Reflecting Back to Mentorship: Six months under Guidance

 

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                                The world is changing relatively faster than expected. The growing market of job is competitive and full of talent, where failing once means losing your job. The professional life is tough already, and its graph is increasing day by day. There are hundreds of professional coming out yearly with honed skills, talents and world life exposure. You cannot be left behind bewildering other progress.

                          Traditionally, the best way to learn was to find better master and be his/her apprentice. The evolving education system changed everything developing systematic progress of student to professional life. That does not mean need of mentorship/apprenticeship is bygone things. Still mentorship is considered best way to sharpening skills before you fail or simply learning by others failure. Your life is too short to fail on every step and learn from failure.

                           I got chance to be part of WWF Nepal The Generation Green Mentorship Program Batch 2 under mentor Anil Chitrakar (Social Entrepreneur). Along with me six others participated on this journey of six months. The main idea was to work one various creative project related to environment conservation, renewable energy use, 3R principle, wildlife conservation, and other several creative solutions. As we came from different background of study, it was hard for us to manage time for meeting and finalize our idea.

                    We were lacking confidence even we had ideas in mind, that’s where mentor guided us. He showed us light beyond tunnel and believed in our ideas. Every idea will work if you have courage to pursue them. These words still echo my ear and motivate me daily. Instead of focusing on single idea we tried cluster of idea as we had limited time of 6 months, so our ending point of idea would be starting point for upcoming groups.

                                 The main objective of our project was to establish a culture with a system of recycling, reusing and reducing of waste (food, plastic, paper, rubber & water). The basic task was to help in the conversion of low – end input waste into high value output. We helped to facilitate and bridge gap between waste utilizing institutions by innovative alternatives to appropriate potential market by designing ergonomically viable products as such:

1. Reusing Rubber Tire by Giving Aesthetic Values for Parks, Schools and Communal area.

                       The tire has been real issue as it cannot be recycled (economically at low scale in country like Nepal) or reduced but can only be re-used. We had re-used tire by integrating them into environment. They were used as flower pots for large plants, swings in garden or home, decoration by giving colors. We identified certain schools formed Eco-Clubs or youth clubs with whom we worked so that the sustainability of the project will not be an issue if local young people will take care of it.

Figure. Tire Gardening at Shree Janajyoti Secondary School, Banepa 

Figure. Tire Gardening and Orientation at Sainik School, Pokhara 

Figure.  Tire Gardening and Orientation at Ratna Rajya School, Kathmandu

2. Advocated use of recycled Plastic Bags into Ropes or Fibers for Agricultural Support:

                        We helped to recycle/reuse plastic bags as rope and it was provided as sample to farmers. This was done through the re-use of plastic bags by making ropes or fibers from them. The ropes can be used for making various green house, support for vegetable growth, building birdcage, temporary shelter and even making fences. The high strength plastic rope and fibers will come in handy for farmers for daily use.

3. Encouraging institutions for Creative use of Paper:

                     Paper is widely used for various purposes like printing records, brochures and leaflets. Reduce use of paper, printing on both sides of paper and promotion of e-communication was encouraged. On joint collaboration with Women’s Dream Multipurpose Ltd we made pencil out of sample old newspaper and encouraged such initiatives from other organizations.

Figure. Training and Sample Old Newspaper Pencil, Kathmandu

 4. Rain Water Harvesting

                         Due to ongoing water crisis and larger number of family residing in small houses, it was very difficult to fulfill the water need in household use. So, being a researcher in watershed management, Mr. Laxman Shrestha had constructed a very simple yet a very effective way to use the rainwater. We conducted interview to share his noble idea for public use.

Figure. Mentees interviewing Mr. Laxman Shrestha about Rain Water Harvesting 

THE LESSONS

                         Indeed six months mentorship has been great journey of my life. We were able to work on ideas generated by us. We could see transformation on ourselves as well as we felt that our activities made some level of contribution and influence on society. We were lucky enough to travel various parts of Nepal. We made lifetime friends and created memory. Plus we learnt about professionalism, discipline, time management and respect of fellow team member.

