Building Equity for All!

Ashmita Rai

Working in different remote outpost locations, my journey this time scheduled for the remotest of the remote part of Nepal for the need assessments of the locals.  Inhabited by the majority of indigenous Chepang tribe, the four villages (Chauding, Kanda, Sarling, Symrang) of Chitwan District I visited are the major ambitious project sites of ECCA.

As December was getting chiller every day & night, me along with my colleagues were emptying our rucksacks and adding up the layers of clothes on our body! Lying on mat with sleeping bag was not helping our tired cold body for a warm nap.

While we were adjusting with the bone-chilling winter, a seven months old baby covered with just a thin blanket seemed sleeping well next to us without proper bedding. Most of the locals, including children and old aged people, were still on their severely ripped summer wear, bare foot with winter cracks all over the body. And there was a person like me, regretting for not bringing gloves!

While sharing my scariest field work memory, I had previously shared my experience of barely escaping two major road accidents while making the journey to remote villages in Dolakha district. This time, I have a different experience!

While traveling from one village to another, the narrow foot paths we made through were extremely dangerous. I crawled my baby steps with weight and balance calculation, taking the help of tree branches and grasses. At one point of time, I could neither move forward nor turn back. A miss of balance and I could fall down the steep hill. But our team cooperation worked well and paid out with the locals sharing the difficulties faced in their livelihood, especially during sickness and accidental medical needs. Their indigenous knowledge about herbal medicine is the only way working out there!

Schools are running classes up to grade 3 and there is no option in the village to continue the classes forward from grade 3. Students are compelled to repeat grade 3 for 2-3 years continuously in thirst of education; after which, they quit school, do household work, get married, or leave village in search of work.

All the students from ECD to grade 3 assemble inside the same class room and learn the same subject matter. We can hardly see the students with their own book, copy, and pencil. There are so many students who even don’t know how to write their name despite of being in grade 3.

So many children face malnutrition. The flattened rice offered as day meal by the local government at school is the first meal of the day for majority of the students. Despite of all these things, it cracked out my heart when I saw them singing national anthem so proudly with their little hands on their chest.

Barely 1% of total households have toilets. Waking up in the dark for open defecation in nearby forest is the first ritual of every individual before starting the day. During our stay in one village, a young girl slipped on stool and hurt her cheek so badly. I wonder how hard it will be for the new moms, menstruating and pregnant women, and elderly people. Each household comprises of teenage mothers and foreign employee.

Neglecting the irony of these villages being constituted inside the municipality, each village is luminous in the dark (without electricity supply) with beautiful human hearts! No complains to any one, just give and take of happiness. I remember a quote by John Lennon, “When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘ HAPPY’.” Yeah, they seemed happy! But I also do remember another quote I heard, “those who have never embraced the feeling of being happy, they can never realize that they are living in sadness”.

But it’s really a time for defending dignity & challenging marginalization. A great initiative of ECCA ….. doing what’s crucial …. not just doing what is easy!


Dolakha, where my journey of miles started!

Ashmita Rai

18th April, 2016! The day I made my way towards Dolakha, the first work station of my professional life. For me, it was another trial moving from a dependent teenager towards an independent adult. Since my first visit, I became so conjoined with Dolakha that I have, right now, lost the counting on how many times I traveled back and forth. In short, Dolakha has been my home away from home!

Being the worst hit district in the 2015 earthquake, I, along with my colleagues, constantly worked in earthquake affected regions (Mirge, Gairimudi, Namdu, Jhule, Bhirkot). Carrying on the goal, ECCA started working in Japhe village (Ward no. 3, Tamakoshi Rural Municipality) since January 2019.

With 1450 households, the population is approximately 7,000 and majority of the population in the village depends on agriculture, livestock, labour work for their livelihood and most of the youth migrate to urban town or Arab countries for employment opportunities and higher studies. The number of marginalized and under-represented communities is also quite enormous.

Japhe has six government schools spread from the base of a mighty hill to its uppermost. One can reach to the base (Dunde Bazar) through 1.5 hours of vehicle ride from district headquarter Charikot and from there the bumpy road starts uphill! I recall two scariest memories of mine. Once our vehicle slid down at an inclined hill after brake failure, the driver somehow managed to make it stop before we fell down from the edge. In the second incident, despite of carefulness, the vehicle slid down the steep hill as the road was narrow & slippery. I immediately jumped out of the vehicle & the driver crawled out slowly from the opposite door. It was like a nightmare for me. The roads in Japhe can be beyond expectation based on the weather and never-ending road construction work. Apart from this challenge, the beautiful landscape and the hospitality of people here never ceased to amaze us.

