4th National Child Club Conference | Future Now for Sustainable Education and Environment| ECCA blogs

Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA Nepal) organized 4th National Child Club Conference with the theme ‘Future Now for Sustainable Education and Environment’ at Agricultural Development Bank, Training Center, Bode, Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur from June 5 – 7, 2017. The conference, welcomed 103 child club representatives from 6 provinces of Nepal as well as teachers, government officials and observers from different NGO/INGOs.

Inauguration of the conference took place on the occasion of World Environment Day. The conference was inaugurated by chief guest Dr. Prabhu Budhathoki, member of National Planning Commission along with Prachet Kumar Shrestha, Chairman of ECCA. The opening was also attended by guests Mr. Hari Lamsal, joint secretary of Ministry of Education, Ukesh Raj Bhuju, honorary member of ECCA and Anil Chitrakar, founder member of ECCA.

The 3 days event included different activities such as thematic sessions on Climate Change and GLOBE Program, Child Friendly Local Governance, School Environment Improvement through the active participation of school stakeholders, Child Rights and Life Skills.

Conference activities also included documentary shows, cultural program, environmental games, yoga, meditation etc. Last day of conference had prize distribution program for winners of the three competitions as well as KMP. All the competition were organized on the theme of World EnviRonment Day 2017 ‘Connecting with nature’. Roshna Nepal, Subash Shrestha, Ashish Giri, Prajwal Pandey, Pushpa Khadka and Pratiskshya Wagle won the speech competition. Suman Nagarkoti, Alisha Sonaha and Alson Shrestha were the best 3 in poster competition. Wall magazine had 3 groups out of 7 as winner groups.

A participant illustrates his vision of 'Connecting with nature' during poster competition

A participant illustrates his vision of ‘Connecting with nature’ during poster competition

“The way thematic sessions sensitized our roles, rights as well as relevant environmental issues, we feel more capable.. and empowered.” – Sonia, participant

The conference put positive hopes in children as well as teachers.

“It was an opportunity to learn, to realize the potential of our children and motivate them to perform better.”- Rudra Sangroula, teacher

Students from Jhapa present 'Sakela' dance during closing ceremony

Students from Jhapa present ‘Sakela’ dance during closing ceremony

Likewise, 7 child clubs with best proposals were awarded Rs. 25,000 in Knowledge Market Place. Nepal Rastryia Basic School and Bhagwati Basic School from Jajarkot, Kitini Secondary School from Lalitpur, Shree Bidhyadiswori Secondary School from Southern Lalitpur, Shree Dhulabari Secondary School from Jhapa, Amar Higher Secondary School, Dolakha and Laxmi Secondary School, Kanchanpur were awarded the prize.

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Knowledge Market Place Evaluation

With ECCA were other sponsors action medeor, Wilkins Memorial Trust, Taksvarkki ry, WWF Nepal, Antenna Technologies, and Sharada Library and Merina Ranjit, ECCA’s executive member who supported the award for deserving child clubs.

Group photo after closing ceremony

Bringing students a step closer to practical science: Training on Climate Learning and Weather Stations Installation

Science has long been a subject included only within theoretical arena of schools. Teaching and involving students in practicals is often a feeble exercise consequently making science ‘a harder subject’ for students. With an aim to enhance practical involvement of students in science, ECCA conducted 2 days training on ‘Climate Learning’ from May 17 – 18, 2017. The training, which introduced  the GLOBE program, had both students and teachers participating from 4 project schools of Jhapa namely Kavi Siromani Secondary School, Sisu Shakhar Lower Secondary School, Dhulabari Secondary School and Mechi Model Academy. Total of 27 participants were present.

The sessions brought illuminating discussions on climate change and meteorological issues. Participants were even more intrigued by field practicals on atmospheric and hydrology investigation.

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Facilitator Dipesh Gurung providing instructions before measuring water parameters

Now, the students are determined to share their knowledge in a larger circle.

“We have never before practically seen and performed experiments like these in our school.” one of the participants shares.

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Students taking water sample at Temai BarahFedi river

“This training has been a huge opportunity for us and we feel encouraged to share what we have learnt with fellow students”, shared a teacher. The 2 days training also acted as a knowledge forum for students and participants.

 

Likewise, weather stations have been established at all four schools where students will be regularly taking data.

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Learning Opportunity | Peer Exchange Visit

Global Giving UK and Big Lottery Fund in co-ordination with ECCA organized Peer Exchange Visit with other partner organizations of Nepal. The program was hosted by ECCA on 27th April, 2017, Thursday at organization premises. Altogether 11 participants from organizations including ECCA participated in the program.

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Regarding the program, Tara Prasad Adhikari, Program Director of Volunteers Community Nepal said, “This peer learning exchange visit has played an effective role in supporting, developing and empowering each other organization to do the programs in a new way.”

In addition, participants also visited Pushpanjali Secondary School, one of ECCA’s project schools of Lalitpur.

