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)
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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.

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

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

 

 

Uplifting Nature Clubs through Management Trainings

Southern Lalitpur is one of the core regions where ECCA Nepal has been working for past 2 decades to enhance quality education and school environment. The program comprises of involving students that make them participate and motivate into activities where the students can learn as well as contribute towards improvement of school. Various software program, nature club establishments and trainings, and other support are the activities of ECCA to promote students in quality education and behavioral change.

As such of a regular program, a two days training program was organized for nature club members from Feb 1- Feb 13, 2016. The program, which was supported by Wilkins Memorial Trust, welcomed 25 participants from each nature clubs of 9 different schools. The prime objective of this program was to develop different life skills and responsibility handling skills  among nature club members for conducting effective and sustainable programs. Participants were from:

  1. Shree Bag Bhairab Higher Secondary School -Kaleshwor
  2. Shree Magar Gaun Higher Secondary School -Sankhu
  3. Shree Goth Bhanjyang H.S.S-Dalchoki
  4. Shree Bag Bhairab Secondary School-Chaughare
  5. Shree Gyanodaya L.S.S-Chaughare
  6. Shree Kalidevi H.S.S-Malta
  7. Shree Bhidyadeshori H.S.S-Asrang
  8. Shree Janajagriti H.S.S- Ikudol
  9. Shree Mahakalidevi H.S.S-Bhattedanda
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ECCA counselor Ms. Malati Khatri during Life Skill session

To conduct the two days training camp in each school, the group was divided into two teams who mobilized around the targeted schools. The training camp content comprised of strengthening of nature club, promotion of nature club activities, importance of greenery management and herbal garden, life skill activities, WASH session and activities, GLOBE activities (atmosphere observation and data collection) and alternative energy usage sessions like IAS (Improved Animal Shed), ICS (Improved Cooking Stove).

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ECCA counselor Mr. Shambhu Maharjan(with glasses) conducts ‘Trust Fall’; a life skill activity

“The training helped to erase our confusions regarding club management and organizing effective and needed programs. I am now more capable of handling my responsibility as the secretary of my club”, said one of the participants.

 

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Nature Club members prepare their annual plan during the training

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Students proceed to cloud reading after the orientation, Shree Goth Bhanjyang H.S.S. , Dalchoki

During the training, students were able to make their annual plan for nature club and also get ideas for selecting types of programs. This will now help them to enhance their club activities and promote their role in well managed and sustainable school improvement. Students were especially interested in knowing more activities involving GLOBE protocol

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ECCA counselors with the trainees, Shree Bag Bhairav Secondary School, Chaughare 

ECCA can conduct further more programs with specialization on hygiene and green environment, as there are still not enough sanitary facilities and green environment on school.

-Malati Khatri, ECCA Counselor

We need to be closer to nature; Youths speak during Climate Learning venture

Humans have an inseparable tie with nature- and science of course. And while the world is facing all sorts of environmental challenges, there are no restrictive lines that provide ‘making-a-difference’ licenses only to those studying environment related subjects. Especially in today’s generation where each conscious person is getting inclined towards environment protection activities, learning opportunities should and are being offered for all.

“I have come here today so that I can learn new things”, said Palistha  Sikhakar, a 20 year old college student while participating in Training For Youths on GLOBE Climate Learning conducted by ECCA (Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness) on January 25, 2016. The training, which was based on GLOBE protocol and was previously initiated by GLOBE international, held a prime objective of enabling young participants to estimate various physical, biological and chemical parameters of a locality as a result to upgrade their interest in #scienceasculture.

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Facilitator Dipesh Gurung elaborates on measurement of maximum/minimum temperature

 

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Practical on hydrology (turbidity viewing)

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Hydrology practical takes place on the banks of Bagmati river

While facilitator Mr. Dipesh Gurung made the sessions livelier by each second, the participants got more familiar with aspects related to water, atmosphere and biodiversity. Theoretical and practical activities on PH, transparency, electrical conductivity and temperature measurement of water was carried out on the banks of Bagmati river. Another phase included cloud cover readings and atmospheric temperature measurement (maximum and minimum) with the help of maxima minima thermometer and cloud charts. Along with this, participants got a chance to practically know about landcover investigation and tree canopy including DBH(Diameter at Breast Height).

The participants at the end of the day were enthusiastic to learn even more. “I found this training highly useful even for my academics”, said Aruna Puri, an undergraduate student of Environmental Science.

“This kind of program along with amplifying one’s knowledge in scientific aspects also helps to get an idea of his/her surrounding locality and the kind of impacts made by various agents.”

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Trainees mark area for landcover investigation

ECCA Nepal prioritizes youth involvement while making efforts in any developmental activity of community such as this. The trainees will pass on their learning to young students of different schools in eastern Nepal as a part of school improvement program of ECCA which is supported by  partner organization Taksvärkki ry.

-Upama Tamla (Rai), Media Associate, ECCA

 

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.]

AWARE AND ACT TODAY!

Kopila, a  primary level student in Kavrepalanchowk  never attends school regularly. Due to lack of toilets, it is very difficult for her especially during the time of her menstruation. Not only her, but even the boys are compelled to go to forests or cliffs for excreting purpose which is dangerous enough.

There are thousands of students who suffer like this in everyday life.  In Nepal, only 27% of the population has access to a proper toilet (WaterAid Nepal). Majority of people have no option but to defecate in the open. Along with this the knowledge of washing hands with soaps or similar disinfectants after using toilet is more of a matter involving ignorance rather than lack of knowledge. Especially during the time of emergency and crisis, people often tend to forget its importance hence number of sanitation-related diseases evolve taking the form of an epidemic.

Hence, ECCA decided to take this year’s World Toilet Day ECCA as an opportunity to spread awareness in an effective manner- through direct communication with the people. Students and nature club members were included along with enthusiastic volunteers. Together with communicating with the public by costumed characters portrayed by nature club students of  Lalit Kalyan Kendra Lower Secondary School, Bholdhoka, ECCA volunteers organized a sanitation related flashmob which was then followed by a lively drama show. People enjoyed and applauded each section of the program. Furthermore, students of Bal Vinod Secondary School, Na:tole kept a stall on WATASOL.

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“I never knew there existed a ‘World Toilet Day’! I now feel more responsible towards awaring my society on being cautious regarding toilets and hygieneic behaviours. Moreover, seeing these youths come together with such a beautiful concept is motivating for all the onlookers”, responded Bikrant Shrestha in the audience.

 

 

Festival with a purpose

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It is a group of young minds that is keen on innovating new and meaningful ideas. This year students of Shree Majhgaun Srijansil Pratkiti Bal Club (Shree Majhgaun Creative Nature Club) of Mirge-1, Dolakha celebrated Tihar in their community by advocating about safe drinking water measures that one should adopt inorder to lead a healthy life.

Deusi-bhailo program that the nature club held wasn’t just about entertainment. Along with giving blessings for wealth, happiness and prosperity, the members communicated with the community through songs involving water and sanitation issues. Furthermore, they gifted WATASOLs, a  water purifying liquid that they have been producing themselves after attending training given by ECCA. The team elaborated about its easy use, advantages, low cost and production methods to the people as they travelled from house to house celebrating Deusi-bhailo.

“Because of the earthquake, we feel that it is even more important to keep raising these types of issues as the earthquake has led people to unconsciously degrade their health behaviours. Making people aware about their drinking water and health habits saves them from outbreak of (water-borne) diseases as well”, expressed one of the club members during a feedback meeting.

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