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

Herbal Garden Education for Students In Nepal

Today’s young generation is indulged in the glory of magnifying technological advancement, a breach between human kind and nature. When minds are constantly diverted to alluring factors of modernization, engaging this generation of youths towards conservation activities such as preserving indigenous plants and creating a greener environment isn’t an easy task. But it isn’t impossible either. With sheer motive of luring young students towards undertaking herbal knowledge, the concept of training enthusiastic members of pre-established nature clubs was a leap towards herbal conservation in Nepal. Now, ECCA has managed to provide trainings and engage students in establishing eco-friendly herbal gardens in above 40 schools all over the country.

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An ECCA volunteer helps a student to plant a sapling

Herbs like Sarpagandha (Rauvolfia spilanthus), Aloe Vera, Satavari (Asparagus Racemosus), Kapoor herb (Cinnamomim Camphora) etc  are being grown and preserved by the students. But the species obviously differs according to the physical and climatic factors influencing the environment as well as chemical composition of the soil. By establishing herbal gardens, students say that they have felt closer to the nature. They have learnt the essence of medicinal value of herbs and what it takes to nourish them into healthy plants. It is also a matter detailed planning, tasks allocation and teamwork along with being a source of inspiration to fellow students.

But it is not only students who get benefitted. Everything feels productive when most of the teachers respond as “Seeing our students work together and create a healthier school environment for all inspires us as well. Even we get to learn as much as them and it encourages us to create herbal garden in our homes as well.”

However, the April earthquake caused huge devastation destroying number of herbal gardens along with the school buildings. Nature club members are in the phase of renovating herbal gardens once again. To inspire that generation of youths even more, ECCA is planning to award those with best herbal garden in upcoming days. We are grateful to all who have been supporting us in this regard and for those who want to help will be welcomed as ever.  For regular updates regarding our programs and activities, please visit our website, Facebook,  Twitter and YouTube Channel.

Witnessing wonders of solar


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“I weave baskets for livelihood. Solar lights have been helping me to make baskets at nights since four months. This is a huge accomplishment for me and my family.”
Man Bahadur Ghunga, Chaughare

On July 27, 2015 solar lighting systems were distributed in Chaughare VDC of lalitpur district. ECCA, along with two supporting partners Wind Power Nepal Pvt. Ltd. and The Mayor Hotel, had distributed the solar packages where each one comprised of two solar bulbs, one solar panel and a radio system. They were distributed to 16 highly needy households especially with old and disabled people where they give maximum benefit.

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After 4 months on 25th October,2015 we visited five houses in Chaughare and two in Dalchowki to see if the light is really helpful to the beneficiaries or not. One of the houses we visited was of 69 years old Man Bahadur Ghunga in Chaughare. With three children and seven members in his family, weaving baskets is his only occupation to support his family. His house was severely damaged by the April earthquake. Since then he along with his family have been living in temporary shelter made of zinc sheet. Initially there was no electricity and they had to struggle at all times. The solar lighting system distributed by ECCA was a solution for their problems. When asked about how much relief it has provided to them, Ghunga happily answered saying how much of a help it has been for them. He said,”The solar lights help us when there is load shedding. The bulbs give very good light and they are durable. We don’t have the better option than this. It has been one of the essential things to use in our daily life. The best thing is don’t have to wait for the electricity to charge it.” He sincerely thanked ECCA and all the organisations that provided his family such reliable technology.

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Manisha Magar, a recipient of solar lighting system in Dalchowki.

Not only him but every household we visited was very grateful towards us. Regardless of whether they use it in the stable, for housework or for weaving baskets, the solar lights have proved to be a boon for all. Most important thing is that children use it for studying. “I wish for the prosperity of ECCA and I hope it supports us with our needs in the future as well” said Ghunga while giving us farewell. His words made us feel that it was definitely worth to help needy people as him with solar lights during critical time of their lives.

-Denis Janker, Mukesh Karn, Upama Tamla

 © copyright of photos to Denis Janker

Happiness! Impressions from a WASH & Life Skill Camp in Sindhupalchowk

The following experiences are based on experiences gained by Ashish Shrestha, an ECCA volunteer during WASH Camp and Life Skill Camp in Siddhi Kamala Lower Secondary School, Sindhupalchwok from 3rd to 6th August 2015:

The powerful and devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015 snatched away all the happiness of the people living in Sindhupalchwok district. Thousands died and countless houses collapsed. Thus, ECCA took immediate action on improving school environment The Conservation Awareness and WASH Camp through Life Skill Activities in early August 2015 was an attempt to put smile on those faces whose eyes were filled with tears. Despite focusing on conducting recreational and refreshment activities to bring psychological happiness among the children, the camp also emphasized on providing knowledge on environment conservation.

