grantees » Ratan Bhanderi

Ratan Bhanderi, Nepal

In the words of his nominator Gopal Siwakoti ‘Chintan’, “Ratan is probably one of the very few environmental leaders in [Nepal] who comes from a poverty-stricken family and a rural village background, directly affected by a dam project and ultimately displaced”. His enormous wealth of skills learned from direct experiences with communities and local leaders on the ground has been invaluable for his work ensuring the participatory development and leadership of indigenous Nepalese in Integrated Water Resource Management. Today, Ratan is a Co-ordinator of the Water & Energy Users’ Federation – Nepal (WAFED), for which he also is the bulletin Editor.

With the help of the JWH initiative grant, Ratan completed an indivual Leadership Development Programme. He engaged in an internship at the IBON Foundation in the Phillipines, conducting many field visits to hydropower sites and broadening his horizons by learning by doing. He found the cross-cultural exchange to be enriching and of particular relevance for his work in Nepal: “The knowledge I gained from IBON relating to effective public advocacy, research, programme development, exposure/interface with COURAGE (a Water Union of the Philippines) etc. was very useful for me.” His learning was multi-faceted; “I have been engaged in learning about how to write proposals, reports and booklets as well as more in-depth academic and scientific knowledge on issues of water, dams, environment, climate change and alternatives to water and natural resorce management with my supervisor and other experts in Kathmandu and abroad.” As such, he could expand his professional network, especially as he presented at various forums, including the ADB’s Public Communication Policy Community Consultation, and found that “this consultation was a rare opportunity for me and even for other Nepalese activists and the representatives of ADB-funded project-affected communities to share experiences and issues”. Ratan also completed a professional English language training, which “was significantly helpful to learn how to make effective group presentations and how to use the English language properly and accurately.”  Now, Ratan continues his work for harmonization of sustainable development and ecological conservation, and is the Secretary for the Himalayan and Peninsular Hydro-Ecological Network (HYPHEN).