Life School Centre Capacity Building Project in Nepal

DFE, with funding from Danida, is working with its local partner Samaj Utthan Yuwa Kendra (SUYUK) and its Danish partner, Brandbjerg Højskole, to strengthen the capacity of civil society to be able to improve the livelihoods of the people living in the Jalaidh watershed through increased upstream-downstream cooperation on sustainable natural resource management. At the core of the project is the local organization Jiwan Kendra or, Life School Centre (LSC), which consists of a membership based Consortium of ten local civil society organizations. 



Check Dam
River cutting its way

DFE’s Involvement in the Jalaidh Watershed

DFE’s involvement in the Jalaidh Watershed began in 2005 through the Jalaidh Integrated Watershed and Natural Resource Management Program (JIWAN). The project strengthened individual and organizational capacities for natural resource management, while promoting equality and inclusion of the poor and socially excluded segments of society. The focus was on improving and diversifying land use systems (agriculture, forests, and water use) to increase production and improve livelihoods in an environmentally responsible way. Another important component of the project was advocacy to influence the local, district, and national policies with respect to the watershed region and the up and downstream management of natural resources. The project engages the authorities to act as real duty bearers who are accountable.

The Life School Center
Lok Patshala

Life School Centre (LSC)

One of the main results of the JIWAN project was the founding of the LSC. It serves as an inclusive grassroots organization that promotes democratic dialogue among community members by encouraging communal decision making in all activities concerning watershed management, land and forestry use and forestry planning, and activities for economic development. The LSC is an experimentation, training and demonstration centre for non-formal, life-long learning.

In the initial phase, the LSC was managed by the JIWAN project staff. But today, the centre is an independent, registered organization with its own management, technical staff, General Assembly, and Executive Committee. It consists of a membership based Consortium of ten local community based organizations. It is a communal facility that serves to promote ecological literacy, the ideas of sustainable living, open and democratic dialogue, and peaceful conflict resolution. The centre brings together upstream and downstream communities and functions as a connecting link between the many activities and stakeholders in the area. Here organizations, villagers, youth, government representatives, and other professionals can meet for seminars, conferences and exchange of experiences.

The LSC was established on land donated by the community. In the middle of the site stands a huge and ornamental Banyan tree, a traditional place for gatherings. The buildings are constructed in adapted tra­ditional local architecture, and are placed around this central tree. They aim is to demonstrate realistic and replicable options for improved building techniques using low cost, low energy and locally produced building materials, renewable energy systems, appro­priate climatic design responses and sustainable ways of dealing with land, vegetation, water and wastes.

The current project builds on past achievements, and puts a strong focus on capacity development and further consolidation of the LSC so that it can become a strong and economically self- sustainable professional organization. For more information visit the LSC website:

Consortium Members from the Terai Private Forestry Development Association (TPFDA)
LSC Training Hall

Civil Society Strengthening and Democratic Natural Resource Management

After a decade long conflict, Nepal is undergoing a complex transitional phase and the political situation continues to be marked by uncertainty. While peace has been kept, civil society has been weakened, and the country is currently without a constitution and has been governed by frequently changing caretaker governments. In this context, the project, through the LSC, focuses on strengthening the cohesion of communities and the capacity of civil society.

One of the features of the project is working with the Lok Pathshalas/Open Village Schools, which serve as informal centres of dialogue. They have in the past been the only forums, where free and democratic dialogue and conflict resolution could take place. However, democratic dialogue among civil society is still fragile and the strengthening of these facilitating structures is one of the main aims of this project.

Through cooperation and open dialogue, the goal is to achieve equitable and effective co-management of watershed resources. Some concrete activities in the project are trainings in the areas of collaborative natural resource management, watershed and eco literacy, climate change awareness, and social empowerment, organizing community level natural resource management activities, designing and implementing land-use and forestry management plans, establishing demonstration plots for appropriate rural technologies, and promoting micro-enterprises, among others. All activities are coordinated with the local government, and various means of advocacy efforts through radio and TV programs to promote co-management of the Jalaidh watershed are being conducted.

Thus, the goal of the LSC is to bring together people from the entire watershed, in order to maintain and strengthen popular mobilization and civil society development, which was weakened after the years of conflict. The project will support the technical, organizational, and advocacy capacity of the LSC, the ten consortium members, and Lok Patshalas, making the LSC a self-sustainable professional resource centre that can promote and support democratic natural resource management for livelihood improvement.

Visit our partners' websites, SUYUK, LSC, and Brandbjerg Højskole. For more information about the projects or Danish Forestry Extension, you can contact Flemming Sehested,

LSC Training HallLSC Training Hall
The People's Tree