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Figure. The TEAM (YOUTH FOR CHANGE NEPAL)

                  I would like to provide note of thanks for Mr. Anil Chitrakar (Mentor), Ms. Shikha Gurung (WWF Nepal) and Mr. Dipesh Gurung (ECCA Nepal). It was pleasure to work with you guys: Anisha Adhikari (MBA), Bina Kharel (MBA), Nabina Gurung (Developmental Study), Senha Shakya (Engineer + MBA), Subina Shrestha (Developmental Study) and Sunwi Maskey (Environmental Study). Cheers!!!

Figure. Team Member Briefing About Project Impacts and Progress

Figure. Closing of Program. Team Member with Amrit Gurung 

Media Coverage: We are glad our work was shared on online (Glocal Khabar) and print (MyRepublica) media. Please follow link for more information.

Glocal Khabar: Old Tire Gardening By Youth For Change Nepal 

My Republica:The Generation Green: Teaching youth about nature, conservation and more

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A walk to Remember: Journey to Listhikot VDC (Chang Ching Village)

                     Travel is one of best way to learn things and explore beyond comfort zone. The less travelled road, after major Earthquake Nepal 2015, left Araniko Highway connecting Kodari to Kathmandu sees fewer commuters. After postponing my trip to Listhikot VDC for several times due to roadblock, it was finally decided to pack bag and hit the highway. After 5 hours of bus ride from Old bus park of Kathmandu we reached Barabise around 5:30pm in evening. As heavy and daily rainfall had brought several landslides blocking road access to Listhikot. So we decided to pursue journey following day hoping roadblock will be clear next day.

                  Ironically there was heavy downpour last night, which completely ruined our plan to travel by bus. We planned to go via any vehicle to Nayapool and then hitchhike uphill to Chang Ching (a village among several village of Listhikot VDC). It was early morning so there was less chance of getting any vehicle, as vehicle plying had reduced significantly after closure of Lasha border. We asked lift for every passing vehicle finally our luck turned out, we got lift from a truck-carrying quarry for ongoing hydropower project at Chaku. (Middle Bhotekoshi Hydropower Project) After an hour journey we reached at Nayapool at 7:00 am. We passed through Nayapool, a spot for bungee jumping and other various adventurous activities hosted by The Last Resort.

                       The uphill journey through fallen houses, temporary shelter of people and terrible sheds for animal brought chill on us. It felt like no presence of any authority or government in vicinity. The uphill walk made us so exhausted we had to make several stops and we ran out of water, which made journey more arduous. The steep hill, heat of sun and lack of water made walk difficult. After 3 hours of walk we reached first house of uphill village. We asked for water, owner of house very generously provided clean water (filtered water) for drinking. He expressed his grievances after earthquake, the losses and tragedies he had to go through.

                 Personally I found him quite traumatic and his odd behavior expressed those fear and anxiety. He said still he couldn’t sleep inside his house at night so generally he prefers sleeping in open space at smooth surface in uphill area. There have been repeated landslides, fracturing of land mass and majority of water sprouts around village area have been dried up. We could witness his saying when we roamed around village.

                     After few minutes walk from his house we reached our final destination Chang Ching village. The main aim was to inspect community kitchen made in Buddhist Gumba for approval of budget from government as fellow traveller was appointed as Civil Engineer in charge for re construction and rehabilitation in Listhi VDC. The journey provided very insightful things, difficulties at grass root level and presence of resentment about state. It came to light people are affected more as there is no income as Lasha border is closed as working as seller or vendor and purchasing daily goods for livelihood. Now they do not have proper shelter to live in, jobs to work and are purchasing Indian goods at higher rate.

                   This journey made me realized ground reality of many Nepalese life from ground zero up.

