Dolakha Diary – An Experience organizing camp in School

Dolkha Dairy

Dolkha Dairy

“Namaste miss. Namaste sir. Welcome to our school.” When there are blissful tiny voices greeting you along with their tiny hands heavy with garlands that clearly define affection, plus those warm smiles loaded with innocence, you’re bound to forget all your fatigue and consider yourself blessed to be among those people with big hearts. Likewise, the moment we got an affectionate welcome at Kalidevi Lower secondary School of Mirge, Dolakha on June we felt that the challenges we faced on our way, which included of a massive rainfall plus a life-threatening landslide were all worth it.

But the next moment when we let our eyes wander, we saw true horrors of earthquake. The earthquake had left them nothing but a tiny building. All other school infrastructures were in rubbles. Although some temporary structures had been set up for running the classes, most of the students had no materials for study. Many students had their uniform and books buried during the earthquake. Desks and benches were made locally yet they were still not enough for students. We further discovered that the health status of all the children was in a risky situation. All the students and even teachers used tap water from the toilet directly for drinking. Moreover, the nature club of the school was already functionless long ago so there was no chlorine production and no use of chlorine as well. Hence, our foremost objective lied in reactivating the nature club and making all students informative regarding sanitation and healthy habits besides making efforts to take them out of the earthquake trauma.

Fun with Mask

Fun with Mask

We thus started our sessions as scheduled, with numerous games and activities. The children were surprisingly shy and there were few who volunteered for anything we asked. As we started our drawing and coloring sessions in pre-primary classrooms, they were happy beyond anything. Even the teachers told us that they themselves rarely taught children that way. On the other hand, older students seemed fascinated by things that could be learned through art and games.

Students enjoying with mask and characters.

Students enjoying with mask and characters.

On our second morning, we witnessed yet another suffering of the school. Previous night’s rainfall had pooled the school ground and half of the temporary classrooms were flooded with water. Students were busy ploughing around the ground for a water outlet and we got worried about our sessions. Despite everything, we were determined to place the students at ease and try sharing our earthquake experiences together so that they could free themselves from the subconscious trauma.

“During the earthquake of April 25, 2015 I was in maize field working with my mom. When the quake hit us, my mom started screaming and all houses around us started collapsing. That night all of us villagers slept in the maize field of our neighbors and ate whatever we had. Our home got destroyed and we’re now living in temporary shelter. I don’t think it’s ever going to be same again…” As Pabitra spoke these words, the whole class was silent. One by one, every student began to speak up and involuntarily there established a bond among us that reminded us of our common misery and then the strength that we could find among ourselves to overcome it.

On our third and last day, we reformed a nature club in the school. After teaching and demonstrating them things about WATASOL, its method of production and usage, they grew confident about producing and distributing it in the village for safe drinking water.

Students displaying about need of safe drinking water and chlorination as an option.

Students displaying about need of safe drinking water and chlorination as an option.

Meanwhile students from lower section enjoyed learning proper hand washing techniques and other creative activities.

On the second half of the day, the school held a short farewell programme during which we distributed copies and other stationery materials to the students and eventually handed over whiteboards, markers, game materials and a first-aid kit to the school. An exhibition was held at the same time which exhibited our students’ works. Parents observed and thanked us for helping their children. And when the teachers enthusiastically said that they were motivated by our work, we couldn’t help smiling. We were humbled moreby warm farewell given by the children. The moment was indeed very overwhelming because when those blissful tiny voices bade us farewell along with their tiny hands and hugs that clearly defined affection,we forgot the world for a moment and considered ourselves blessed to be among all those people with big hearts.
Thank you ECCA!

Students thanking our team after training program.

Students thanking our team after training program.

With students before departure.

With students before departure.

[The experiences are based on a week long Life Skill Camp mission held at Kali Devi Lower Secondary School, Paile Mirge, Dolkha by Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness from June 23 to June 25, 2015]

by – Upama Tamla

EQ Relief: Filter Distribution

There is no disagreement that Water could be a simplest and easiest medium to get infected or transmission of various viral diseases in the current situation of natural disaster. Hence, use of safe water for various purposes in our day to day life needs to be carefully monitored and precautions need to be taken. Scarcity of water at various locations is seen due to disturbance in water distribution system. Hence, distribution of water various POU Water treatment option like water filter and WATASOL (chlorine solution) has been intensified from ECCA.

Locally Assembled ECCA Filter.

Locally Assembled ECCA Filter.

Till today, in coordination and financial support from various organizations like Nepalese Disaster Relief Association (NDRA) Dallas, Himalayan Crossroads, Nepal Child Club Network and local youth groups, 100 sets of water filters were distributed in various locations of Lalitpur, Kavre, Bhaktapur, Sindhupalchok & Nuwakot.

