Shobha Poudel researches food security and agricultural production in Nepal. She is Managing Director of Science Hub Nepal, which aims to help answer the most pressing questions of agriculture, climate change, and livelihood, natural resources management and biodiversity and water and disaster risk management.
What excites you most about your research?
I have witnessed food insecurity, poverty and poor health of women and children in Nepal. I am motivated by the desire to improve food security and agricultural production for my country and enhance the resilience of the vulnerable people. The most exciting thing is I am working with the people who feed us. I get opportunity to know their real-life situation very closely. I am working for the improvement of livelihoods and food security of small-scale farmers. This way I will be giving the community something back for the many opportunities I have benefited from so far.
What challenges have you faced?
It is hard to be a woman in research in a developing country like Nepal. Sometimes people think a woman is just a housewife, rearing children and taking care of the family. It is a challenging job to be involved in research in Nepal.
As a researcher, I have to face several challenges; some difficult to time manage and arrange people. The research is done by an individual, but needs the approval of several others in the institution and field level who do not understand what research means. In addition, library management and functioning is not satisfactory in the university. A lot of time and energy is spent on tracing appropriate books, journals, reports etc. Additionally, there is a constant pressure for funding money.
What would you say to women and girls who might be interested in going into your area of research?
Research cannot generate revenue. If you focus on research that can also make you an entrepreneur you can lessen the pressure of finding the funding for the work you want to do.