4th National Child Club Conference | Future Now for Sustainable Education and Environment| ECCA blogs

Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA Nepal) organized 4th National Child Club Conference with the theme ‘Future Now for Sustainable Education and Environment’ at Agricultural Development Bank, Training Center, Bode, Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur from June 5 – 7, 2017. The conference, welcomed 103 child club representatives from 6 provinces of Nepal as well as teachers, government officials and observers from different NGO/INGOs.

Inauguration of the conference took place on the occasion of World Environment Day. The conference was inaugurated by chief guest Dr. Prabhu Budhathoki, member of National Planning Commission along with Prachet Kumar Shrestha, Chairman of ECCA. The opening was also attended by guests Mr. Hari Lamsal, joint secretary of Ministry of Education, Ukesh Raj Bhuju, honorary member of ECCA and Anil Chitrakar, founder member of ECCA.

The 3 days event included different activities such as thematic sessions on Climate Change and GLOBE Program, Child Friendly Local Governance, School Environment Improvement through the active participation of school stakeholders, Child Rights and Life Skills.

Conference activities also included documentary shows, cultural program, environmental games, yoga, meditation etc. Last day of conference had prize distribution program for winners of the three competitions as well as KMP. All the competition were organized on the theme of World EnviRonment Day 2017 ‘Connecting with nature’. Roshna Nepal, Subash Shrestha, Ashish Giri, Prajwal Pandey, Pushpa Khadka and Pratiskshya Wagle won the speech competition. Suman Nagarkoti, Alisha Sonaha and Alson Shrestha were the best 3 in poster competition. Wall magazine had 3 groups out of 7 as winner groups.

A participant illustrates his vision of 'Connecting with nature' during poster competition

A participant illustrates his vision of ‘Connecting with nature’ during poster competition

“The way thematic sessions sensitized our roles, rights as well as relevant environmental issues, we feel more capable.. and empowered.” – Sonia, participant

The conference put positive hopes in children as well as teachers.

“It was an opportunity to learn, to realize the potential of our children and motivate them to perform better.”- Rudra Sangroula, teacher

Students from Jhapa present 'Sakela' dance during closing ceremony

Students from Jhapa present ‘Sakela’ dance during closing ceremony

Likewise, 7 child clubs with best proposals were awarded Rs. 25,000 in Knowledge Market Place. Nepal Rastryia Basic School and Bhagwati Basic School from Jajarkot, Kitini Secondary School from Lalitpur, Shree Bidhyadiswori Secondary School from Southern Lalitpur, Shree Dhulabari Secondary School from Jhapa, Amar Higher Secondary School, Dolakha and Laxmi Secondary School, Kanchanpur were awarded the prize.

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Knowledge Market Place Evaluation

With ECCA were other sponsors action medeor, Wilkins Memorial Trust, Taksvarkki ry, WWF Nepal, Antenna Technologies, and Sharada Library and Merina Ranjit, ECCA’s executive member who supported the award for deserving child clubs.

Group photo after closing ceremony

“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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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.]

Child Club into Beneficial Cardamom Farming

I think what we have been doing here is unique. To initiate anything is a hard job, but it isn’t impossible either.”- Prem Tamang, student

From women to children, ECCA has always been supporting each person as well as each school and community within its reach to utilize available local resources for common benefit. Instead of letting a fertile land inside the school arena go to waste, the child club of Shree Bag Bhairav Higher Secondary School of Chaughare-8, Lalitpur, Nepal decided to start Cardamom farming 3 years ago with the support of ECCA.

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Cardamom Farming Area of Shree Bagbhairav Child Club, Chaughare-8, Nepal

“I saw my senior brothers and sisters initiate Cardamom with ECCA farming three years ago. I was motivated. Now that I am a club member myself, I feel very proud and responsible as well towards encouraging younger fellows to work for meaningful ideas”, shared Bijay Tamang, a class nine student.

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Cultivated Cardamom plants

The saplings that the club planted have now grown to be mature healthy plants. The club informed that the cardamom seeds are now almost ready to be extracted from raw plants. Cheers to all the hard work!

  • Upama Tamla (Rai), ECCA

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.]