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This attempt made by the team of ECCA provided a common platform to share the tragic pain caused by the earthquake and its aftershocks. Such sense of empathy of their sorrow certainly lit the candle of happiness among students. A positivity to start a new life with a bright hope is possible as the heat of enthusiasm is generated in oneself. Simple actions like playing games, dancing freely, sharing experiences together, drawing, creating story and presenting it brought hope in students and broadened their level of horizon.

Even in places destroyed by landslide, a tree can grow again with time. There is hope for betterment to come. In the same way there is hope of reconstruction of destroyed houses, schools and proper school environment in well manner. Children can be taught that they have life even after the trauma. After all, happiness starts from nothing but imagination of positive things.

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381 water filters for Kaleshwor!

Kaleshwor VDC in Southern Lalitpur is heavily affected by the earthquakes of April and May as well as by the subsequent after-shocks. Houses are destroyed and people still live outside in tents and temporary shelters without any proper water purification techniques. Many inhabitants of the area are suffering from problems related to poor water quality. There’s a lack of filtration systems, desinfection and proper maintenance of existing water purification facilities.

awaring student on use of WATASOL

Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA), along with various national and international organizations, started relief work for the earthquake survivors. Supported by Grand Circle Foundation, 381 set of water filter (purify the water from bacteria, parasites and turbidity, remove bacteria 99.995%, turbidity 99% protozoa 99%) were distributed to the students and villagers of Shree Bagh Bhairab Higher Secondary School-7, Kaleshwor on 28th August 2015. The distributed filter systems can clean up to 10 lt at once. This means children and villagers don’t have to fear different water borne disease every day anymore.

students with water filters

Filter distribution done by ECCA brought smiles on children and villagers’ faces. “Many of us had never used filter before. We were unaware about the problem of unsafe drinking water in our community. Thank you ECCA and team for providing us with filters”, said Subash, president of Bhag Bhairab Nature Club of Shree Bhag Bhairab School. Subash is now actively involved in the local Nature Club for improving the school environment regarding better water, sanitation and hygiene. He also asked ECCA to provide Chlorination training. “I feel safe with ECCA”, added Subash.

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Written by Rabindra & Sadiksha

Initiating – KEDRIN

The Terrible Earthquake on the 25th April and the aftershocks that followed claimed over 8,000 souls and devastated the lives of many others in Nepal. Khokana, the town situated at six kilometers South of Kathmandu, turned into rubble and claimed 9 souls and its rich heritage: 812 houses have been completely destroyed and 355 houses are damaged rendering them unfit for human habitation. It was fortunate indeed many people were on their farms when the earthquake hit, resulting in lower fatalities than might have otherwise been expected.

An old women in her destructed house.

An old women in her destructed house.

People have been moved into temporary shelters, living behind their ruined and unsafe houses which are being used to store food and animals. The onset of the monsoon had made living and storing resources even more difficult. The “dunes” of collapse houses have also blocked thoroughfares, making the movement of people through the town and to other villages extremely hazardous and have forced people to live in and around dangerous areas at high risk to their health and lives.

Inspecting the damage of house.

Inspecting the damage of house.

Hence, with an objective to demolish buildings damaged by the earthquake and remove associated rubble and debris to allow regeneration of the community to begin, this project KEDRIN – Khokana Earthquake Debris Removal Initiative has been initiated. This will address the immediate need to demolish unsafe buildings and manage the debris generated in a proper manner. The majority of the damaged houses belong to members of the subsistence farming community who do not have the money to tackle the problem on an individual basis, however, if approached collectively, there would be economies of scale and it would be possible to clear the buildings and debris with fewer resources.

Managing temporary shelter.

Managing temporary shelter.

New plans for rebuilding and community regeneration will only be possible when collapsed structures and debris have been cleared and ample open space has been created. Once this has been achieved, the town can be redesigned and rebuilt, its community heritage and values reestablished, and the community’s way of life restored.

In order to receive financial support (donations) towards the implementation of this project, a donation page is also created in the platform of Global Giving which could be accessed through the links of Global Giving US, and Global Giving UK.

Updates related with the ongoing activities through social media could be received in our Facebook Link dedicated to this project, where as we will also be constantly updating our supporters and donors through our Blog Posts.