Checking Emissions

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                                 Nepal imports all of its fossil fuel for transportation, Liquid Petroleum gas for cooking and hydrogen fuels for airplanes. The country is also heavily dependent on foreign country for procuring vehicles. There are various stages of emissions generated by vehicles by type of engine they are equipped with, so accordingly they are categorized for rural or urban use. The different countries have different types of emissions standard based on pollution generation and assimilation of same in particular environment. The petrol engine powered vehicles produce less smoke as diesel engine due to some extent of complete combustion.

                            Hulas Motors is sole automobile manufacturing house of Nepal enjoying monopoly in domestic markets. The hulas jeeps being used for off road transportation on rugged and rural terrain may not have significance of emissions as city counterpart do. But there should be certain standard employed to check emission. Mostly vehicles are imported form India, China and rarely few other countries. There are distinction on emission level on both countries. In India Bharat Stage I, II, III, IV, V are emission level attached with chassis of vehicles when they are manufactured. According to population and pollution level of city various stages vehicle are granted permission to operate. The green sticker on vehicle provide status after emission testing whether particular vehicle can run on city or not. The crowded capital city of India: Delhi has strict regulation for such. The use of CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) , electric vehicles are on rise replacing fossil based transportation which is raising grim hope for cleaner & greener city.

                              There will be day once we will completely switch from fossil fuel to clean energy. But at one time giant step is not possible at any cost. The emission is not so much regulated in Nepal. The century old bus, trucks, cars, vans and others are plying on roads sputtering thick smoke and grunting sound. The mandatory green sticker has been game play for acquiring with corruption and connection. There is authority to regulate, look after implementation but they turn blind eye with excuses and blames. The challenges lies on both end of policy executer as well as users. The regulatory bodies should check, verify old vehicles. The replacement of such vehicles is to be done by clean energy powered vehicles. This will be gradual phase of replacing fossil fuel based vehicle once at a time.

                         This will take time but it is only viable solution in present context. There will be complete emission check when we replace all fossil fuel based vehicle with clean energy based. The introduction of e-rickshaw, Safa tempo, electric cars like Mahindra Reva, Tera scooters and many ;such are good gesture to indicate change is coming, slowly and progressively. The government should welcome such initiatives with right supportive policy framework. The conscious level of public is also increasing which will make such project more sustainable with visible impacts. This will help for generation of cleaner, greener and eco-friendly Nepal.

Photo Source: www.tandbmotors.com

YOUTH TRAINING ON PROJECT INITIATIVE by ECCA

                                    Environmental Camp for Conservation Awareness , organization working for bringing changes on environment by nurturing young minds, training youths as trainer, implementing clean energy to changing mindset of people for sustainable growth and development of local level. The ECCA has been regularly providing training and facilitating various programs.

                                 Youth Training On Project Initiative was training of youth to be trainer. The main objective was to produce capable youths trainer of 20 people so that they will be equipped enough to train youths, children and stake holders of school in various part of Dolakha.

                                                                 Day 1

Introduction of ECCA by Mr. Dipesh Gurung

                The session briefed about ECCA’s mission, vision and initiatives. The proud history of ECCA as independent and influential organization. The contribution and changes it brought in society were highlighted.

Activities and Current Projects orientation by Mr. Bipin Shrestha

       The session provided us details about current activities and projects that ECCA was going through. The initiatives like solar tuki project, Improved Cooking Stove, Envirolift cook stove, various school environment program, empowering local youths activities and many more.

School And Schooling – Mr. Birendra Khadka

              The difference between school and schooling were discussed. The structure of schooling and role of teachers, parents, student and stakeholders were elaborated.

Result Based Management, Appreciative Inquiry and Introduction to vision, Mission, Goal, objective, Activities – Mr. Siddhi Bajrachyra

             The session provided detail information about result based management approach(Participatory and team based management, effectiveness & sustainability, accountability, changed in behaviors and livelihood of beneficiaries ) and appreciative inquiry(co-operative search for the best in people, their organizations, and relevant world ; discoveries of what gives life to a living system ).