 

Happiness! Impressions from a WASH & Life Skill Camp in Sindhupalchowk

The following experiences are based on experiences gained by Ashish Shrestha, an ECCA volunteer during WASH Camp and Life Skill Camp in Siddhi Kamala Lower Secondary School, Sindhupalchwok from 3rd to 6th August 2015:

The powerful and devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015 snatched away all the happiness of the people living in Sindhupalchwok district. Thousands died and countless houses collapsed. Thus, ECCA took immediate action on improving school environment The Conservation Awareness and WASH Camp through Life Skill Activities in early August 2015 was an attempt to put smile on those faces whose eyes were filled with tears. Despite focusing on conducting recreational and refreshment activities to bring psychological happiness among the children, the camp also emphasized on providing knowledge on environment conservation.

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This attempt made by the team of ECCA provided a common platform to share the tragic pain caused by the earthquake and its aftershocks. Such sense of empathy of their sorrow certainly lit the candle of happiness among students. A positivity to start a new life with a bright hope is possible as the heat of enthusiasm is generated in oneself. Simple actions like playing games, dancing freely, sharing experiences together, drawing, creating story and presenting it brought hope in students and broadened their level of horizon.

Even in places destroyed by landslide, a tree can grow again with time. There is hope for betterment to come. In the same way there is hope of reconstruction of destroyed houses, schools and proper school environment in well manner. Children can be taught that they have life even after the trauma. After all, happiness starts from nothing but imagination of positive things.

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Learning won’t cease

Earthquake affected school buildings

Earthquake affected school buildings

Peepaldada VDC of Sindhupalhwok couldn’t gleam more than it did on June 30, 2015 when the construction of nine Temporary Learning Shelters (TLC) in four schools namely Shree Siddhi Kamala Secondary School, Sita Primary School, Bageshwori Lower Secondary School and Dakshinkali Lower Secondary School was completed, promising undulating education for children. Faces lit with joy as all the children were provided with educational, recreational and Early Childhood Development (ECD) kits as sources of motivation and effective schooling.

Inspecting the condition of schools

Inspecting the condition of schools

When 7.8 ritcher earthquake hit Nepal back in April, most of the physical infrastructures of Sindhupalchowk turned to complete ruins. School buildings were no exception. Even though time flew by and people recovered from such a traumatic event, they were in no place  to send their children to school as there was no saying in how much time would be required to reestablish school buildings and proper learning environment. Realizing this, Environment Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) and Hands International with the financial support of Medico International (MI) came forward with government authenticated concept of TLC along with the provision of educational, recreational and ECD kits for young children. TLC requires lesser time and fewer materials (bamboo, tarpaulin, Corrugated Galvanised Iron sheet etc.)  for construction and are very  suitable for learning until stable buildings are rebuilt.

Temporary Learning Centers in Construction

Temporary Learning Centers in Construction

Sharing smiles together in newly built T.L.C

Sharing smiles together in newly built T.L.C

Now six more schools of Ramche VDC in Sinchupalchowk namely Bhatte Primary School, Himchuli  Primary School, Janajagriti Primary School, Saraswoti Secondary School, SindhuBahira Lower Secondary School and Suryodaya Primary School are in process of being benefited by this three months long project which started back in June. Despite the lack of transportation, the combined effort of volunteers and school management committee has aided to establishing six TLC’s in above mentioned schools.  70% construction is already completed and by next week, there will be children there, studying the way they used to, taking a leap that they should,  towards their  future to make it bright.

-Upama Tamla

Students rejoicing after being provided with educational, recreational and ECD kits

Students rejoicing after being provided with educational, recreational and ECD kits

Representatives from District Education Office,ECCA, Hands International along with local teachers after completion of TLCs

Representatives from District Education Office,ECCA, Hands International along with local teachers after completion of TLCs

WASH and Life Skill Camp @ Dalchoki, Southern Lalitpur

With the Children of Dalchoki –  Palistha Shrestha (ECCA Counsellor)

[WASH and Life Skill Camp was held at Shree Gothbhanjyang Higher Secondary School, Dalchoki, Lalitpur from June 7 to 9, 2015. The experiences of a camp staff …… ]

Dalchoki Team : (From the left) Sujan Prajapati, Yangji Sherpa, Palistha Shrestha, Samata Rajkarnikar, Merina RanaMagar, Nirajan Shrestha

Dalchoki Team : (From the left) Sujan Prajapati, Yangji Sherpa, Palistha Shrestha, Samata Rajkarnikar, Merina RanaMagar, Nirajan Shrestha

5 teams began their journey to the rural areas of Lalitpur on June 6, 2015. The teams had prepared their session plans and the required materials as per the trainings they had received few days ago.

