreciated the work of LI-BIRD’s projects that have brought positive impacts in the community. He highlighted, ‘these activities were able to focus on organic vegetable consumption, women empowerment, livelihood upliftment and reduce the stress after the earthquake loss’. He further added that the seed support and training programmes were reflecting remarkable achievements in the project sites. 

LI-BIRD has established Bhuwon Ratna Sthapit (BRS) Memorial Fellowship for Agrobiodiversity in honour of the late Dr. Bhuwon Ratna Sthapit for his life-long contribution in agrobiodiversity research and development. BRS Fellowship was awarded to Ms. Namrata Devi Khatri, Masters of Science Student, Institute of Forestry, Pokhara for the Academic year 2075/76-2076/77. The BRS fellowship is equivalent to Nepalese Rupees Two Hundred Thousand Only.

Recipient of 2019 Bhuwon Ranta Sthapit Memorial Fellowship for Agrobiodiversity Ms Namrata Khatri (left), Balaram Thapa, LI-BIRD Executive Director (Center), and Honorable Ms Gayatri Gurung, Member of Provincial Assembly, Gandaki Pradesh

On the special occasion of Silver Jubilee, Founder Members were awarded for their contribution of founding LI-BIRD. Similarly, former and current Executive Directors were also awarded for their contribution by providing leadership. As part of the celebration, long term and valued partners were felicitated. Similarly, the staff who are working for over 15 years continuously were also awarded. 

LI-BIRD founder members

LI-BIRD awarded two staff based on their excellent performance in the Year 2019. Ms. Kaushila Rai, Technical Assistant and Mr. Hem Bahadur G.C, Data and System Assistant, as ‘Achiever Support Staff of the year, 2019’. LI-BIRD awarded farmer and farmers group for their contribution in the agrobiodiversity conservation. Mr. Rabin Kumar Tharu from Bardiya received ‘Best Farmer’ award and Pragatisheel Agriculture Development Cooperative Limited from Maramche, Kaski received ‘Best Farmers’ Cooperatives/Group’

Achiever of the year 2019, Ms. Kaushila Rai (left) and Mr. Hem Bahadur GC (right)

Dr. Giridhari Paudel, Vice Chief of Gandaki Province Policy and Planning shared, ‘The work of LI-BIRD on local biodiversity conservation is worth praising. We need to focus on our technology development and its promotion. There’s a need of study on our comparative advantage and development of forward and backward linkages in the tourism sector which is the most priority sector of the province followed by agriculture as identified in the strategic plan. It is also important to improve partnerships and coordination amongst different actors in Gandaki Province’. He also requested LI-BIRD to fill the gap by bridging between agriculture development and tourism by generating technologies to improve farm productivity and linking with the tourism sector. He highlighted that agriculture contributes to 29% of GDP and the investment, yet is not able to generate the required technology and address the yield gap. The research done is insufficient.  The yield enhancement is the need of today’ world.  He added, ‘57% of the population are active population and youths need to be more involved in research and development so LI-BIRD can play a role to engage more youths in the research and development sectors’.

Hon. Ms. Dhan Maya Lama, Member, Gandaki Province Assembly, appreciated LI-BIRD for its noble work. She thanked LI-BIRD for providing the opportunity to participate in the traveling seminar in Nawalpur, Dhanusha and Mahottari districts from where she was able to see and learn innovations in the field. She added, ‘I would like to thank LI-BIRD for establishing climate-smart villages, community seed bank and promoting women-friendly tools and home gardens, where women have been able to uplift their status and support in their livelihood. I think home garden has been one of the good practice that has supported marginalized women and empowers them economically. Home garden supported to reduce the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers which has reduced community people to suffer less from various health risks.’ She elaborated that she has been able to lobby these practices to integrate into the policy and programmes. She expressed, ‘these policies can collaborate with the local, provincial and federal government to support agricultural development’. She shared her commitments that she will coordinate with the federal system in such works. She opined that agriculture is the backbone of Nepal’s’ economic development and agriculture should move towards commercialization. 

Mr. Nawaraj Ojha, Chief of Rupa Rural Municipality remarked that LI-BIRD has played an indispensable role in the production, conservation of local crops and made a significant contribution in the agriculture sector. He welcomed LI-BIRD for partnership and committed that local government (Rura rural municipality) is eager to collaborate with LI-BIRD with 50-50% contribution in implementing the activities. Mr. Yuwaraj Kunwar, Chief of Annapurna Municipality, shared ‘the work done by LI-BIRD is effective at community level without doubt. The rural municipality is really eager to collaborate with LI-BIRD. Conservation of local crops, organic farming, climate-related activities are the key sectors that rural municipality wants to work with LI-BIRD. It has been one year that rural municipality is working closely with LI-BIRD for promoting organic farming.’

Hon. Ms. Gayatri Gurung, Member, Gandaki Province Assembly, receiving token of love from Dr. Balaram Thapa, Executive Director, LI-BIRD

In her closing remarks, Hon. Ms. Gayatri Gurung, Member, Gandaki Province Assembly appreciated LI-BIRD for its work and contribution on local crops conservation and climate change and livelihood upliftment. She wished LI-BIRD for its long term dedication and service-oriented delivery. She elaborated that she has been able to collaborate with ministries and raise the voice on key areas of agriculture sectors where further work can be done. She added, ‘LI-BIRD knows how to take the nation towards the pathway of development hence LI-BIRD should take steps in the extension of this knowledge to a greater audience. I will be in support of LI-BIRD so that it reaches out further.’ 

Staff award recipients with staff and members.

Annual General Meeting of LI-BIRD

The second session was ‘Annual General Meeting (AGM)’, a closed meeting conducted among the General Members and Executive Board Members of LI-BIRD. Dr. Deepak Kumar Rijal Vice-Chairperson of LI-BIRD reviewed last year’s AGM and shared the agendas of this year. Mr. Bharat Bhandari, Programme Development Director highlighted the key annual strategic plans and programmes. Mrs. Ramkali Khadka, Treasurer presented the audit report of 2075/76 and discussed. The programme was concluded with a vote of thanks remarks by the Board Chair Mr. Krishna Prasad Baral.