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FINAL EVALUATION REPORT

Nepal Tourism, Outdoor Environment and Development (NTODEP) Project

Submitted to
Nepal Environment and Tourism Initiative Foundation (NETIF)
P.O. Box 21632 Lazimpat, Kathmandu
Telephone: 977-1-4433151, Email: netifnepal@gmail.com
URL: www.netif-nepal.org

Submitted by:
Center for sustainable Development Solutions
April 2014

Executive Summary
This is the Final Evaluation Report of “Nepal Tourism, Outdoor and Environment Development Project (NTOEDP) implemented by Nepal Environment and Tourism Initiative Foundation (NETIF) with support of SOUMEN LATU, Finnish Association for Outdoor Recreation Activities. This evaluation report is expected to provide the NETIF and SOUMEN LATU with the necessary information to confirm (1) the actual achievements of the NTODP project, and (2) whether and how to move forward with potential additional funding to NETIF for community-focused programming similar to NTODP.The overall objective of the evaluation was to report on how the project has enabled better environment for better tourism in the project area, in terms of local capacity building, tourism based enterprises, environment management, employment opportunities through tourism based enterprises, social inclusion, knowledge management, coordination, communication and addressing the wishes of the beneficiaries. Being in consistence with the objectives, the evaluation team assessed development results with reference to the criteria of achievements, effectiveness, relevance and sustainability. Acomprehensive evaluation process outlining methods, tools, and techniques was developed in close consultation with NETIFs staff team.

The interim three year plan of Nepal, has adopted the policies of identification of new products and destinations, promotion of rural tourism, encouragement of flora and fauna based tourism, construction of tourism infrastructure, mobilization of diplomatic mission for promotion of tourism in Nepal. The Nepal Programme Strategy of Finland is aligned with national plan of Government of Nepal. More specifically Finland focuses on three main sectors: education, water and forestry. Besides bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is an important part the development cooperation of Finland. SOUMEN LATU is one of the 50 Finnish NGOs working in Nepal with Nepalese Partner Organizations. SOUMEN LATU – the Outdoor Association of Finland is a promoter of outdoor activities, an expert in hiking.

NTOEDP is a four year project implemented by NETIF, with the view to enable stakeholders to create a destination without pollution and waste, where nature and wildlife areas are protected, where friendships prevail among tourists, local communities and entrepreneurs, and a destination where tourists will have a memorable holiday, entrepreneurs will have enough business and security, and local people will have enough food, shelter and dignity. The main objectives of the project were;

a) To promote community focused eco-tourism and enhance the environment for better tourism;
b) To promote harmony between the local communities and tourism entrepreneurs and build networking channels for them;
c) To develop and promote locally made products, such as organic produce and handicrafts;
d) To enhance the local management capacities for better tourism;

The project area is the trekking trail, which starts from Sundarijal, about 12 km from the city centre of Kathmandu, and continues through villages and towns of Mulkarkha, Chisapani, Chauki Phangjyang, Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, Namabuddha , Panauti and back to Kathmandu. The target beneficiaries of the project were local communities on and around the trail, tourism based entrepreneurs, Local Tourism Development Communities, Community Schools, Eco-clubs and Women Self Help Groups.

The Evaluation team observed that 735 community members were trained by NTODEP on high impact short term tourism trainings such as small lodge and hotel management, cook training and cultural program management, handicraft production, local guide, briquette making, organic farming, health and hygiene, responsible tourism, mushroom farming, off seasonal vegetable farm training were organized .The trained CBOs and members have started utilizing their skills in tourism and environment management locally. Among them 167 trainees have upgraded their existing enterprises, 23 and remaining others are operating their own business or are employed. NTOEDP branded and promoted trail through creating awareness about the trekking trail and its significance among the tourism entrepreneurs and conducting promotional activities like hiking & biking, familiarization trips, media campaigns. Altogether 17 rest houses,31 tourist information boards and 394 signage boards, 6 public toilets , two water taps were constructed by NTODEP. The project also approached to educate villagers and visitors about the importance of clean environment through the placement of signboards, information boards, best practice guidelines, code of conduct and in the park and along the trekking trail and by arranging training programs amongst the villagers. The Evaluation team observed that more than 769 waste baskets, 10 incinerators, 6 public toilets and 2 water taps were placed and built along the trail. Currently 20 local community based organization, women self help groups, eco clubs, tourism development committees, alliances of tourism based organizations and professionals are active and self mobilized in the project area.