“I am very impressed to see the students of Pushpanjali Secondary School working together in nature club and organizing different activities. They are also involved in safe water programs and community involvement programs which have helped to see the impact”, shared Dil Maya Lama, Project Implementation Manager of Global Action Nepal

“This has helped moreover in future improvement and implementation of programs in our organization”, said Keshav Raj Paudyal, Community Frontline Associate of Accountability Lab.

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The program was indeed an opportunity for all organizations to share experiences, common challenges and learn from each other.

– Shailena Sthapit
Program Officer, ECCA

 

Nature club organizes Interschool Wall Magazine Competition

Publishing wall magazines is one of the major activities of nature clubs. To make it more interesting, St. Paul Eco Club of Thecho, Lalitpur organized ‘On the spot Interschool Wall Magazine Competition with the support of ECCA on March 5, 2015. A number of schools from Lalitpur were invited to take part.

The competition bore the topic- “Role of Students in developing Safe Drinking Water Habit”. Students of 11 schools showcased their talent bringing out a tough competition. Zing Secondary School of Khokana was finally declared the winner of the competition with a distinct creativity and content deliverance.

“The whole thing was over-whelming!”, exclaimed one of the participants. “It had been a long time since I had participated in any competition and had this much thrill.”

The competition not only helped the students to explore their potentiality but also provided a platform to learn from eachother. Infact, ECCA will continue to support these kinds of programs in days to come.

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“We feel safer now!”; Building safe classrooms for children in Dhading

Susma, aged 7, remembers studying in cold floors and dusty environment. For more than 1 year after the earthquake, she, with her friends, attended classes in poorly managed temporary classrooms made of CGI sheets. Every day at school was a battle against scorching heat of summer followed by harsh winter. Sometimes she didn’t feel like going to school at all.

While learning was getting difficult during such young age, construction of concrete classroom buildings has brought a different pace in Susma’s life. Along with introduction of Multi Grade/Multi Level methodology in her school, all students from Nursery to class 4 are now offered a better learning place.

“With open doors and noisy environment, we used to have great difficulty in conducting classes”, shares Susma’s teacher. “Uncarpeted classrooms with mud floors degraded the hygiene and health of students.”

Multi Grade/Multi Level teaching methodology and use of better facilitated buildings (since 1 month) both have brought effective learning among students, teachers report. Students now are slowly adopting creative learning techniques and are marching ahead of horrors of 2015 earthquake.

“It is safer now.” says Susma. “It is fun to come to school.”

Like Susma, over 300 students of Kundala Higher Secondary School, Bhogteni, Katunje – 15 share her story. The village is in one of the remote areas, lying 28km from Dhading besi (the nearest town) and students have to walk upto 1 hour daily to reach school. Construction of 2 blocks (having 2 classrooms each) by ECCA (Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness) with the financial support of German Nepalese Help Association has indeed brought encouragement among school students to attend school.

2“We feel everything is better now!”

IMG_6349.jpgStudents attending MGML class

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Building Ownership value through Painting!

One of the cold mornings of January when we would often be sleeping in our warm cozy bed, we packed our bags and headed to Jhule. The colder climate that was about to welcome us had us little anxious but then, we were more excited about the new work we were about to do.

After the devastating earthquake of 2015, four affected community schools of Jhule are being supported to rebuild school toilets (including girl friendly toilets) as well as drinking water and hand washing stations. With hastened and immediate use, these infrastructures could lack proper, safe and sustainable use.  To bring about conciousness and behaviourial attitude regarding sustainable use of supported WASH facilities, we volunteered to organize ‘WASH Corner and Toilet Painting’ program.

Our two teams of counselors scanned two separate schools and started off the painting. Soon, we were surrounded by school students.

“Would you help us?”, we first asked students hovering around us.  With gentle nods, interested kids lined up to receive brushes, paints and instructions. The idea was to guide and let them paint.

After allocating painting tasks, our work sped up. Gradually as the day went by, we painted meaningful messages that helped us deliver sustainable use practices along with a number of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) related alerts. As much as we were excited to continue our painting even in the evening, the cold wind held a difficulty and we completed our paintings in our first school on the third day.

For rest of the three days, we collaborated our teams mobilized in remaining schools. In all the schools, students were excited and we offered them painting tasks and advices for sustainable use simultaneously.  The result was truly satisfying!

“We don’t think any student would want to make these walls dirty”, said a participating student with a laugh.

“Besides decoration, these paintings have given a value. Thank you so much”, teachers shared.

We are glad our hard work was able to influence schools for better use of constructed facilities.

  • Upama Tamla (Rai)

Shaping budding hopes of the future: ECCA Camp in Rupandehi and Kapilvastu

Every positive change starts from meaningful approaches to people with capacity to create the change.

Relating to Solar Powered Irrigation Program, ECCA camp was held each in Lumbini, Rupandehi and Patariya, Kapilvastu from November 22 to December 1, 2016.  From climate change issues to WASH (Water, sanitation and hygiene), the camp was conducted with a motive of empowering students in knowledge related to environment, health and school club management.