An orphanage located in Jharuwarashi, Lalitpur, sheltering 62 children were provided 10 sets of filter along with 10 pc of water jar for storing and carrying water. Due to the earthquake, the water storage tank got tampered and water well dried, threatening continuous supply of water of the daily use of children. Through the use of filtered water for drinking purpose, the children are now ensured to have safe water as well as far reach of water borne diseases.

Filters provided to EQ affected families of Nuwakot.

Filters provided to EQ affected families of Nuwakot.

Similarly, 10 sets of filter were distributed to the residents of Nuwakot where families were forced to live in communal shelters due to damage in their houses. In coordination with NCCN, 3 filters were distributed in Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur, where 65 people were sheltered in tent. “The health condition of people in the tents were not good and they have no access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation. Most of the children started to with getting illness day by day”, Ms. Roni Shakya, one of the volunteers of ECCA and member of NCCN briefed the condition of communal shelter in Bhaktapur. “Distribution of these filters have ensured the availability of safe drinking water to the families living outside in tents”, she further added as she took incharge for the distribution of filter in Bhaktapur. Safe water for drinking purpose in these communal areas became a big challenge which was tackled through installing the filter in the community.

Children using the ECCA WATER FILTER

Children using the ECCA WATER FILTER

In coordination with Himalayan Crossroads, 30 sets of filters were distributed for the EQ affected families in Chokati village of Sindhupalchok District and 40 sets of filters were installed in the community shelter at Kathmandu, where families displaced from Sindhupalchok were rehabilitated.

The water filter that ECCA has been assembling are prepared through using treatment of silver colloidal solution which ensures the purity of water upto 99.99%.

A small child drinking water from the FILTER

A small child drinking water from the FILTER

To increase support for our initiation and intensify the relief activities, we would like to request you to share our project placed in Global Giving website for online fundraising Earthquake Relief: Providing Safe  Drinking Water. Please help us spread the word around your network through Facebook and Twitter and intensify our relief activities

By: Angel Chitrakar, Priyanka Ghale & Palistha Shrestha

 

A Prevention Measures for Disaster – Flood Early Warning System

For a mountainous country like Nepal, natural disasters related with landslide and floods are inevitable in any time period of the year. Hence, in order to prevent human catastrophe from various types of disaster, adoption of preventive measures is a must. This could be done through various types of social awareness activities to sensitize people and through installing hardware that will inform about the disaster that is about to happen.

Briefing participants on Flood Early Warning System.

Recently, ECCA in collaboration with other partner organization (SEE, Li-Bird/MSFP) installed a wireless flood early warning system for the first time in Nepal. This is a low-cost and user friendly technology installed in Kaligandaki River located in Bhurung, Myagdi District in western region of Nepal. With the installation of the technology, training programs were organized from 9th to 19th December for relevant stakeholders and school students located in the periphery of the system installed.

Briefing participants on Flood Early Warning System.

The main aim of this training was to provide basic knowledge about causes & consequences of flood, advantages of ESW and to develop strong communication among the participation. During the training program, participants were shared about basic of Disaster Risk Reduction terminologies, Early Warning System components, equipment to be installed and EWS mechanism. Practical sessions with briefing about equipment (transmitter unit and receiver unit), methodology to install, assemble and disassemble system together with precaution measures in days to come were also share with the participants.

Training Children on FEWS.

Training Children on FEWS.

20 students from four different schools located in the periphery of the river were also trained about the system and its functioning. ECCA staffs facilitated the training through giving them presentation about the EWS, nature club formation & school environment. All students were exited by knowing about the EWS. The group discussion, paper presentation & different interaction program was done among the students. Students from each school also made the wall magazine & art competition was also done among the participants during the training program.

Explaining about the signal transmitting linkage of FEWS to participants.

Explaining about the signal transmitting linkage of FEWS to participants.

The students were exited to learn about the EWS as it was a first training of its kind that they had received in their school. They agreed that the flood early warning system is really an important technology for the community to save from disaster like flood.

Plantation for Preservation – One School One Heritage Campaign

Preparing for plantation at Sauga Hiti, Lalitpur.

Preparing for plantation at Sauga Hiti, Lalitpur.

ECCA has successfully completed the plantation program on December 5, 2014 with the participation of 70 pupils to mark Int’l Volunteer Day and World Soil Day. It is the program led by ECCA TGG members under One School One Heritage Campaign. It was held at two heritage sites; Purnachandi Temple and Sauga: Hiti of Patan.

Preparing for Plantation @ Purna Chandi Temple Premises.

Preparing for Plantation @ Purnachandi Temple Premises.

