Dhawa.net is Nepal's first community-owned rural Internet Service Provider. We aim to provide reliable, high-speed wireless broadband to around 5000 rural villagers in Dhawa VDC, Gorkha, Nepal, including 14 schools and two health posts. Alongside all the benefits of connectivity , we hope to become a model for further community-owned ISPs.
Where over 80% of the US, UK and Europe has internet connectivity, just 10% of Nepal's population have been online within the last 12 months. 90% of the people in Nepal cannot Google their homework, look up health advice, buy goods and services outside their own community, or communicate to their relatives working away from home.
Dhawa.net is an initiative to change that for a large remote rural community in the Budi Gandaki hilly region, in the lower Himalaya, on the edge of the Manaslu national park. It's already delivering connectivity to 6 schools, providing video telemedicine to the health centres (with doctors on call 24/7 365 in Kathmandu, and providing open access for the local population - almost all of whom had never even seen a computer just 2 years ago.
High speed internet is a paradigm shift here. It removes a vital barrier to development, providing access to the world's books, a global knowledge network, and new ideas. But it also acts as a conduit to export local experience and innovation.
As Nepal's ministries have come online in the last year, so civic and municipal activities can now be done here without travelling 12 hours to the capital, or 5 hours to Gorkha. And families who's husbands and sons, brothers and fathers are away for sometimes years at a time, as migrant workers in India, or the Middle East (which can account up to 60% of the young men in Dhawa at any one time) are now communicating for the first time.
Using a wireless mesh network and bespoke local portal, Dhawa.net aims to become a self-sustaining, adaptable and reliable gateway for the local population, to the internet and the world at large, as well as a model for the future in Nepal.
What We've AchieveD SO FAR
- Brought the first electricity to the Dhawa through a 3.6kW landmark solar installation supported by the Environ foundation.
- Brought the first computers to Dhawa - a village of nearly 5000 residents.
- Set up a long range wireless internet connection, over the Lower Himalayas, to Dhawa VDC.
- Established telemedicine, across the entire VDC, extending free GP coverage, wirelessly, in support of local health workers.
- Distributed internet connectivity to 6 of the 7 schools in Dhawa VDC in phase one; a model of co-operation between education providers in the community.
- Brought WiFi coverage to over 1500 people, centred on the key educational centres.
- Created a model for solar powered network access points for remote areas.
- Trained key personnel to manage and maintain the system, and begin to expand it unilaterally.