                                                                      Day 2

Domains of Concern, Expenditure and Structure of School – Mr. Birendra Khadka

Personal Visioning – Mr. Siddhi Bajrachyra

Explains the status of Finnish schools & Difficulties in Nepali Education system – Ms. Lydia

First Aid Principles And Practice – Dr. Hangsha Limbu & Dr. Hom Bahadur Gurung

                                                                        Day 3

Social Audit -Mr. Birendra Khadka

Strategic and Constructive Visioning for school – Mr. Siddhi Bajrachyra

WASH session – Mr. Rabindra Khatri

 

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.

“Jalbayu ka Kura”

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           “The world is dynamic.”, it was said by my environmental teacher in school which resonates in canvass of my memory since then. Sometime I ponder, Are we such dynamic? Are we so mad at changing world? Why we always look for development without its implication? Are we shameless & reckless in saving mother earth? Are we even serious about climate change? Only we are supposed to talk not act. The myriad of questioning, self satisfying answers and baseless hypothesis used to come in my mind. Education is change maker, I used to doubt on it. But after been educated, I am not only aware of burgeoning development across world but also consequences brought by them on nature as well human life. I am aware, I participate, I want change to come in thought and action. I want to see visible change not in future but also in present.

                  The climate change is most debated topic. Many believe it is happening and other argue that we are utilizing resources within earth, produce from earth so climate change is hoax. Its simply to let people remain in fear and benefit certain particular corporate sectors, INGO’s, NGO’s and environmentalist. There are always propaganda, conspiracy theories to distort facts and to left common people in bewilderment.Whatever may be side of coin, but change are visible and its happening rapidly then calculated rate. So Climate Change is happening, it can be felt and results are visible.

                          Climate change is not entirely anyone’s fault. But it will be everyone’s mis-happening if it is not abated soon enough. Many resources which are taken as granted by us will be history for forth coming generations. The developed nation, developing nation as well underdeveloped nation will be facing similar problem but mitigation may vary as richer will at least have chance to face it more, as of advanced technologies and facilities. The rapid population increment, depletion rate of fossil fuel & emission’s, haphazard industrial development, unmanaged urbanization, mismanagement of waste, negligence in developmental works, carbon mishandling and others. Lets not focus on problem, but concentrate on solution. The solution is commitment for change, to divert from current path to greener and innovative approaches of solving problems, clear ways of mitigation & adaptation based. There is no single solution to reduce climate change but mutual co-operation and goals are essential, no matter how much diverse nations of world might be in political system, geography, culture, religion. This is single opportunity to forget yester years doubt, mending relations and move forward for global goals for attaining distinct climate control goal.

                  Nepal, a mountainous country, blessed by natural diversity, perennial rivers, glaciers, mountains, lakes, proudly hosting tourism as one of major occupation will be in disastrous effect. The changes are already visible as snow clad mountains are fading off, frequent avalanches, snow lake burst off, dry & wet landslide are happening in enormous rate. Likewise, altogether 14 glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs).have happened between 1935 & 1991 in Nepal. In total, 21 GLOFs have been identified as being potentially dangerous at present. In this way, CC and livelihoods integral part and have vice versa relationship. The low income & subsistence users are about 38% of total population Nepal lies below the poverty line have hard time to afford for their livelihoods in Nepal. That is a great challenge to cope with climate change induced hazard & extreme events. The livelihoods of more than 80% local people of hilly region are heavily depending on climate sensitive area such as agriculture, forest and livestock and on other natural resources such as water & irrigation.

