Shesh Narayan Poudel thinks big and doesn’t always wait for an official green light before pursuing solutions to problems. Early in his career as the Chief District Officer of Baglung, Shesh noticed that residents of a remote hamlet had to endure a costly and perilous journey to obtain citizenship papers or a passport. So, he decided to bring those services to the people. More recently, he won praise for managing the emergency response to last year’s floods in Nepal. As Morang’s Chief District Officer, he dispatched public workers to go door to door visiting victims and set up a system to disseminate information to citizens and the media.
Krishna Dhital is credited with helping hundreds of farmers in Kavre district to dramatically boost their rice production and shift away from subsistence farming. Farmers were initially skeptical when he tried to introduce a new technology for growing the local crop. So he rented land and showed them how it could double their output. Now farmers are producing enough to sell their crops. Mr. Krishna believes in visiting farmers to learn about their challenges. He’s a familiar sight walking beside Kavre’s farms in his blue trousers and white shirt. He has created a Facebook page named “Hello Farmers” in order to handle grievances from the farmers and to provide tips and information on farming.
When Sabanam Pathak joined the forest service in 1991, few believed a woman would have the smarts or tenacity to help communities threatened by deforestation. During her long career as a forest ranger, she has proved her skeptics wrong, engaging rural women and other marginalized people to protect wildlife and bring forests back to life. She has worked intensively with the Chepang ethnic group, even learning their language so she could teach them animal husbandry and commercial agriculture. Her guiding belief is that if people see the forest is theirs, they will feel responsible to protect it.
Shabraj Bam has shown how a simple idea can change lives. A teacher from one of Nepal’s most rural districts, he saw how intimidated his students were by mathematical formulas. So he decided to turn math lessons into poems and stories, even setting them to tunes. His book “Maths Literature” is now used widely in Kalikot’s school system. Mr. Shabraj trains other teachers and hosts a radio program each year to help students prepare for their final high school exams. As a result, thousands of students who once found math scary now see it as fun. Shabraj has also taken a hard line against a culture of cheating on exams, a stance that has cost him with some of his colleagues.
Ms. Tiwari has devoted years to fighting on behalf of Nepalese migrant workers facing injustices abroad. She observed the mistreatment of such migrants up close while working in Nepal’s embassy in Kuwait. In that job, she persuaded officials of various companies in Kuwait to stop abuses and resolve problems. Later, her efforts to publicize the exploitation of Nepalese housemaids working in Gulf countries led Nepal to ban women from migrating to these places for such work. She is known for providing fresh ideas and working to hold her own ministry to a higher standard.