A total of 154,845 visitors visited through Shivpuri National park in year 2011/12 against 111,156 in 2008/09. This is an increase of 39 percent visitors after the intervention of the project. Similarly the Community Based Organizations have been playing catalytic roles in coordinating and networking with the stakeholders. The NTODEP staff reported that the value of supports from various organizations was about NRs 2351590. The Evaluation team found signage, rest houses, and public toilets as per need of the trekkers along the trekking trail. The quality of accommodation and food has also found significantly improved. The trekkers now can access information from websites and information regarding the trekking in Kathmandu valley cultural trekking trail. Local communities were also observed of being aware about their rights and responsibilities in tourism and environment management locally. Additionally they have new skills and expertise in managing tourism based micro enterprises .The tourism entrepreneurs, local communities and the service providers gradually have started working together to strengthen the backward and forward linkages for the sustainable tourism business. Thus the project implemented from 2009 to 2013 was highly relevant to address the government policies and priorities of Nepal, priorities of development cooperation of Finland in Nepal, the Finnish NGO, SOUMEN LATU, Nepali counterpart NETIF as well as the needs of the local population and visitors.

NETIF implemented the project initiatives as per the approved Annual Work Plan (AWP) throughout the project period. Similarly, it also provided technical and other needed expertise to CBOs to identify the needs and local level planning in tourism and environment. There was an established mechanism to transfer the fund. Community organizations formulate their programs/activities and estimate the budget. During the project period a total of 4127 people were directly benefitted from the activities like capacity building, infrastructure construction, promotional campaigns and visit. NTODEP strengthened and mobilized the already established CBOs rather than forming new ones in the beginning of project implementation. Most of the CBOs are growing as emerging grassroots organization for tourism and environment initiatives. The CBOs are either legally registered or are affiliated with government line agencies and local bodies. Similarly the CBOs have already developed the capacity to influence and pull the resources from other agencies. Additionally they have knowledge on the services available to them from government line agencies and local bodies. The authorities of local bodies and government line agencies are aware of the multiplier effects of mobilizing CBOs for local development initiatives and they have already started mobilizing them. CBOs are also harmonizing their Annual Work Plan with the regular activities of government line agencies and local bodies. Hence in future CBOs will receive financial supports for the renovation and the construction of trails, community houses, information centers from local bodies and government line agencies in absence of the project. Hence NTODEP has been able to achieve its goals and objectives. The main factors behind the success of the project were need based prioritization, informed and timely action, facilitation and strong monitoring and community based pro-poor tourism initiatives to address the wishes of the community, environment and the visitors. With relevance to findings the Evaluation team concluded that:

a) The project has been able to create livelihood opportunities for local people through vocational training.
b) It has been able to enhance the trail into a well established destination for trekkers and hikers and address the wishes of visitors and local people through the provision of basic tourism infrastructure in the project area.
c) The community members have self mobilized as an effect of NTODEP's continuous efforts on educating and awareness raising in waste management in the community and the project intervention has triggered in the flow of visitors in the project area.
d) The project intervention has enabled the environment in tourism sector with more actors working together for the better future of Nepal and the results also have been able to change the attitudes and behaviors of visitors, community members, and actors in tourism sector of Nepal.
e) The Project has been able to create better environment for better tourism in the area
The Evaluation team highly recommends on;
a) Scale up the institutional capacity of CBPO, in Shivapri Nagarjun National park Area for the initiation of buffer zone management committee in the future.
b) Scaling up and replication of the project in other parts of the country.
c) Strong monitoring mechanism should be continued in the project area even after the phase out of the project.
d) Strengthen and link up CBO’s established by NETIF with the government’s local bodies.

 

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