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)

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)

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.

ECCA builds School Toilets in Rural Nepal

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Ongoing Construction of Boys’ Toilet

Catastrophes never choose to be kind. One physical injury or one infrastructural damage can leave hundreds impaired. Students of Bagbhairav Secondary School, Chaughare met similar fate this year. From classrooms to toilets, the earthquake of April caused great deal of destruction depriving young students from a proper learning area as well as healthy environment.

It is one of the main reasons why ECCA has prioritized the construction of toilets in this school. Absence of toilet with proper water facilities had been posing as a serious threat to health of children. This threat is expected to be minimized with construction of proper toilets categorized suitably both for male and female students.

“Construction of boys toilet is already in its final phase. Construction of girl-friendly toilet with incinerator is also going to start soon”, said Ram Sharan Magar, an ECCA field staff. “This is going to have a very good impact in the community. Female students are going to be encouraged to attend school as girl-friendly toilets are meant to be for their support especially during menstruation.”

ECCA has already constructed girl-friendly toilets in several other schools in rural Nepal. It has helped to improve female attendance number to a great extent. To support our initiative, help us by donating through our Global Giving website.

-Upama Tamla (Rai), ECCA

Door-to-Door Programs

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Nature Club members attending a short orientation on Door-to-Door Programs

 

Despite having to report early on a Saturday morning, all the members of the Nature Club are always eager to start their door-to-door program. After brief introductions and an orientation, the members of the Nature Club are split into groups. Each group is provided with a flip chart filled with various facts about WATASOL and water borne diseases, WATASOL bottles, two unused coliform vials, flyers and posters. The teams are also given two samples of coliform test results – one showing contaminated water and another showing uncontaminated water. The locals become more willing to listen to the children when they find out that most of the water from sources around their community turned into a black liquid after the test, indicating a high level of contamination.

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Students of Mahendra Vidya Ashram explaining the use of WATASOL to a local

 

The teams go around the locality in their designated areas and stop by shops, restaurants and households along the way. The children are able to elaborate easily with the flipchart, as it has pictorial representations of the facts. The teams also sell 60ml WATASOL bottles to the locals. The locals buy them more readily when they are informed that they can go to the school for a cheap refill and half the proceeds would go to the nature club itself.

“We were able to understand that team work and coordination among the members is essential to run the activities”, Smriti stated.

“We were very glad that we were able to make people understand the importance of safe drinking water,” said Ajay.

“I learned how to deal with rejection. At first, I was dejected when the locals didn’t want to buy WATASOL but then I learned how to cope with it and carried on. Interaction and presentation with people also help students like us to increase confidence”, Sonu Thapa stated as she recalled her experience.

In the last few weeks, 5 schools have conducted Door-to-Door program.

  • Lalit Kalyan School, Lalitpur – Nov 28
  • Mahendra Vidya Ashram, Bhaktapur – Dec 5
  • St. Paul School, Thecho, Lalitpur – Dec 5
  • Kanchan English Secondary School, Chapagaun – Dec 5
  • Tika Bhairab School, Lele – Dec 11

The door-to-door program has proved to be an effective community awareness program. Along with raising awareness, it also develops interaction skills of the students. By the end of the two-hour long program, almost all the children are able to communicate with new people readily.  The children also develop a sense of responsibility as they are able to collect fund for their club activities.

The experience of a Nature Club President

The earthquake in April left a deep rooted terror in the Nepalese minds. In the days that followed the earthquake, the fear was palpable. But amidst the fear and destruction, Ashok Maharjan, a student from Zing Secondary School, Khokana, Lalitpur rose to take action. Witnessing his community crumbling down and having to live out in the open with no shelter was a stark contrast to his normal life. For a Grade 10 student, the reality of being helpless weighed down his mind more than the terror.

The earthquake stripped the community of its basic essentials like water and electricity. At that time, people had no choice but to drink water directly from the source. This posed a serious health risk and increased the chances of an epidemic.

Keeping the threat of an epidemic in mind, Ashok bravely decided to use the skills he learned in his school’s Nature Club and produced Chlorine Solution, WATASOL, despite the ceaseless aftershocks and his family’s worry. As the Nature Club’s President, he called his friends Dipesh Dongol and Sajjan Maharjan and together with the WATA device, set out to find a place with electricity. The locals donated the salt needed for production of WATASOL.  After half an hour of wandering, he reached Bhaisepati, the neighboring town where there was electricity and started producing WATASOL.

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Ashok Maharjan from Zing Secondary School, Khokana, Lalitpur

“Electricity and transportation was the biggest hurdle”, Ashok states. “The people were very supportive and were ready to help us. As part of our Nature Club activities, we had begun to produce WATASOL and distribute it in our community even before the earthquake. As a result, the locals were familiar with WATASOL and accepted it without complains or suspicion.”

He continues to guide and advise other students in his school as well as those who live in the vicinity.

Ashok Maharjan is a prime example of a motivated youth who leads his peers. ECCA is proud to be able to support Ashok in his efforts and hopes to empower and motivate others youths as well.

ECCA conducts a Documentary Show For Pupils

How do you learn?
For children, fun and knowledge should blend together.  For them, the best ways are through games, stories, art or songs that portray an access to an unlimited series of entertainment and learning.

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Learning for life!

On 4th December, 2015 over 170 students of Binayak Bal Lower Secondary School of  Badal Gaun, Kavre rejoiced learning through watching documentaries.

The documentary show which depicted adoptive measures for probable disaster risks in the simplest manner was advantageous for students. Along with this, students enjoyed documentaries along with animations involving basic health related issues such as safe drinking water and hygiene facts.

“It had been long since we had this much fun in school. Thank you ECCA for today”, said Sushil, one of the participants at the end of the day.

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Program Administrator Mr.Aashish Karn(center) along with the students

Education And Attitude

Following is a review of a school drama performed by Shree Bag Bharaib Nature Club, Chaughare on November 25, 2015 during school visit by ECCA director Angel Chitrakar along with the treasurer from WMT  Mr. David.

IMG_5158Hari, who lives in Jeri Gaun gets ill out of a sudden. He is not rushed to a hospital but offered the aid of a Jhakri. All the mantras that the Jhakri chants and animal sacrifices he makes to shoo away the evil goes in vain. It is only that his health improves when he gets treated by a medical doctor.  The reason for his sickness doesn’t turn out to be evil souls but unhygienic behaviours chiefly open defecation.

The drama which showcased sensitive issues of community such as hygiene and sanitation was commendable. From health issues to existing beliefs in superstitions, the characters successfully portrayed ignorant personalities of the society and those who try to make a change. By creating a contrast between two villages, essence of subjects such as plantation was also revealed to the public and the conclusion was an inspiring one- to spread awareness and bring actual change in attitude.

IMG_5170.jpgAnyone in the audience would undoubtedly get a feeling that it is important that more of the youths come forward to be the Change makers. If everyone would go hand in hand for making such positive changes in the society, life will get better and development won’t be far.

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-Upama Tamla (Rai), ECCA
[To support ECCA’s mission of providing ‘Safe Water For Healthy Nepal’, donate us through our Global Giving website.]