The students from 4 different schools namely, Balbinod Secondary School, Tri- Padma Higher Secondary School, Prabhat Higher Secondary School and Yashodhara Bouddha Secondary School had joined hands with TGG members, staff of ECCA and members from Tole Sudhar Samitee of respective heritage sites to make the event successful.

The two hour program was completed with lots of activities going on like clean up, loosening up soil, adding fertilizers, planting the saplings and watering them. All the participants gave a very good feedback on this program. All the community members were very happy with the efforts the youth and children have contributed towards the conservation of their local heritage sites. So, they also co-operated and even provided us with extra tools and water for plantation.

So, in a nutshell, the plantation program was successfully able to place 20 new plant pots at Purnachandi Temple while 108 new plant saplings in the old pots at Sauga: Hiti, which has improved the look of these heritage sites. For the sustainability of the impact, the pots were handed over to the community itself for further care of the plants.

Few glimpses of our activities in our Facebook Album.

ECCA honored with NATIONAL CONSERVATION AWARD

On 6th Dec  2014 (Mangsir 20, 2071), ECCA was awarded “Nature Conservation Award” by Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST). The award was handed over by the Chancellor of the Academy and Rt. Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Sushil Koirala.
National Conservation Award

National Conservation Award

On this special moment, the ECCA family expresses gratitude towards NAST, Government of Nepal, government agencies and local government, international and national institutions, schools and nature clubs, other partners, donors, ECCA members, counsellors, volunteers, resource persons, well wishers, and staffs for the continuous efforts, support and encouragement. Certainly, all of you are part of ECCA family and the recognition of ECCA includes all of you as well.
Congratulations to all.

National Conservation Award

National Conservation Award being received by Mr. Yogendra Chitrakar, Director, ECCA.

ECCA Citation Translated in English.

ECCA Citation Translated in English.

ONE SCHOOL ONE HERITAGE – An Initiation towards Heritage Preservation

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In the present context of urbanization and globalization, we are bounded to embrace a bitter truth that our heritage is in deteriorating stage in an alarming rate. Among various reasons, foreign imported cultures are playing an influential role to create a gap in the thinking of the youths in regard the value of our culture and heritages. Hence, in order to sow the importance of heritage in the mind of youth and the community people, ECCA organized a training program on “One School One Heritage” in ECCA Hall on 3-4 November 2014.

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Nineteen energetic youths from different educational background, who are also the TGG members had actively participated in the training program. Experts in the field of Heritage Conservation and Youth Facilitation like Mr. Anil Chitrakar and Mr. Niroj Maharjan were invited to facilitate and interact with the participants during this 2 day’s intensive program. History and stories about the heritage, knowledge and skills required for preserving culture and heritage sites along with many informative discussions energized the participants to work towards the preservation of our local heritage.

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A field visit starting from Banglamukhi Temple in the second day provided a new perspective towards more practical learning and experience in the topics of heritage conservation and preservation. This field tour also helped the youths in developing their skills required to communicate with the local community as interaction with some of the community members were also organized during this trip.

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After an annoying half day field visit in the heritage sites and discussion with the community members, the participants still saved their energy to involve themselves in a group discussion. Keeping the working methodology of ECCA in mind, the participants were divided into various groups and were actively engaged in the discussion and preparation of an action plan on Documentation & Promotion, Visibility, Student Mobilization and Conservation. The action plan prepared the trained youths will be utilized through initiating training and informing school students in order to promote One School One Heritage Program in the schools and the community. In turn, the students will now be working towards conserving and preserving the heritage sites near their school and disseminating the importance and their values.

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Heritages are our identity since many years past. It has been passed on to us from our ancestors. Heritages built centuries earlier are under shade due to their negligence. Through this program we expect that these heritages which are neglected will soon get acknowledged, and the efforts made by youths, students and the community will valued in the long run.

 

Article Contributors: Mr. Angel Chitrakar, Mr. Dipesh Gurung

Drawing the line : Wireless Flood Warning System

Photo Courtesy: AP/PTI

Photo Courtesy: AP/PTI

The monsoon this year did a little more than nurture the crops. Numerous floods swept away hundreds of houses and displaced thousands of people. Many lost their lives and others, a pawn of destiny, were left helpless between a rock and a hard place. The calamity wiped away hope of the people, as they looked for courage and patience for invisible relief amenities from the concerned authorities’. All they had in the name of their houses and properties, were inundated spaces, a cruel joke on their sorry circumstance.

The disaster that people faced this monsoon shouldn’t repeat again. For that, we need to adopt measures that will prevent such unfortunate events and prepare the people from potential calamities from today. Each day we put off doing that means risking the same tragedy again.

