Sonam Lama is a trained architect born in Tsum, a remote Himalayan region in Gorkha district, Nepal bordering Tibet Autonomous Region of China and spent hours walking to school everyday to attain his basic education. He received a meritorious scholarship to study Diploma and Bachelors of Architecture in Kathmandu and Masters in International Cooperation and Urban Development, Sustainable Emergency Architecture in Germany and Spain under the prestigious Erasmus Mundus Scholarship. Sonam has worked at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and developed a chapter on The Great Himalayan Trail Preparatory Study. He also worked with the United Nations Human Settlement Program in Mongolia, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) office in Kathmandu. He is an adviser of Tsum Welfare Committee, a non-profit organization working in Tsum. He promoted and helped develop sustainable tourism in Tsum through homestay initiatives. He is the owner of Tsum Valley HomeStay. One of Sonam’s major contributions during the 2015 Earthquake and recovery was in rebuilding through use of vernacular architecture and local building materials to make earthquake resilient structures and promote sustainable architecture.
Sonam has led teams that advocate cultural preservation of Himalayan communities and worked to produce several documentaries like Mani; The Hidden Valley of Happiness at a Crossroads; A Journey Home During Earthquake; Rebuilding Tsum Nubri and Post-earthquake Rebuilding in the Himalayas, all of which have been well received at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival, the Domjale International Mountain Film Festival Slovenia and colleges and universities in Nepal and the United States of America.
As a Humphrey Fellow, Sonam wants to learn about community involvement in town planning to impact regional planning and policies and he wants to study geographical modelling, use of Geographic Information System (GIS) and-use planning and to develop knowledge about how architects and planner can be good managers and team builders.
Manoj Kaple is currently working with the state-owned Agricultural Development Bank of Nepal, in the capacity of Senior Credit Officer, where his primary responsibility is, but not limited to, designing agricultural credit/loan policies and norms. Manoj Kaphle holds a Masters of Agriculture Science in Horticulture and has devoted himself in supporting the poor and marginalized people of Nepal with his expertise in agricultural enterprise, food security and livelihoods for the past nine years.
Manoj has been applying innovative ideas like Farmer Business School to develop markets for the poor farmers, from the field of research and development.
Prior to joining the current position, he had a successful career at the United Mission to Nepal (UMN) – an international non-governmental organization, from 2011 to 2015 as a Livelihoods Advisor. His genuine efforts and accomplishments at the UMN were acknowledged through the Innovation and Creation Award in 2014.
As Humphrey Fellow, he looks forward to learning practical models of small agricultural businesses and agricultural enterprise financing systems in the United States, which would equip him to address the need for the growth of a robust agricultural market system in Nepal.
Mr. Resham Kandel is currently working in the capacity of Under Secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration and has been leading the Development Cooperation Coordination Section. Mr. Kandel has been serving the Government of Nepal for more than 14 years. His previous engagements mainly remained as National Program Manager (Local Governance and Community Development Program-LGCDP), Local Development Officer, and Director in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment.
Mr. Resham Kandel holds a Master’s Degree in Population Studies from Tribhuvan University of Nepal. He was awarded the MEXT scholarship of the Government of Japan to pursue Master’s Degree in Public Policy from GRIPS, Japan in 2015.
As Humphrey fellow in the United States, Mr. Kandel is keen to expand his knowledge in public policy and governance. His focused areas of study include development planning, project management, inclusive and sustainable development.