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.

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 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

From a Mother’s Eyes

A fine December afternoon in Durbar Square and I was barely thinking of anything except enjoying the sun. Out of nowhere, a child dressed in traditional nepali attire gunyo-cholo appeared. Her young age and physical features were a deception otherwise the way she presented herself would make anyone think of her as a much matured woman. I was flabbergasted by her flawless act which started gathering attention of people around. I followed her and a bunch of similarly costumed children appeared on the platform.They all talked about issues related to water and health. Some were laden by water-borne diseases, some trying to seek out the solutions. As the act got exciting by each minute, something stroke my mind. I m.jpgbegan thinking of simple issues that I gave myself no time to think before. Questions
brainstormed- “The glass of water I drank at the canteen hurriedly this morning, was it safe enough to drink?”  “Have I been providing my children with pure and germfree water?” “Am I good parent?” “What are the safety determining factors of drinking water?”

I saw the drama team struggle with water-related problems and I realized I knew a solution or two! The children explored a safer world offered by hygienic behaviours and clean water and I realized that safe drinking water being a global issue cannot be veiled by ignorance anymore. Day to day caution is a must to build up progressive health behaviours in oneself. I learnt that simple actions like regular use of WATASOL could contribute to a healthier living.


I snapped out of my thoughts as I heard the crowd clapping. The drama had end. I felt what just happened in front of me was more than just a drama by a bunch of children. It was an act of reminder by conscious members of society trying to guide people like me to a healthier world. Finally I returned home that night with a handful of WATASOLs. I planned on having a talk with my children about drinking water precautions tonight and I knew it would be interesting to introduce them to this disinfectant technique of chlorination/WATASOL!

-Upama Tamla(Rai), ECCA

[With reference to a safe drinking water themed drama performed by Bal Binod Nature Club of Na:tole, Lalitpur in MangalBazaar, Patan, Nepal on December 9, 2015. To support ECCA’s mission of providing ‘Safe Water For Healthy Nepal’ donate us through our Global Giving website.]

 

 

 

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

Empowering communities!

The increasing level of global pollution factors and prevailing ignorance in societies has put health of people in tremendous risk. Besides internal agendas such as immunity level and heredity, a particular community is as healthy as the food and water consumed by its people. Adoption of proper hygiene and sanitation behaviors doesn’t lie too far in this regard.  The growing concept of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is thus being prioritized day by day so as to fetch the attention of people towards living a healthy life.

On one hand, ECCA has been conducting public awareness programs where as on the other, it has also been grooming communities to work together for prevention of possible health hazards. Regular programs on safe drinking water, personal and menstrual hygiene, health and sanitation are conducted from time to time which can contribute towards bringing positive behavior changes in people. Not only theoretical discussions but actual trainings on water disinfection techniques such as chlorination, uses of WATASOL etc. are provided regularly by trained counselors and staffs.

This is how WATASOL works!
Letting them know how WATASOL works!

The latest training was conducted in Tanke VDC, Kavre in coordination with iDE (International Development Enterprises) on September 9, 2015. With the help of devices provided by ECCA and Antenna Technologies, local members of Community Water User Group(CWUG)  were taught about chlorinator, Coliform tests, FRC (Free Residual Chlorine) tests and chlorine quality control. Interaction on food hygiene and hand washing techniques were highly appreciated. “In our village we have the habit of drinking water directly without any purification measures. But after we attained a positive Coliform test today, we realized we had been drinking impure water all along” said BaidhyaNath Sapkota,  treasurer of CWUG .

Rita Sigdel learning to use a measuring cylinder
Ms.Rita Sigdel learning to use a measuring cylinder
Coliform test inspected later in the lab
Coliform test inspected later in the lab

“But that is not going to happen any longer. Now that we have been introduced to water purification technology i.e. chlorinator, we are going to drink chlorinated water from now on. What is even more wonderful is that we can produce chlorine by ourselves. We are really thankful to  ECCA and iDE for introducing this new technology to us.” added Rita Sigdel, one of the participants. The overall programme proved to be very fruitful and even the energy of the participants was a motivating factor for the organizers.

Representative of iDE (left) handing over WATASOLs to the president of CWUG
Representative of iDE (left) handing over WATASOLs to the president of CWUG

A group photo at the end!

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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