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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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.

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IMG_6349.jpgStudents attending MGML class

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Counselors in action; Raising safe drinking water issues in Kathmandu valley

As the valley faces rising cases of cholera, ECCA has been organizing more community awareness programs related to safe drinking water within the valley. Since past few weeks, ECCA counselors are actively engaged in conducting safe drinking water programs at vulnerable parts of the city to bring up issues of preventive actions.  The programs not only make communities aware about safe drinking water, but it also intensifies youth involvement in raising community issues.

Pratik , our new ECCA intern shares his experience of organizing WATA stall with senior counselors at Mangalbazzar, Lalitpur:

“Waking up early in the morning with zeal to aware people about water treatment to avoid ongoing water borne diseases of the city was certainly refreshing. As visitors approached us from busy market of Mangalbazzar with curiosity, we explained them about the recent outgrowth of waterborne diseases. As one of the solutions to making water safe, we presented WATASOL, a chlorine containing liquid that disinfects unsafe water.”

About 100 people visited the stall over one day. Shrestha further expressed about their response:

“I was surprised to see how cooperative people were. In my view people were pleased to find a solution that could help them protect their family from being sick.”

blog.jpgSujan, one of our active ECCA counselors who organized another WATA stall at Manamaiju however shares a different side of the story.  “Since WATASOL was new to them they were not sure about its using it at the beginning. As we explained about its increasing pollution of water and water testing techniques, they were shocked to hear that their daily consuming water is so polluted. Some of them agreed to use Watasol and some of them wanted to confirm the water polluted fact and took coli form vial for testing purpose”, he says.

“Overall they seemed cleared about our motive and we were happy about it. And we hope our action will bring positive change and awareness in people and thus promote healthy life.”

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WATA stall at Manamaiju

Here are few glimpses of a street drama conducted by ECCA in collaboration with Amarapur CLC at Bungamati where counselors performed to address drinking water issues and also rising cholera cases. WATA stall was placed by nature club members of Tri-Ratna Co-operative Secondary School.

 

“Drinking water sources are often polluted, the rainy season adds up to the problem of unsafe drinking water”, shares Yaji, one of the performing counselors.

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Street drama at Bungamati conducted in collaboration with Annapurna CLC

As we attempt to make communities aware about safe drinking water issues, we expect positive outcomes and behavioral change among people.

Solar Aid for Chepang community

 

If you ask about Chepangs in Chitwan, people will probably tell you to go far behind the mountains. These areas lie far from development and people are compelled to lead hard lives.  Lothar VDC is one of those remote areas which acts as a home to over 5027 Nepalese people of whom 4000 are highly marginalized Chepang  people (Census 2011). The struggle  has the civilization pushed back under margin of underdevelopment.

Lack of electricity is one of the major concerns in Lothar. It has affected series of socio-economic factors including education. To enhance child education by introducing Lothar community to efficient solar technology, ECCA provided Solar Tuki sets, mass charging as well as maintenance training to 4 villages of Lothar namely Lo-ling, Gundi, Cheuding and Kalitar. Students, teachers and parents of 4 schools gathered together on June 6, 2016. Each household received 2 tukis benefitting 292 households in total where as mass charging stations are kept at school as an motivating agenda for school attendance.

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Students and their parents both were invited to receive Solar Tukis

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ECCA representative provides basic handling techniques of Solar Tuki

ECCA also provided 3 days long Solar tuki repair and maintenance training to 8 participants; 2 from each village. This will help them repair tukis themselves without having to travel far for its maintenance. As for the community, an innovative concept of micro-credit was brought to life. Local youths helped in making people understand the advantages of micro-credit finance which was also expected to provide some income to trained solar repairing technicians of the village.

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Solar Tuki expert from ECCA provides training to participants in Kalitar

ECCA camps held at each of the four schools simultaneously brought students a step closer to efficient use of solar tukis for improving their education and enhanced their knowledge on alternative energies.

“Although people enroll their children at schools, only an average of 50% attends school regularly. Drop out rate is high and we believe that solar tuki can be a milestone to change this.”

(ECCA thanks Unica Foundation and Shanti Griha for the support.)

Breaking the Taboo of Menstruation

In Nepal, menstrual hygiene education can play a life-changing role. It is a prioritized subject in every WASH oriented programs of ECCA and this year’s World Menstrual Hygiene Day proved to be extra special.

Here’s how one of our ECCA counselors Yaji Sharma shares her account of Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration-

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ECCA counselor Yaji with students during the documentary show

On early morning, our team of ECCA moved to Udaya Kharka Higher Secondary School located at Chapagaun around 22 km north from Bajra Barahi Mandir. Our main purpose was to access menstrual hygiene knowledge, attitudes and practices of school girls and to prompt healthy atmosphere in the school. As we started documentary show followed by discussion program among 55 students and additional teachers, we found that the students lacked sufficient knowledge and behavioral practice on menstrual hygiene. There was equal hesitation to interact freely about menstruation.

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But few stood out. Sadiksha Chaudhary, another ECCA counselor writes about her discovery of 15 years old Sabina-

New lease on Life

“Yes, Menstrual Hygiene Awareness is something that has given me a new lease on life. I was totally anonymous about health risk of poor menstrual hygiene management but now, I can break my silence and build awareness among others.” Sabina, a grade nine student of Kittine Higher Secondary School and president of school’s Nature Club shared in an excited voice.

Sabina’s curiosity towards MHM had attracted everyone in awareness session. She seemed to be more active than other students. and frequently requested everyone to listen attentively. She says she used to use sanitary pads for more than 6 hours, sometimes, a whole day. She used to hide her sanitary clothes so that no one could see it. Sometimes, she even used to leave school. She also says now she is aware about infections that might occur to due to poor menstrual hygiene management.

“I am now more attentive towards MHM and also looking forward to inform my family, friends and relatives about it”, said Ms. Shrestha. “Thank you ECCA and ECCA counselors for all the help”, she added.

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Menstrual hygiene program at ECCA for schools from southern Lalitpur 

Infact, ECCA will continue to help schools understand and make requisite arrangements so that girls need not skip school due to menstruation or drop out completely. (A research grant has been announced on the topic “WASH and Girl Friendly Toilet: Social and Technical aspects in the context of Nepal” targeting young and enthusiastic researchers) Besides this, schools can play a very important role by providing exclusive focus on menstrual hygiene while developing school’s health education curriculum. Improving toilet and water facilities is an obvious solution but teachers and parents also carry a responsibility to guide girls correctly on safe menstrual practice.

 

 

 

 

The Youth Experience Exchange- Sending Letters to an International Friend

With much excitement Nepalese students of the Youth Experience Exchange Program again gathered to meet at ECCA on 6th of April, 2016. This time the meeting was short but fun. The students received personal letters from students of exchange schools in Finland. In response, they shared similar and contradictory issues about Nepal, its culture, tradition and environment. The letters written by Finnish students themselves brought much excitement among Nepalese students. Continue reading