To improve health and sanitation behavior of schools and communities, collaboration with child club, school stakeholders, women group, and other community people is going on in a very impressive way. Among the many ways that the village has changed over a year, the most important are the behavioral change regarding personal hygiene, menstrual hygiene management, child club empowerment and regularity of students in school. A concrete result of all the software & hardware programs will soon be imprinted! Way forward for the year 2020!

For now, I want to express my gratitude to Dolakha for being so resilient!


Experiences of Paul

From the Antenna Foundation as a Business Development, Paul Duperrex was in ECCA from July to October 2018. He was closing the Safe Water Program and helped to develop new projects between Antenna and ECCA.

“It was my first time in Nepal, and luckily for me, starting to work with ECCA was really easy and nice. All the colleagues from ECCA gives me a warm welcome and I was immediately integrated to the team.”

Paul was happy to discover the well organization in ECCA. “Everybody has a role to play and the people know what to do. Also I was surprised by the structure of the project in itself.”

The leitmotiv of ECCA is really relevant to understand how they work:

“If you are planning for a year, plant rice,

If you are planning for 10 years, plant tree,

If you are planning for 100 years, educate your children.”

In his first weeks in Nepal, Paul had the opportunity to travel with the ECCA’s team to the district of Dolakha. “It was a wonderful start to know the culture and be familiar with it. Also I had the opportunity to know better the team and it was helpful for my work afterwards.”

In this trip, Paul visited the schools in the area and interviewed the principals.

Afterwards, back in Kathmandu, Paul continued his visit in the schools in the district of Lalitpur in the south of the capital.

All these visits allowed him to complete reports for SDC and to report the progress done to Antenna.

Also, a need of garden has been identified in the schools. All the principals of the schools wanted to develop or create a garden in their School. Fortunately, Antenna had a new department in Agro-Ecology. Thus, ECCA and Antenna are working to create a project on garden in schools.

Other than this, Paul worked with ECCA to improve the communication through their website and provided ways to do fundraising.

Finally, ECCA and Paul worked on a way to present the impact of the school program based on the surveys done in the schools. In few words, ECCA will soon have a presentation available to everyone that shows the progress of the school program and the impact of the program on the behavior of the population.

Concerning the communication, Paul organized a photo shooting in some schools, during door-to-door program, and in the lab of ECCA.

The purpose was to provide good and quality pictures to ECCA and to Antenna for their communication. “Apart from the job, it was a nice activity to do. We always had a lot of fun with the students, and Manisha from ECCA is a nice girl, so I was very happy to do it !”.

The Nepal visit was a life changing experience for Paul. “It opens your eyes on the rest of the world. Also, Nepalese are extremely friendly and generous. Everybody tells me that once you have been in Nepal, you will come back. I think I will make no exception on this.

Therefore, I want to say to ECCA: See you soon!”

Paul in dolakhaPaul in labPaul interacting with nature club


GLOBE Learning Expedition to Lake City Pokhara, Nepal


GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Learning Expedition was conducted from October 2 to 8, 2018 at various places of Nepal. GLOBE Asia Pacific Regional Coordination Office and Indian Environmental Society conducted the program in association with ECCA, which has been working to implement GLOBE program in Nepal. Coordination was done by Mr. Yogendra Chitrakar, GLOBE Country Coordinator for Nepal cum  Executive Director of ECCA and Dr. Desh Bandhu, Coordinator of GLOBE Asia Pacific Regional Coordination Office and Indian Environmental Society.

The program started from virtual welcome speech of The GLOBE Implementation Office (GIO) Executive Director Dr. Tony Murphy. The main objective of the program was to create a platform for exchanging learning and experience related to the GLOBE program along with cultural exchange. The expedition welcomed 44 participants from 5 countries (7 from Oman, 15 from Taiwan, 8 from Thailand, 6 from Nepal and 8 from India). Students, Teachers, and GLOBE teachers received an opportunity to conduct GLOBE protocols together in Pokhara, the City of Lakes.