A short presentation regarding the project initiation is presented through a short video through this link in our Youtube Channel.

Monsoon & Shelter / TENTS & FILTERS

40 Km away from Kathmandu in eastern side and 13 km away from the district headquarter of Kavre district, people were forced to stay in houses with cracks and along side of debris of their house. Phapar chaur of Kushadevi VDC with approx 60 household were still staying out of their home and were facing different problems due to the earthquake. We managed adequate numbers of tents and filters to distribute in the community on 15th & 16th July 2015.

Setting up tent in school.

Setting up tent in school.

We have tried to compile what we accomplish in a short video presentation. Please enjoy.

If the link doesn’t function properly please follow this link to view the video.

We would like to extend our gratitude towards American Conservation Experience (ACE) for supporting tents to ECCA, enabling us to distribute to the needy families survived after earthquake. A glimpses of other Tent distribution and setup could be viewed in our Tent Distribution Facebook Album (which is continuously updated through adding more pictures). Similarly, Grand Circle Foundation for supporting us for distribution of water filters to the needy communities.

Ensured safe water for the new generation.

Ensured safe water for the new generation.

Thanks to all our counselors and volunteers for their untiring effort towards identifying the families in need through visiting rural areas and helping them to install the tents and filters in their houses.

A Day at Chaughare “Distributing Solar Lighting Systems”

Beautiful place in a nice sunny day.

Beautiful place in a nice sunny day.

27th July 2015, was a clear and sunny day when our team left ECCA-office for an approx two-hours-ride to a small village located in Chaughare VDC, Lalitpur. In the fond of our car, there were Solar Lighting Systems to be distributed to EQ affected families in need. Additionally, we carried various piles of note books for the students in severely damaged school in the same area. I feel it was a short trip, but the activities with a long-term impact.

Gathering of community members to receive solar light.

Gathering of community members gathered to receive solar light.

Some families were already waiting for us when we arrive at the partly destroyed school yard (Shree Gyanodaya Lower Secondary School, Chaughare) to distribute the Solar Lighting System. The system distributed consisted of 2 bright bulbs along with the mobile charging facility and radio inbuild in the system. This reliable and environmentally friendly source of electricity for their homes. will keep the family members safe during the dark hours of night time and support the family members connected with communications and information.

As we had limited system to support the community members, Mr. Tej Lama (Chairman of School Management Committee) supported us through identifying the highly needy family members in the community. Families with old aged members, disabled members, nursing mothers, and school going children were highly prioritized in the distribution.

99 Yrs oldest lady in the community.

99 Yrs oldest lady in the community.

Amongst them, there’s a 99-year-old lady with her great-granddaughter. She still remembers her earthquake experience of 1933 and shared about her experience during that time. The great-granddaughter also shares her joy with other children and gathers together with her friends who all love dancing.

Distributing Solar System to different abilities family.

Distributing Solar System to different abilities family.

In the scenery of the partly destroyed school yard, the Solar systems stand like a symbol of hope and shows that earthquake recovery and ecology can go together hand in hand. And apart from providing electricity for the basic needs of families, there will be still enough solar power for playing music – so the girls can go on dancing!

We would like to thank Mr. Kushal Gurung (CEO) of WindPower Nepal and The Mayor Hotel for supporting the solar system for the families of Earthquake Affected families in Nepal.

A Group Snap with the families.

A Group Snap with the families.

By:

Angel C. – Sr. Program Officer, ECCA

Nina N. – ASA Volunteer, Germany

Dolakha Diary – An Experience organizing camp in School

Dolkha Dairy

Dolkha Dairy

“Namaste miss. Namaste sir. Welcome to our school.” When there are blissful tiny voices greeting you along with their tiny hands heavy with garlands that clearly define affection, plus those warm smiles loaded with innocence, you’re bound to forget all your fatigue and consider yourself blessed to be among those people with big hearts. Likewise, the moment we got an affectionate welcome at Kalidevi Lower secondary School of Mirge, Dolakha on June we felt that the challenges we faced on our way, which included of a massive rainfall plus a life-threatening landslide were all worth it.

