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Work continues
in Jyamrung

Holtab's involvement in the little Nepalese village of Jyamrung continues, but at the same time the company is looking around for more collaborative ventures in the mountain kingdom. Quality Manager Samuel Svensson, in charge of CSR matters at Holtab, was recently on his first visit to Nepal.

“The objective of our involvement here in Jyamrung is project development and follow-up,” Samuel tells us.
 
The project began back in 2009 with the installation of solar panels at the higher end of the village where the Untouchables live. By 2011, the hydroelectric plant at the lower end of the village stood ready. Its 3 kW output supplies 150 households with enough electricity to use LED lighting.
 
“Maintenance is taken care of by three operators, who are also farmers who live in the village. They work two-week shifts and their assignment is to start up and stop the power plant. It gets dark around six o’clock in the evening and light at six in the morning practically all year around,” explains Samuel.
 

Time for maintenance

The operators are also tasked with making repairs to the grid, cleaning water filters and clearing away vegetation beneath the lines.
 
“They’ve performed their work well and the power plant has also functioned excellently. All we’ve needed to do since the start was to change one fuse.”
 
The monsoon in Jyamrung runs from April to September and rice is harvested during October and November. After that there’s time for the operators to get to grips with maintenance work such as straightening up leaning power poles.
 
“All that’s required is a block and tackle, a bolt cutter and an aluminium ladder, things they do not have in the village. It can take weeks for such things to come from India and during the monsoon period the roads are impassable in places,” Samuel explains further.

Mobile charging

LED lighting for 150 households

Durability essential

The next thing planned for Jyamrung is an outlet at the little hydropower plant for connecting necessary tools such as electric drills.


"Ahlsell has donated a soft starter to make sure the voltage doesn't get too high when starting single phase machines, which would blow a fuse. We will also add overvoltage protection along with the soft starter."
 

Another part of the involvement in Jyamrung involves Holtab employees' visiting the village twice a year - field trips that are open to those who show an interest in the project.

Holtab is now also looking for other places in Nepal where it can put its experience from Jyamrung to good use, even though future projects might not be as comprehensive. The company is looking to cooperate with small, knowledge-intensive companies in Nepal that are also focused on raising living standards in rural areas.

"To succeed it's absolutely essential to embed everything locally and to improve on ideas together with the villagers. The biggest, most important challenge with CSR work lies in thinking long-term and having staying power," concludes Samuel Svensson.

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