Hubfor sustainable projects


The association always needs volunteers for its projects, and it is also open to internships!

We met Shilshila Acharya in the office of Himalayan Climate Initiative. Though office is not the right word, as it combine a vegetable garden, individual offices built out of former containers, and a group workspace. This space is unclassifiable. They grow their own vegetables : potatoes, onions, tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumber, … every part is cultivated, or contains flowers for bees. Toilets are for both genders, and built with reused materials, so as their new workspace. And on top of that, their green cafeteria, fed by the crops, is vegetarian.

After a quick tour of their beautiful workspace by Anju Khatakho, we are welcomed by Shilshila, CEO of the organization who presented the ambitious project carried by HCI.

From communication to action

Co-founded in 2011, Himalayan Climate Action carries sustainable projects in Nepal. Since 2014 they adopted a new strategy. They want to show how to make an impact to build their credibility before asking others to make a change. The government of Nepal doesn’t understand the problem but is willing to help if they are able to show that the environmental issues are a priority. At HCI, they believe that Nepal, as a country deeply affected by climate change, has the potential to inspire.

The founder of HCI directed WWF Nepal for ten years. After attending the Copenhagen COP, he realised that climate change wasn’t yet considered as a priority in Nepal. Thus, he first ran a campaign on the impact of climate change on the Himalayas. Communicationwise, it was a big success. Although, he felt like he failed in a way. Actually, he couldn’t respond when people were touched by his campaign and asked “how can we help you?”. In this context, he brought together 15 entrepreneurs who wanted to take action on the ground and created Himalayan Climate Action.

Their first action was the Great Himalayan Trail: The objective was to set the Himalayas as an example and  to make mainstream the idea of climate change by managing landscape protection. By walking for 99 days around the Himalayas, they showed the damages of mass tourism and the lack of basic facilities in the villages and schools. Nepal has recently suffered from different climatic desasters and NGOs are taking care of a lot of work: building new facilities, new roads, giving access to electricity. When in most countries, those projects are often carried by the government.

Creating a solution for every problem

Then, a lot of new projects, owned by HCI incubation hub were developed. There are more than 12 now, but they are currently focusing on 5 :

The green angels: providing green jobs to marginalized women, and help them be independent despite their less formal education.

Friends of the city: A project trying to implement recycling facilities and recycling methods in Nepal. They first tested a machine compressing bottles and are now mentoring 3 groups in Kathmandu on how to recycle PET bottles. They also offer a recycling method to institutions (hotels, restaurants,…) for them to achieve their CSR objectives.

Zero carbon Nepal: Help Nepal stay on a low carbon track and develop the economy by showcasing nepalese handmade products.

Climate adapt: Helping businesses be more successful while being environment-friendly. It also promotes smart agriculture.

The Gen Nep Impact : The objective is to teach young people that might not have heard of climate change and pollution through 2 to 3 days modules. They teach people how to convert big ideas to small everyday actions. They also have to make a pledge at the end of the module to encourage them to change their way of life.

From A to Z a rational model is the key

Their model is based on 3 cornerstones:

  • Education: The transmission of sustainable ways to the next generation is the starting point of the change they want to make in Nepal
  • Demonstration: At HCI, they believe than experience is fundamental to be able to teach others.
  • Advocacy: As an incubating hub, HCI helps entrepreneurs establish a business plan, provides free advice, houses some of them and pushes them towards a social enterprise model to maximize the positive impact of their company.

A long term endeavour

HCI, as a non for profit NGO, get funds from grants, private companies, service fees and also of the classes. Those funds help them pay their full-time staff of 28 people. Their main strenght is their team of more than 8000 volunteers.

At HCI, they believe that it is really important to act at a local scale. Big problems are a sum of little actions, so do big solutions. They want to build a network of organizations working for the environment and exchanging knowledge to push each other a little further.