A Change is born!

image001Anita, a seventh grader at Ganesh Basic School, Bhirkot Dolakha, is thirteen and her menstrual cycle began when she was twelve years old. She recalls, “I was very afraid on the day when I got my first period. I got confused on what to do and whom to tell.  I had very limited knowledge of menstruation as I was shy of discussing the issues with anyone”.

“But the situation is different now”, says she, with a sparkling smile on her face. As ECCA  provided the training of Menstrual Hygiene Management with support of action medeor e.V. from November 28 – 29, 2017 at schools of Bhirkot including hers, she knows well what menstruation is, how it occurs, and why it occurs.

 “I can manage my menstruation hygienically to maintain my health, which includes making, washing, drying and disposing of re-usable sanitary pads safely”.

She says, “It is especially important for preparing younger pre-adolescent girls for understanding menstruation by educating the women and menstruating girls with information on good menstrual hygiene practices”.

She also confirms that her school should address the barriers related with water and sanitation for the hygienic management of menstruation with privacy and dignity. “After this training, we are now motivated and excited to contribute in menstrual hygiene management at school and community by challenging negative attitudes and perceptions” adds the motivated soul.

– Ashmita Rai, ECCA Counselor (during her journey of facilitating MHM Training at Ganesh School)

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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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“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)

ECCA Grooms Parents, Teachers and Students in Dolakha

Apparently, students are not the only ones in need of improvement.

On 19th April 2016, four schools of Jhule VDC, Dolakha participated in ECCA’s initiative programme meant for all school stakeholders and students. Parents and teachers from all four schools (Amar Higher Secondary School, Jana Prabhat Secondary School, Janta Lower Secondary School, NayaJyoti Primary School) plus a social mobilizer and a VDC representative took part in 3 days long School Environment Planning and Visioning Training where as students separately participated in ECCA Camp conducted at each school that continued for 4 days. Continue reading

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