                 Scientific statements regarding changing climate of Nepal are pronouncedly focused on temperature rise at the rate of 0.06°C per annum. Such a rise in average temperature is variable across the country, being higher in the mountains and Himalaya (0.08°C) as compared to low-lying terai (0.04°C). Climate change scenarios indicate that warming at higher elevations will lead to a reduction in snow and ice coverage, which in turn will lead to an increase in the frequency of climate-related disasters, including floods and droughts, as well as cause changes in precipitation at a regional scale. Changing climate will also likely shift the geographic range of crop pests, weeds, and diseases , as well as plant pathogen life cycles, requiring new crop management strategies . This justifies the strong need of understanding climate change at the regional scale and its relationship with socio-economic and biophysical context in order to develop mitigation and adaptation programs and minimize the risk at farm level in mountain region of Nepal.

Act of silence will lead us nowhere. Even if we speak it wont matter much what is prime issues are action. How much we are able to act bring impacts before its too late. The good story is, we are not being mute spectator of fading history of earth but we are enabling to re-write one. The children are aware, youth are taking action and experts are working for finding optimal solution for checking climate change issues. The clean technologies, which were barely in experimentation few years back are greatly replacing traditional one, reducing carbon emission, providing energy access to urban settlement to rural livelihood. The dependability on fossils fuel have decrease significantly in industrial, automotive, and other sector. People are caring the environment they live in. The organization working in clean energy, environment, developmental works, policy planning are empowering youths, youths in turn are being harbinger of change in country. We not only care but want to see changes happening. Still there are vacuum to fill and bridge to built. The Bagmati clean campaign, Hariyo ban initiative, community forest, rural energy access, micro-hydro development, green entrepreneurship, clean energy like solar, wind, hydropower are few to name best implemented or are in the phase of implementation. The mass awareness campaign is slowly helping us to shape our current generations and change their attitude towards climate change. The individuals are more clear about their roles, responsibilities and action that can help to reduce impacts of climate change.

                       There is still long way to go to reduce impacts of climate change. The right policy, governmental support at national level will not be able to completely solve it, But commitment as well as participation of international community should be towards nation like Nepal where still large population are under poverty who really have to think for next day meal. The rural community should be empowered where solution for climate change will not only generate environmental values but also helps in socio-economic generations. The approach should be bottom up and vice versa. The solution should encompass all geographical regions, caste, creed, ethnicity and propel towards greater human, environment relations which has to be win win solution for both. There has to be development of mutual existence, growth and harmony between nature , natural resources and humans.

 

Reference

1. Mool, PK; Bajracharya, SR; Joshi, SP (2001)Inventory of Glaciers, glacial lakes, glacial lake outburst floods monitoring and early warning system in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region, Nepal. Kathmandu, Nepal:ICIMOD

2. Dahal, H., Pokhrel, M. and Pandey, B., (2011) National Adaptation Program of Actions to Climate Change: Food Security and Agro-Biodiversity Management in Nepal. Paper presented in Special Information Seminar of CGRFA-13 on Climate Change and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: State of Knowledge, Risks and Opportunities, FAO, Rome, 16 July 2011, Red Room (A-121)

 

3. Gautam, A. K. and Pokhrel, S. (2010) Climate change effects on agricultural crops in Nepal and adaptation measures. Presented in Thematic Working Group (agriculture and food security) meeting, Feb 23rd, 2010, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Photo Source : https://www.living-water.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/earth-globe1.jpg

Community Built by Community : A story from Pharping

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                   A community outskirts of Kathmandu valley with slight uphill and downhill bumpy roads gets connected to capital proudly exhibits its communal innovations and ownership. A model town recently turned into municipality encompasses sense of oneness, co-operation, mutual benefits and desperate need to catch up with development. The traditionally Newari town is slowly accepting all kinds of caste’s along with burgeoning Buddhist among hillside periphery is truly reflected with chants and bustling monks. Slowly and steadily globalization is engulfing life and people want to see changes within their tenure. The local leaders, developmental workers, intellectuals, social workers share their story with us, the locality they envisioned, the hardship they fought for to bring such beauty and changes in town and challenges for further.