Major Activities of the expedition included hydrological protocol, Mosquito Habitat protocol , as well as soil study by participants at Phewa Lake and also the cloud cover observation in World Peace (White Gumba), and they also visited Davis falls. The team of ECCA and Indian Environment Society facilitated the protocols learning.

Prof. Dr. Hameed Sulaiman Lebbai, GLOBE Science Working Group member gave the presentation on why GLOBE program data is important and how the data can be utilized. He talked about the different protocols of GLOBE, its use, measurement, and importance in human life.

“I really liked the hospitality of Nepal along with sharing of our GLOBE related knowledge”, said  PINBANGON SUPANTAWEE, a student from Thailand.

“It`s my first time to participate in this GLOBE program. From here I learnt many more things about GLOBE Protocols and now I feel like I have many years experiences about how to observe globe protocols. So I am really thankful towards GLOBE and Nepal,” said MARIAM HANAN a student from Oman.

“When I do GLOBE protocols in Taiwan, I was quite confused but when I did same protocols in Nepal, I have more confidence. I really enjoyed the company of you all”said CHAN, YU-CHEN, a student from Taiwan.

“I really enjoyed the company of Nepal and other countries as well. I learnt different ways to observe different protocols of GLOBE program and I was also able to know the benefits of GLOBE protocols towards environment and our general life.  I learnt how to observe mosquito habitat mapper – it was new for us, but now I am clear about this protocol” said SURYATEJA VANAMA a student from India.

This expedition encouraged us to do GLOBE program regularly in our school. We get chance to learn many ideas from different countries and how they are working. We  will also teach this to our friends and juniors. We are really thankful to you all for giving us the chance to participate here,” said BIPLAB and PRASHANT, students from Nepal.

On October 7, 2018, the team visited ICIMOD Biodiversity Knowledge Park to gain an idea on  organic farming, standard Biodiversity of Nepal, different environmental technologies and use of scientific advancements for analyzing and conserving Hindu Kush Himalayan Region (HKH Region). Next visit was to Crescent Academy School, where the students welcomed the team by Nepali culture and interaction was held about the scenario of GLOBE program in the respective countries. Thereafter, the team visited Swayambhu stupa, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu.

The program was ended at Grand Hotel with the certificate distribution, personal experience sharing and  gift exchanging.

observing transparency at fewa lake-mmeasurement of hydrological protocal-mData Entry of Cloud Protocal-m

students are involving to observing the data entry in mosquito habitat-mIdentification of Larva-m

31st ECCA Day Celebration

Happy ECCA Day.

Today, July 21, 2018, ECCA celebrated the completion of 31 years.

Congratulations to All.IMG_20180721_161647IMG_20180721_164244IMG_20180721_142333IMG_20180721_154107IMG_20180721_15471637100488_1384482964987631_7256072244131004416_n37132278_1384483684987559_1607163301735694336_n

ECCA family is thankful towards Government of Nepal, local government bodies, communities, schools, all international and national agencies, resource persons, volunteers, counselors, staffs and all the well wishers for the support it has been receiving.

Congratulations to Mr. Sujan Rajbahak for becoming “Counselor of the Year 2018” and other nine “Top Counselor of the Year 2018”.


Stationery materials distribution

Stationery Kit distribution took place in June 2018 for 519 students of five schools of ward number 1 (Bhirkot village), Tamakoshi Rural Municipality, Dolakha. This area was badly damaged during the April 2015 Nepal earthquake.

The students were from ECD (Early Childhood Development) class to grade 12 of the following five schools:

  1. Narayani Secondary School
  2. Ganesh Basic School
  3. Bhimeshwor Basic School
  4. Indrawati Primary School
  5. Budhichandika Primary School

The stationery kit included school bag, copy, pen, dot pen, eraser, sharpener, geometric box (only for students from Grade 7 to 12) and calculator (only for students from Grade 9 to 12).

The supported stationery materials helped the students and their families, as their families are still struggling financially to rebuild their damaged houses. The provided materials were also a motivation factor for the parents to send their children to school. They were relieved and glad that they now do not require to spend their money to buy stationery materials for their children.

