Dolpa Region
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Dolpa Region
Dolpa is one of the most remote and sparsely populated Districts in Nepal. The landscape is characterized by high steep valleys and relatively dry climate. No roads exist; access is by small plane or many days walking. Services for health care and education are very limited. Most people are without electricity, drinking water, full nutrition or basic medicines. Most families are subsistence farmers and traders, with people from northern
valleys migrating to lower areas for the winter, bartering salt for grain. Life there involves complex webs of social, economic and resource use patterns.

Until recently, the region has been isolated. The creation of Shey-Phoksumdo National Park in 1984, increased government presence from various agencies and the beginning of trekking tourism have all effectively brought the traditional and modern worlds together. Indigenous peoples struggle to participate in development and make a living while at the same time maintaining their ancient cultural heritage and environment. Community-managed projects, such as Tapriza School and Dunai DESERT (Dolpa Educational, Social, Environmental Reservation Team) organization have increased access to knowledge, resources and local control over development.

The word Dolpo refers to a specific area of Tibetan heritage located in the northern portion of Dolpa District, one of Nepal's seventy-five politically defined districts. Actually, Dolpa District, as a whole, is home to many diverse ethnic groups, including Hindu, Shaman, Buddhist and Bonpo. Because of the difficulty and expense of permits to Dolpo, next to the Tibetan border, Friends of Dolpa has focused on working in Lower Dolpa with the Bonpo in Phoksumdo Valley and mixed ethnic groups in Dunai.