                              TUDE (Tourism Development Endeavor) a parent organization nurturing “ I am power shifter” campaign for Global Power Shift Nepal (a initiative supported by 350.org) helps to break glass between power shifter and local experts. The venue which witnessed this conversation was none other than “ A school for community” Sheshnarayan – 4, Pharping. We were so glad to hear and share our cause. The struggle, contribution and changes made by Niraj Shrestha (Developmental worker and Principal of School) and Sashi Sharma Aryal (Former Principal, V.D.C Secretary and Local Developmental expert) really inspired us. We were glad that we would also contribute to some extent in community to lead it as model community.

                                       We took tour around community school, community hospital and community centre named Shikharpur Sustainable Farmers School. The community farmer school was real piece of innovation and triggered me so much as it was build out of alcohol bottles left around Dakisnkali temple premises. The bottles were used as bricks mixed with locally available mud (mud + hays mix). The roof was covered by locally available hays. The centre was built by foreigners and local people’s active participation as farmers school. The various skill generating trainings are conducted periodically in house to empower local community and plant seed for socio-economic improvement of locals. The resource centre itself includes creative and innovative ways for solid waste management area, ground water recharge system and organic farming. The farmers school excited our hopes and enthusiasm.

                            We roamed around city peering through various Newar communities settlement, temples, stupas and playing grounds. Finally leading to holy shrine of Dakinsinkali, what intrigued us was how improperly solid waste were squandered without thinking environmental degradation, lets forget about how much values could be generated. The stinking, sharp smell caught our nose. We had no choice except to cover our mouths, mentally we thought solution for them.

                                              This was reason why power shifter were on town. We had planned to make random sampling about waste management of underprivileged village where it will be harbinger of change and generate values out of waste. As per discussion with rural experts in Chautari of KOPU (a most back ward village on ward no 6 of Daisnkali Municipality) was the location where power would to shift. As early morning downhill with Mr. Sharma took us to Chautari discussion and random list of 25 houses were selected for survey with local participation. The data are under review, soon power shifter team will be moving to Pharping for actual power shift i.e managing and equipping local who will be good enough to handle local waste for environmental, social and economic values.

My Learning:

  • To work as individual and team member motivating, leading and following

  • To interact with experts, team’s and local people

  • To brief, update and channelize team vision

  • To travel (see, believe, learn and share )

  • To make deep imprint on canvass of my memory of place, people food as a whole to change mindset

Photo Credit: Sanjay 

The Old Tire Gardening Project : A shift in Trend

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                         Ratna Rajya Higher Secondary school, located in midst of new and old Baneshwor is changing its chaotic environment with plants planted on beautified tires. The school humming with students all over its complex, also housing many temples within premises was perfect location to show case our initiative, so that public could see and learn values of old tires. This was planned as per proposal submission and earlier site visits so we could increase our reach to greater mass.

                                  This was last chance to showcase our activities of old tire gardening and awareness initiative as men-tees and maiden within Kathmandu valley. We were always trying to do things differently. As we matured as professional in tire gardening, side wise we wanted to train youths form school so we requested four volunteers from school which principal mam accepted graciously. We managed to include four volunteers with equal male and female participation. The major task to include volunteers was to train, nurture and give them hands on learning so they will be able to implement similar concept in other location in future and will help in sustainability of project in school.

                                    The tires were carried from Balaju area to Baneshwor. The team lead for this project was done by Bina Kharel. The space constrained pushed us to reduce tire to twenty five. The event started with as usual by washing of tire, drying them up. In between we went for plants in nearby nursery. As we had restriction of mud so we had to purchase to fill old tire vase.

                                 Once tire were dried, they were painted by team member as well as volunteers. At later hours, the event was attended by Mr. Dipesh Gurung form ECCA Nepal. The event was co-ordinated and effectively handled by all team mates. We really took lead, connected dots and came as single one who were desperately trying to generate values out of waste. On parallel event with tire gardening Subina (Our Team Lead) gave well articulated presentation which was hugely praised by great round of applause. Finally it was a day well spent by all members.