People have to be pro-active to save their lives and properties, and because of various circumstances, prevention of such events are still considered ambitious. Preparedness is what we can focus on right now. So ECCA, as an attempt to prepare the locals of Ward 7 and 8 of Mallaj Majhfant VDC of Parbat District in Dhaulagiri zone, is teaming with Li-Bird, to install Community Based Wireless Flood Early Warning System.

Mallaj Majhfant’s ground level is very near to the river water table, which makes it a danger zone for the 250 families living if flood were to come. This system is entirely based on communal activities; the people of Mallaj Majhfant rely on Tatopani, where the sensor would be installed to inform them. So it depends on the residents of both places to be communicative.

This system doesn’t save lives, it only provides the information for which, the people have to stay alert. This system helps in reducing risk by making the community alert before the disaster occurs, providing them enough lead time so that they can save themselves.

This is the first time that such system is going to be installed in Nepal. Already in use in India, the machine has been very efficient and effective to alert the downstream communities of the upcoming flood.

A single minute or a second can draw the line between life and death. With the rise of new technologies, we can hopefully thicken that line.

Passing On a Legacy Through Water Conservation Walk

Water woes is not a new topic to people who are used to seeing every running faucet followed by tens of empty pitcher. Nor can the uses of water be compromised or reduced. Yet, only few answers can be found for its effective management that will solve the problems. Luckily for us, we can learn something from the effective management of water that can be traced in the traditional stone water system of Kathmandu Valley.

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During the Water Walk.

On 26th September 2014, Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) organized water conservation walk in order to aware school students about the water conservation and management in Patan. Out of around 40 students, I led half of them.

Cleaning the stone spout at Lagankhel.

Cleaning the stone spout at Lagankhel.

The program commenced on 9 am with brief introduction of the participants and my fellow guide for the day (Siddhi Bajracharya) and me. After the group division, I led the group to Maharani Fountain with my team of Heritage UNESCO Centre consisting of Binita Khadgi. We provided the participants with a worksheet, which was prepared on the basis of route map where the students were to fill answers. Tasks, observation, briefing about the place and games made up the worksheet, which we hoped would help keep the students on track. The briefing on traditional ponds and stone water spout, their types and their uses were explained to the participant by following the worksheet and sharing various stories and myths of Patan associated with water.

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Result of the signup campaign.

After walking all morning under the sweltering sun, we hoped that the students had some idea about the traditional water management practices in Kathmandu valley and particularly in Patan. I highly recommend children and adults alike to be a part of such walks at least once. We usually take our precious cultural heritages for granted. Knowing about them up-close can inspire one to take care of it.

Text by Niroj Maharjan

Budding hopes for the future: Schools in Southern Lalitpur Use Farming for Income Generation

Nature clubs supported by ECCA have been actively involved in various projects to improve their school and community environment. Students from schools like Shree Bagh Bhairab Higher Secondary in Chaughare, Mahakali Devi Higher Secondary in Bhattedanda and Shree Bidhyadeshwori higher Secondary in Asharng, all in Lalitpur, have been working to generate income for conducting club related activities.

As part of this effort to generate income, students of Bagh Bhairab Nature Club of Shree Bagh Bhairab HSS have been engaged in cardamom farming for the past year. As there are 84 members in the Nature club, the work is equally distributed among them. Although the students have yet to get a harvest, this new and interesting venture has kept the students occupied and dedicated to the cause, which could generate fund for various activities for nature club.

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Shree Bagh Bhairab nature club members showing the cardamom plants.

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Students at the cardamom plantation.

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Students discuss about the plantation.

At Mahakali Devi HSS, banana farming has been initiated to support Bal Batawaran Samuha, the school’s nature club’s internal income generation. For a year now, the club members have dedicated their time and effort expecting a healthy harvest,hoping the income made from this will be enough to cover all the expenses for various activities carried out throughout the year. For the young students who had no previous agricultural knowledge, they have found it to be an enriching experience to be participating in the natural process of growing food.

Mahakali Devi HSS compound.

Mahakali Devi HSS compound.

Banana plantation at Mahakali Devi HSS.

Banana plantation at Mahakali Devi HSS.

Students walk towards the plantation.

Students walk towards the plantation.

Students explaining their plans to visitors.

Students explaining their plans to visitors.

Shree Bidhyadeshowri Nature Club members planned a nursery for plants, including asparagus and mango. Since last year, it has earned them Rs. 2,000, making a significant contribution to the club funds. Making proper use of the available space in the school, it has helped in managing the otherwise wasted land and teaching the students about different plants.

Students at Shree Bidhyadeshowri HSS.

Students at Shree Bidhyadeshowri HSS.

The nursery.

The nursery.

ECCA is providing necessary assistance, financial and otherwise, to the nature clubs. The project in these schools are a part of ECCA and Wilkins Memorial Trust (WMT). Similar projects are being conducted by nature clubs in the respective seven other schools.