White Bear Lake resident Olivia Richter departed in April 2018 to serve as a volunteer in the Peace Corps Nepal Food Security Project. She is working with farmers, women and children to improve the livelihood and nutrition of a water-scarce rural community.
Having spent a year getting to know the language, culture, her residence village and its people, Richter is spending her second year of service attempting to alleviate the effects of a devastating dry season lasting from September to June each year.
During the dry season, fields run barren, the village composed primarily of farmers has little to no income, and a disproportionate number of women and girls spend hundreds of hours lugging jugs from the community water tap that runs drier as the season progresses. Women and girls' equality, economic income and nutrition all suffer as a result.
Along with community leader Bandana Sijapati, Richter has initiated a Peace Corps Partnership Project to implement rainwater harvest systems on the homesteads of the village Farmer's Group. In just three months of monsoon season, the torrential rains can provide enough potable water for a household of five to last the whole year. Successful implementation of the rainwater harvest project aims to create leadership opportunities for these village women, a more diverse and abundant crop for the farmers and contribute positively in the life paths of village children.
To read more about the project, contribute to and/or spread the word in support of this pursuit, visit www.peacecorps.gov/donate/projects/rainwater-harvest-lgl-19-367-005/.
The daughter of Ty and Heidi Richter, Olivia joined the Peace Corps after graduating in 2017 from Miami University of Ohio with a degree in biology and environmental science. Between graduation and her Peace Corps departure, she worked at the downtown Caribou Coffee. “This was where I got to know more White Bear folks, memorize their regular orders and connect with people that make our town so welcoming,” she said. The Richters moved to White Bear Lake six years ago. She is close to her fundraising goal and hopes exposure in the Press will be enough to put it over the top.