Use of Tulip Siphon filter: A step towards safe drinking water

IMG_1278IMG_20180504_080037Jajarkot, a hilly district located in Mid-western region in Province-6, is considered to be a remote district having very limited access to electricity, telephone and other basic facilities. The road facilities are only up to the district headquarter.

Due to lack of knowledge about domestic water purification techniques, various water borne diseases (like diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid) are widely seen in the village leading to death of people in the past. Only 50% people have access to piped water nearby their houses, and the villagers have been suffering every year due to the lack of safe drinking water and good sanitation practices.

ECCA provided Tulip syphon filter (manufactured by Basic Water Needs, Netherlands to the local residents. This water filter is fitted with Tulip ceramic candle, which is treated with nano-silver, contains activated carbon and has lifespan up to 7,000 liters. This candle purifies the water of bacteria, parasites and turbidity. This candle removes bacteria 99.995%, turbidity 99%, protozoa 99%. The use of such water filter will help to reduce the water borne diseases.

Shrijana Singh, one of the beneficiaries, shared “whenever we have an epidemic in village, government and social organization used to distribute chlorine tablets and liquid water purifier, but when such tablets are finished, we don’t have idea what to do. Now, with this Tulip syphon filter, we are able to have safe drinking water for many years”.


Installation of Wireless Community Based Early Warning System at Bhurung-Tatopani of Myagdi District

Flood Early Warning System

Flood Early Warning System

It’s a great pleasure of mine to share this news that SI/MSFP-LI-BIRD successfully installed Wireless Community Based Early Warning System at Bhurung-Tatopani of Myagdi District on 11th December 2014.

This technology has been installed for first time in Nepal through LI-BIRD in technical partnership with ECCA (Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness) and SEE (Sustainable Eco Engineering); the same technology which had recently received UNFCC’s Lighthouse Award 2014 for its work on Community Based Early Warning System in the Eastern Brahmhaputra River Basin, India.

Before installation of the system, 3 days technical training was given among the community people. During training, participants learned basic DRR terminologies, EWS components, equipment to be installed and EWS mechanism. Round table discussion, group work and video demonstration regarding communities managing early warning system in Eastern Nepal was also included in the theoretical session of the training. After theoretical session, practical session started where participants learned about equipment (transmitter unit and receiver unit), methodology to install,  assemble and disassemble system together with precaution measures in days to come.  Entire training was facilitated by ECCA, SEE and SI/LI-BIRD.

Handing Over Hardware of Flood Early Warning System to the community Representatives

Handing Over Hardware of Flood Early Warning System to the community Representatives

While nearing to the end of the session, communication channel was developed in active participation of community people. Once communication channel was developed, community people were mobilized to site for installation. Installation was followed by field monitoring. Chief District Officer (CDO) , Local Development Officer (LDO), District Forest Officer (DFO), Army Chief, National Level Journalist participated in site observation. On last moment of hand-over ceremony, this technology was handed over to head of Project Support Committee (PSC) by Chief District Officer Mr. Tek Bahadur KC. Furthermore, Mr. KC accepted the communication channel developed by community people during training session.

Working Mechanism of Wireless Early Warning System: This technology has two units i) Transmitter and ii) Receiver. Transmitter Unit consists of water level sensor, Radio Transmitter, Solar Panel and Antennae. Likewise, Receiver Unit is composed of Radio Receiver, Battery, Charge Controller, Siren, Solar Panel and Antennae. Transmitter unit is installed in river bank while receiver unit is installed in a house of the community with distance not more than 500 meter from transmitter installed along the river. The sensor of transmitter is used to produce alarm to community according to the flood level of river. Radio Receiver receives signal in the form of LED light and siren. Thus siren produces different tone in different water level.

First stage siren: interrupted siren ring as pre-early warning

Second stage siren: The time between pre-alarm and full-alarm. This stage can provide reaching time of flood. In other word, it can be called as evacuation time or lag time.

Third stage siren: Full siren with large volume. Once community receive this warning, they need to evacuate to safe shelter/evacuation center.

