Concern has recently begun work on an EU-funded programme in Phyongan province.
This work is focusing on sanitation and waste disposal in Hoichang town. We’re building water systems and improving sewage treatment systems and latrines in the area.
Over 55,000 people will benefit from this work.
Another EU-funded Concern programme is focusing on nutrition. We are aiming to increase sustainable food production in Hoichang and Koksan, and in two neighbouring cooperative farms.
To do this, we are establishing urban greenhouses, irrigation systems and goat milk processing facilities. We are also working with locals to increase their technical and management skills.
This programme will benefit over 43,000 people.
An important part of our work is focused on water, sanitation and hygiene promotion.
Between 2004 and 2009, Concern provided 252,500 people in the country with clean drinking water. We did this by renovating pump stations and providing household connections. Key innovations have included gravity-fed water systems and the use of solar powered water pumping systems.
In addition, 46,800 people have benefitted from improved sanitation facilities, especially in institutions such as schools, kindergartens, nurseries and the county hospital.
In the rural communities where we work, our focus has been on halting deforestation and improving farming techniques.
We have provided 270,000 potted tree seedlings to three community-run nurseries. These potted seedlings grow quickly – in three to nine months – with undamaged root systems.
This is a major improvement on the more traditional bed-grown seedlings that were previously used. Traditional seedlings usually take one to three years to grow and often suffer from damaged roots.
As a result of the success of the potted seedlings, the Ministry of Lands and Environmental Protection is now keen to extend their use countrywide.
As part of our forestry work, we have also supplied nurseries with tools, pots and fuel.
With supervision from the Academy of Agricultural Research, we undertook a series of crop trials. We wanted to find out what types of crops could flourish on the lower slopes of hills and mountains.
The crops included new varieties of rice, sweet potato, sorghum, soya bean, millet, hybrid maize and ground nuts.
The trials were successful. There were positive results: the hybrid maize produced twice the normal yield; the millet produced standard yields using only half the normal amount of fertiliser. These crops are now being incorporated into the annual co-operative crop plans.
The ability to grow these crops on lower slopes will alleviate the pressure to produce crops on the higher steeper slopes.
Another EU-funded project aims at improving food production for people living on sloping land.
As part of this project, we are introducing conservation agriculture, which will increase yields, reduce soil erosion and reduce labour requirements to produce food.
We are also improving crop storage to reduce the post-harvest losses, and conducting crop trials for improved varieties of maize, winter wheat, soya bean, upland rice and potatoes.