Altogether 41 students from 5 community schools participated in 10 days long camps.  Almost all the participants agreed how people involved in agriculture have been using irrigation technologies based on non-renewable energy sources such as petrol or diesel. “Through this program I have now learnt how beneficial renewable technology such as solar is economically as well as health wise. We are now ready to bring about a change (starting from our own home and community) that will also bear a positive impact on environment ”, responded Riyaj, one of the participants and school club member studying in grade 10.

“Being involved in school club myself, I found sessions on nature club management very fruitful”, said another participant. In fact, the camp helped all participants realize their role in developing their community through agents primarily school clubs. ECCA expects to make the program sustainable and impactful.

-Upama Tamla (Rai)

Wall magazine training and material support for nature clubs in Dolakha

On early morning of November 4, we set out to Jhule, Dolakha for 3 days Wall Magazine Training for nature clubs. Our objective was to make them capable of raising issues of their community especially WASH(Water, sanitation and hygiene) through simple yet effective approach of Wall Magazine publication. But our journey did not turn out to be easy and after being stuck at Bojh (50 km away from Jhule) for 7 hours, we had feeble hope of getting the training under scheduled hours. When we finally reached Jhule the next morning, we had gathered our enthusiasm and started the training.

Over the next three days, we made 27 nature club members and 4 club teachers familiar with components of wall magazine. It included news writing, magazine layout, editorial writing as well as other indispensable contents. Use of cartoons and drawings to symbolize issues related to water, sanitation and hygiene especially handwashing, drinking water precautions were also emphasized. To engage the students more, we organized competitions on three sections: article writing, drawing and wall magazine on the final day. Individuals and groups from both primary and secondary schools who showed comparatively exceptional performance were awarded.

The training, in fact, brought out the creativity of students and prompted them to be involved in awareness raising activities. It also gave us a chance to interact with club members regarding their activities plan. Wall magazine boards and few stationary materials have been provided to all of the nature clubs. Club members have committed to regularly publish the wall magazine and agreed to making it an informational and creative platform for fellow students.

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  • Upama Tamla (Rai)

Solar Water Pumping Program in Rupandehi and Kapilvastu

Impacts of climate change were once a subject of prediction, now its horrors are taking over ecosystems, communities and economics. Current rainfall pattern has in fact created problems for the huge population that depends on agriculture in Nepal. In some places, heavy erratic rainfall has brought natural catastrophes resulting in disastrous flooding of agricultural fields whereas some places in Terai like Kapilvastu and Rupendehi are witnessing almost shifting rainfall that dry rice fields and crops.

With intervention of alternative technology, ECCA has introduced Solar Water Pumping Program for Irrigation in the two VDCs each in Rupandehi and Kapilvastu. The total number of direct and indirect beneficiaries is expected to be around 1465 households.

“Farmers with low land are unable to use the diesel power pump because of high cost, which force them to leave their land barren”, revealed one of the key persons.

“They would do labour work rather than agriculture as they are unsure about the income from crop production basically because of drought adaptation and irrigation issues.”

This project will make use of ground water for irrigation. It will also value add for women groups to improve livelihood and living standard with regular income from cash crops and get access to better nutrition for family health.

My Internship Experience in ECCA: Ashmita Rai

My time in ECCA was amazing, that I can honestly say was the best thing I have ever done and one I look to do again in my upcoming days. I’ve had amazing support from my supervisors and cannot imagine any other way that I could’ve learned so much in such little time. I feel that my internship has provided me with quality training and supervision in safe and supportive environment and within a week, I felt confident and settled in my surroundings.

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Demonstrating paper recycling technique

I spent my time working with the incredible team in different programs and campaign of ECCA which were conducted inside and outside the organization. I think the ‘community outreach’ segment of internship period is what touched me the most, as I wanted to take on in order to explore this career path, and my internship experience has been integral in pushing me beyond the safe bounds of the classroom environment to learn the ‘how’ of putting theory into practice.

I spent time on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) education in various schools of Lalitpur, Kavre and Dolakha District and it was really fantastic. I also got the opportunity to participate in trainings provided by ECCA and conduct sessions focusing on School Environment, Nature Club, and activities like wall comic, paper recycling and life skill activities at various schools outside and within the valley. There used to be a good balance between serious work and fun with those children. Those memories of community outreach programs are permanently imprinted in my heart. I have had the opportunity to grow, both as an individual, and as a social worker. The work and time there, was enriching, and it feels good to have contributed a bit to the conservation of environment. This is really inspiring for anyone wanting to work for community development.

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Conducting LifeSkill activity during ECCA camp in Dolakha

The encouragement and motivation of dedicated and hardworking seniors of ECCA will always drive me to the path of life where positivity stays forever. I recommend for any intern looking to help people and gain an amazing and unforgettable experience. I want to thank ECCA for this wonderful opportunity; it was all that I hoped for and more.

  • Ashmita Rai (Ms. Rai is currently involved at ECCA as an ECCA counselor and also is one of the recipients of Top Ten Counselors Award 2016)