But the next moment when we let our eyes wander, we saw true horrors of earthquake. The earthquake had left them nothing but a tiny building. All other school infrastructures were in rubbles. Although some temporary structures had been set up for running the classes, most of the students had no materials for study. Many students had their uniform and books buried during the earthquake. Desks and benches were made locally yet they were still not enough for students. We further discovered that the health status of all the children was in a risky situation. All the students and even teachers used tap water from the toilet directly for drinking. Moreover, the nature club of the school was already functionless long ago so there was no chlorine production and no use of chlorine as well. Hence, our foremost objective lied in reactivating the nature club and making all students informative regarding sanitation and healthy habits besides making efforts to take them out of the earthquake trauma.

Fun with Mask

Fun with Mask

We thus started our sessions as scheduled, with numerous games and activities. The children were surprisingly shy and there were few who volunteered for anything we asked. As we started our drawing and coloring sessions in pre-primary classrooms, they were happy beyond anything. Even the teachers told us that they themselves rarely taught children that way. On the other hand, older students seemed fascinated by things that could be learned through art and games.

Students enjoying with mask and characters.

Students enjoying with mask and characters.

On our second morning, we witnessed yet another suffering of the school. Previous night’s rainfall had pooled the school ground and half of the temporary classrooms were flooded with water. Students were busy ploughing around the ground for a water outlet and we got worried about our sessions. Despite everything, we were determined to place the students at ease and try sharing our earthquake experiences together so that they could free themselves from the subconscious trauma.

“During the earthquake of April 25, 2015 I was in maize field working with my mom. When the quake hit us, my mom started screaming and all houses around us started collapsing. That night all of us villagers slept in the maize field of our neighbors and ate whatever we had. Our home got destroyed and we’re now living in temporary shelter. I don’t think it’s ever going to be same again…” As Pabitra spoke these words, the whole class was silent. One by one, every student began to speak up and involuntarily there established a bond among us that reminded us of our common misery and then the strength that we could find among ourselves to overcome it.

On our third and last day, we reformed a nature club in the school. After teaching and demonstrating them things about WATASOL, its method of production and usage, they grew confident about producing and distributing it in the village for safe drinking water.

Students displaying about need of safe drinking water and chlorination as an option.

Students displaying about need of safe drinking water and chlorination as an option.

Meanwhile students from lower section enjoyed learning proper hand washing techniques and other creative activities.

On the second half of the day, the school held a short farewell programme during which we distributed copies and other stationery materials to the students and eventually handed over whiteboards, markers, game materials and a first-aid kit to the school. An exhibition was held at the same time which exhibited our students’ works. Parents observed and thanked us for helping their children. And when the teachers enthusiastically said that they were motivated by our work, we couldn’t help smiling. We were humbled moreby warm farewell given by the children. The moment was indeed very overwhelming because when those blissful tiny voices bade us farewell along with their tiny hands and hugs that clearly defined affection,we forgot the world for a moment and considered ourselves blessed to be among all those people with big hearts.
Thank you ECCA!

Students thanking our team after training program.

Students thanking our team after training program.

With students before departure.

With students before departure.

[The experiences are based on a week long Life Skill Camp mission held at Kali Devi Lower Secondary School, Paile Mirge, Dolkha by Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness from June 23 to June 25, 2015]

by – Upama Tamla

EQ RELIEF: ENABLING VILLAGERS TO MAKE PROPER SHELTER

Distribution of corrugated GI sheets

Distribution of corrugated GI sheets

Badalgaun, Kavre, another project site of ECCA received relief materials on May 9th in the form of tools for the construction of shelter. The relief materials consisted of a bundle of corrugated GI sheets (6 sheets in one bundle), hammer, saw, wire and nails for each family. The relief materials were distributed to a total of 250 households in cooperation with Swiss Humanitarian Agency (SHA).

Villagers awaiting their turn

Villagers awaiting their turn

On May 7, ECCA supported shelter – CGI Sheets for 300 households of ward 3 in Gairibisauni, Kavrepalanchwok.

“We are very thankful for receiving all these tools. These tools have helped us in the reconstruction of our houses in the long run. With these, we feel that we are already one step closer in building our new houses”, a villager said with a small smile.

Villagers with their share of the relief materials

Villagers with their share of the relief materials

With 90% of the village damaged by the earthquake, people in earthquake affected rural areas have been traumatized. Many villagers haven’t even begun to think beyond their current predicament. ECCA hopes that with these tools, the villagers will be enabled to start the construction of proper shelter before the start of rainy season.

To increase support for our initiation and intensify the relief activities, we have also initiated a project in the website of Global Giving, an online fundraising platform. People all over the world with internet access can visit the project page Support Nepal Earthquake Relief and donate.

Please help us spread the word around your network through Facebook and Twitter and intensify our relief activities.