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.

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.]

 

 

 

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.]

 

Nature Club Calls for Community Alarm

“The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”-Branden

kOn November 6, 2015 Bal Binod Nature Club of Bal Binod Secondary School, Natole conducted a door to door program regarding WATASOL as an onstage community awareness practice. The main objective of the program was to analyse the concept of people and convince them to adopt simple way of purifying water through chlorination.

“We visited 32 houses altogether in Natole and Purna Chandi where we talked to them about their current status of drinking water. We found that maximum of people were satisfied with the quality of water they receive in their day to day life,” said Som Tamang, president of the nature club. . “So it was not easy to tell them that the drinkable looking water could still contain harmful pathogenic microbes”, he added.

Along with making people aware about the water related hazards, the team also distributed WATASOLs to the houses. The program, which took place under the monitoring of Manisha Godar, Sara Byanjankar and  Shailena Sthapit from ECCA,  was productive and “a perfect community outreach methodology” as told by the club members. “We are grateful to ECCA for letting us know about these things. It is only with your guidance that we’ve attempted  to come this far,” said Tamang before the team concluded the program.

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Empowering women in Jajarkot

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Dalli Sahi from BalJyoti Mahila Samuha who is currently involved in goat farming

Jajarkot is one of the least-developed districts of Nepal with Human Development Index HDI value of just 0.373. The outbreak of cholera in 2009 that claimed lives of 129 people and attacked 12,500 people shows the backwardness of the district in terms of health awareness and facilities. Lack of basic infrastructures such as transportation and electricity directly acts as a serious hindrance in daily lives of people. Punma Village Development Committee (VDC) which is located in the north-west from Jajarkot district headquarter; Khalanga, has majority number of male population migrating abroad or lower regions of Terai for laborious work that leaves only women to tackle with economic burden of the house. Moreover, their poor knowledge on child nutrition and sanitation had constantly made them victims of epidemy such as cholera .

Thus to help women improve their economy and nutrition knowledge ECCA established four  women groups(Mahila Samuha) in four places of Punma which were named as BalJyoti Mahila Samuha, Kimeri Mahila  Samuha, Laliguras Mahila Samuha and SuryaJyoti Mahila Samuha. 92 women were given training on various subjects that were thought to be necessary.  Realizing the need of water purification in the community, chlorination devices were distributed and members of the group were taught about safe and affordable water purifying technology of chlorination plus WATASOL production. They were further made aware of many water-borne diseases such as cholera itself and how they can avoid such diseases through drinking purified water. Home gardening was one of the main highlights of the project. Along with providing skills on vegetable farming, the members were provided with different seeds support. Furthermore, they were given training on saving and credit management as a result of which women have already started a monthly saving scheme.  Besides revolving fund support, the members are also allowed to receive the saving amounts collected in the form of credit after their request for gets approved by the group. This has helped to build the confidence of women to go forward for income generating activities like grocery shop, buffalo/goat farming, vegetable farming and poultry.

“Being involved in women group has changed my life. I wasn’t used to saving money. To begin with, I barely had any to invest. But now it’s different. By taking loan, I have grasped agriculture and animal husbandry as a source for my livelihood. I have managed to pay back the loan slowly and even have 1600 rupees in my saving accounts till now”, Dalli Sahi of BalJyoti Mahila Samuha happily shares.

We would like to thank Kinder MISSIONSWERK(Germany), Caritas Nepal and all our supporters for helping us bring positive change in the lives of people in Jajarkot.

Re-strengthening Nature Clubs; An account on refresher training on chlorinator


ECCA
has been guiding many students and IMG_2427children to form and operate nature clubs in their schools and communities. Nature clubs include a group of young and willing youths who work for establishing an eco-friendly school and community environment. Besides focusing on activities like establishing herbal gardens, they are also trained to maintain school decorum for improving their hygiene status, conduct varieties of other programmes such as intra-school competitions and even community outreach programs involving health issues.  Along with many WASH related responsibilities, the clubs are also assigned to make effort for providing safe drinking water to the whole school. With partner organizations such as Antenna Technologies Foundation, ECCA has been providing equipments for chlorination (a water disinfectant technique) so that the nature clubs can produce WATASOL themselves and bring it into use.

As each club welcomes new members every year, ECCA has also made provisions to provide interactive refresher training frequently with an objective to give them a detailed theoretical and practical knowledge regarding the proper use of chlorinator and the benefits they can acquire from it. In such manner, the efficiency of nature club in regular production and use of chlorine is increased and this naturally brings a decrease in possible water-borne health hazards ensuring a safer living environment for students and community as well. Since the recent earthquake has further led to making the issue of drinking water more sensitive, it is even more necessary to prioritize this sector of health.

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Manisha Godar guides a student to test free chlorine in Oracle English Medium School

“Training is a part of building yourself stronger and more confident in what you aim to do. It doesn’t matter how many times you take the same training, you have to perceive it as a new topic every time so that you can take more into you. This way you clear any doubts that might arise in the future, isn’t it?” said Manisha Godar from ECCA who regularly facilitates refresher training in schools.

“The status of drinking water in my community is not that good and I have always wanted to do something about it. Now, I feel capable of producing WATASOL on my own and the convince the people in my community to use it for safer health”, responded one of the participants of Oracle English Medium School  after a refresher training program held there in October 1.”Thank you ECCA for always supporting young students like us.” He added with a smile.

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!

ASCOL Science Exhibition

On the occasion of 58th ASCOL day, one of the biggest science exhibition was conducted by Amrit Science Campus (ASCOL) in co-ordination with Ministry Of Science and Technology on Ashwin 1st and 2nd, 2072 B.S. ASCOL premise warmly welcomed participants from renowned organizations like Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Hamri Bahini, Himalayan Climate Initative etc and also from colleges like Padma Kanya Multiple Campus and National Institute of Science and Technology. Participants displayed different materials and provided the brochures they had. Including them, we, the students of Bsc. 3rd year studying at ASCOL took part in the exhibition with the support of ECCA (Environmental Camps For Conservation Awareness). Our chief objective was to make the visitors aware about contents of WASH(Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and help them understand how their interrelationship contributes towards healthier living.  Along with exhibiting the materials related to water purification i.e. Tulip Water Filter, WATASOL, and WATA devices, we also shared information about their usage, advantages and working mechanism. We gave detailed information regarding WATASOL; a chlorine containing liquid that purifies water. About 350 visitors visited the stall during the two days period. Throughout the programme we held active interactions with the visitors and we received positive responses as expected.

We are thankful to Department of Environmental Science of ASCOL for providing an opportunity to share our knowledge. Likewise, we are thankful towards the visitors for making the program successful.  Most of all, we are thankful towards ECCA for its coordination and support without which this success would have never been impossible.

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-Aashish Maharjan, ECCA volunteer

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