Testing Flood Early Warning System

Testing Flood Early Warning System

Conclusion: As this is low-cost and user friendly technology installed for the first time in Nepal, community people together government stakeholders including CDO, LDO, DFO, Nepal Army, Nepal Police have well appreciated the system. Furthermore, they have praised the work done by SI-LIBIRD in close coordination and collaboration with ECCA and SEE. However, the major challenge now is to sustain this system in long run. For this government has to own the system and community people have to bring local government into the realization incorporating it into the local development plan further incorporating it into district and national level plan; incorporation of EWS in local DRR planning process will result into the reduction of vulnerability and increased resilience of community. Moreover, the introduction of this Wireless Flood Early Warning System will provide good instance for climate change adaptation technology with further replication various vulnerable localities of our country especially in the flash flood affected areas and in the inner terai belt.

Surendra Gautam

Special Initiatives Coordinator (SIC)-MSFP LOT IV

ONE SCHOOL ONE HERITAGE – An Initiation towards Heritage Preservation

Picture 254272

In the present context of urbanization and globalization, we are bounded to embrace a bitter truth that our heritage is in deteriorating stage in an alarming rate. Among various reasons, foreign imported cultures are playing an influential role to create a gap in the thinking of the youths in regard the value of our culture and heritages. Hence, in order to sow the importance of heritage in the mind of youth and the community people, ECCA organized a training program on “One School One Heritage” in ECCA Hall on 3-4 November 2014.


Nineteen energetic youths from different educational background, who are also the TGG members had actively participated in the training program. Experts in the field of Heritage Conservation and Youth Facilitation like Mr. Anil Chitrakar and Mr. Niroj Maharjan were invited to facilitate and interact with the participants during this 2 day’s intensive program. History and stories about the heritage, knowledge and skills required for preserving culture and heritage sites along with many informative discussions energized the participants to work towards the preservation of our local heritage.


A field visit starting from Banglamukhi Temple in the second day provided a new perspective towards more practical learning and experience in the topics of heritage conservation and preservation. This field tour also helped the youths in developing their skills required to communicate with the local community as interaction with some of the community members were also organized during this trip.


After an annoying half day field visit in the heritage sites and discussion with the community members, the participants still saved their energy to involve themselves in a group discussion. Keeping the working methodology of ECCA in mind, the participants were divided into various groups and were actively engaged in the discussion and preparation of an action plan on Documentation & Promotion, Visibility, Student Mobilization and Conservation. The action plan prepared the trained youths will be utilized through initiating training and informing school students in order to promote One School One Heritage Program in the schools and the community. In turn, the students will now be working towards conserving and preserving the heritage sites near their school and disseminating the importance and their values.



Heritages are our identity since many years past. It has been passed on to us from our ancestors. Heritages built centuries earlier are under shade due to their negligence. Through this program we expect that these heritages which are neglected will soon get acknowledged, and the efforts made by youths, students and the community will valued in the long run.


Article Contributors: Mr. Angel Chitrakar, Mr. Dipesh Gurung

Passing On a Legacy Through Water Conservation Walk

Water woes is not a new topic to people who are used to seeing every running faucet followed by tens of empty pitcher. Nor can the uses of water be compromised or reduced. Yet, only few answers can be found for its effective management that will solve the problems. Luckily for us, we can learn something from the effective management of water that can be traced in the traditional stone water system of Kathmandu Valley.


During the Water Walk.

On 26th September 2014, Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) organized water conservation walk in order to aware school students about the water conservation and management in Patan. Out of around 40 students, I led half of them.

Cleaning the stone spout at Lagankhel.

Cleaning the stone spout at Lagankhel.

The program commenced on 9 am with brief introduction of the participants and my fellow guide for the day (Siddhi Bajracharya) and me. After the group division, I led the group to Maharani Fountain with my team of Heritage UNESCO Centre consisting of Binita Khadgi. We provided the participants with a worksheet, which was prepared on the basis of route map where the students were to fill answers. Tasks, observation, briefing about the place and games made up the worksheet, which we hoped would help keep the students on track. The briefing on traditional ponds and stone water spout, their types and their uses were explained to the participant by following the worksheet and sharing various stories and myths of Patan associated with water.


Result of the signup campaign.

After walking all morning under the sweltering sun, we hoped that the students had some idea about the traditional water management practices in Kathmandu valley and particularly in Patan. I highly recommend children and adults alike to be a part of such walks at least once. We usually take our precious cultural heritages for granted. Knowing about them up-close can inspire one to take care of it.

Text by Niroj Maharjan