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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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)

Women lead Safe Drinking Water practice in Chyasal

Nepal is regarded as one of the richest countries in water resources but people have problem of water scarcity. Department of Water Supply and Sewerage  estimates 80% of the total population to have access to drinking water, however it’s safety cannot be guaranteed. People of larger cities like Kathmandu valley are even more devoid of access to adequate and safe drinking water due to its growing population. Especially women, who are mostly assigned to look after household chores, struggle to collect and manage water storage for their families.

To minimize the hardship, Hamro Sankalpa Mahila Samuha, a women group of Chyasal, Lalitpur came forward last year. They installed water tank  and adopted water purification technique in their community with ECCA’s support. Ms. Kanchi, one of the members of the group took the initiation and started to distribute WATASOL (chlorine solution used for water disinfection) treated water in her community soon after the earthquake.

“Everyone dreaded the outbreak of water borne diseases. We feel that we have taken action to prevent it”, says Byanjankar.  Currently the supply is enough for around 90 households in the locality.

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image011This initiation has not only helped to provide adequate and safe drinking water to the community but also in women empowerment and entrepreneurship by bringing them together to solve a common problem.

-Shailena Sthapit, Upama Tamla (Rai)

Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) has been working in the field of safe drinking water in various regions of Nepal since the year 2000. Support ECCA’ in its mission to provide safe drinking water directly or through our GlobalGiving website!

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.

 

 

 

 

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

Empowering Youths for Sustainable Development Practice

With reference to sustainable school improvement strategy, ECCA (Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness) conducted 3 days long Youth Training Program on Project Initiative from March 2- 4, 2016. The program was specially designed for the project; ‘Preparing School Stakeholders for Re-development and Improving Health and Sanitation of Schools’ (with funding partner action medeor e.V.) to be implemented in 4 schools of Jhule VDC in Dolakha. The program held a primary objective of introducing sustainability fundamentals as well as crucial issues on school environment, WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and First-Aid. 20 enthusiastic individuals took part in the program.

People, process and perspective are three main points of visioning. I especially liked the idea of exploring state of mind through meditation and drawing. I found this approach much different and effective.”- Aruna Puri, ECCA counselor

I never knew this much about mechanism of school and its system. Over the three days, my thinking has changed.” – Bipin Karki, participant

Changes can be brought about by youths in the most efficient form. Our mission is to train young members of the society through experts then mobilize them to make significant changes in the community”, says Yogendra Chitrakar, Executive Director of ECCA.

Capable trainees will now be mobilized in Jhule for future programs.

Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) has been a leading organization in the sector of social mobilization and community development. ECCA works closely with youths and school children to encourage positive change and to develop innovative ideas so as to make a brighter and greener future for generations to come.

-Upama Tamla (Rai), Media Associate, ECCA