As we made our way towards the rural area, we were reminded of the devastation caused by the earthquake of April 25, 2015. The road was covered with dust from the debris of the collapsed houses. Some houses were being demolished at several places while many had temporary supports to prevent them from collapsing.

My team was assigned to Dalchoki, Lalitpur. The massive contrast of the standard of living between the city and the villages of the same district was unexpected. In just an hour ride, we reached a village so rural and under developed, it was hardly believable that it was only about 30 km away from the capital.

We unloaded all our supplies on the top of the hill and began our descend to the school located below. The steep slope of the road made it increasingly difficult (and tiring) to make several trips. With the help from the villagers, we were able to take all our supplies to the school in two trips.

We began exploring the school premises for a place to pitch our tent and to assemble our supplies. The school had generously arranged utensils and a gas stove for our use. We decided to pitch our tents inside the Temporary Learning Centers as there were no other open spaces and fierce winds usually dominated the night air. We decided a session plan, divided our responsibilities before dinner and called it a day.

Early the next day, we disassembled our tents and began preparing the materials needed for the sessions. After a quick breakfast, we headed for a short meeting with the teachers and staffs of the school to introduce ourselves as well as discuss about our session plans.

Students along with the teachers enjoying 'Balloon Blast'

Students along with the teachers enjoying ‘Balloon Blast’

Together with Yangji Sherpa, my first session started off at 11am with the students from Grade 1-3. With their classrooms destroyed by the earthquake, they were assembled under a temporary shelter outside. We began our session with a short ball game but the small children were hesitant to play with us. Next we played ‘Balloon Blast’. This game requires students to burst each others’ balloons tied to their legs while saving their own. This game was an instant success and the children enjoyed it immensely. The teachers also participated in the games, which encouraged the students to approach us. The prospective of bursting balloons excited not only the small children but the higher class students as well. A small group of students from other classes gathered to watch the little kids play.

My next session was with the students from Grade 6. After waiting eagerly for their turn, they hurriedly entered the class when I approached them. With almost 50 students, the task was a little exhausting but the students were very cooperative and eager to learn and play games. This greatly reduced the difficulties arising due to large number of students.

We provided biscuits and juice to all the students as well as the staffs during the lunch break.  My second session with the students from Grade 1-3 started off with fresh enthusiasm from the students. They were more lively and active while coloring and tracing. They began calling us “Miss”. Being called upon when they had doubts and difficulties was a proud moment for me. Getting accepted as their teacher and guiding them as they colored was a joyous moment.

Taking sessions with 6th graders

Taking sessions with 6th graders

My last session for the day was with the 6th graders again. Yangji accompanied me as the number of students was large. We taught them Future Ladder, an activity where the students establish their goals and learn the steps they have to climb to reach their ambition.

The day ended with loud farewells and promises to play a lot more the next day. With a little rest, we decided to explore the surrounding areas. The cool wind blowing through was refreshing against Kathmandu’s dusty and warm winds.

After a group discussion on the day’s sessions and some planning for the next day, we cooked our dinner, pitched our tents and slept soundly.

Surrounded by warm smiles

Surrounded by warm smiles

The next two days were filled with more interesting games and activities like puppet making, wall magazines, science show and wall comics for students from Grade 6-8 and mask making, clay work and rhymes for students from Grade 1-5. The number of students attending the classes started increasing as the days passed by. We organized an exhibition on the last day where they displayed all their activities done in the camp. Students from Grade 4-5 eagerly presented the new rhymes that they had learned in the sessions. We handed over game materials to the school as well.

The students showed more enthusiasm as the day went by. Some of them arrived almost an hour early and stayed back after the school and insisted on playing with us. Some of the students gave us fruits and potatoes grown locally as gifts. A few even came to see us off. Such positive responses from students made our exhaustion worthwhile.

“My daughter who normally does not like to go to school has been very eager to leave for school in the mornings. She is always asking me for the time”, a mother said to us. The teachers and parents gave us positive feedbacks as well.

The warm farewell!

The warm farewell!

We were constantly supported by the school’s principal, Mr. Laxmi Timalsina and the staffs.

The program ended with a bittersweet feeling of completing it successfully but leaving warm smiles and laughter behind. Going to remote areas and sharing our knowledge to uplift the spirits of bright young students was truly a refreshing and satisfying experience.

I would like to thank ECCA for giving us this opportunity to go and conduct camps in rural areas. It was truly a momentous  and memorable experience.