Shari Davis & Ellen Currin are InTheField Travelers with GlobalGiving who are visiting our partners’ projects throughout Nepal. Their “Postcard” from their most recent visit in Nepal:
Climbing a rickety wooden ladder, I stepped over some metal and through a small hole to reach the roof of Shree Harisioohi Higher Secondary School. Two students were already waiting for me atop the water tank, ready to show me their daily routine of adding “WATASol” chlorine solution to the school’s water supply. The students were part of the school’s nature club: a student-led group active in environmental and population health, present in 113 schools throughout Nepal. Environmental Camps Conservation Awareness (ECCA) started the clubs in 1992, just one example of their successful programming motivating youth towards environmental conservation and community health. Six of the students from the group sat down with me to go over their current and future programs, which included community dramas about clean water, documentaries in neighboring schools and educating fellow students about healthier snack choices.
Sitting at a table with Angel Chitrakar, it was clear impact ECCA has had on his career. Starting as a volunteer counselor, he has been with the organization for 10 years and is now a senior program officer, helping conduct trainings and develop programs to protect and conserve nature. Angel spoke about two important aspects which have led to ECCA’s success: its target population of children and youth and its focus toward activities versus activism. Angel explained that having an impact on children ensures sustainability for the future and that activities have a greater impact than rallies and protests. He clearly believes in the mission of ECCA and has great hopes for its continued impact in the future.
Before leaving ECCA’s project site, we visited the home of a school graduate, who had been very active in the nature club. Thanks to training from ECCA, he was able to learn how to use a “WATA” device, which produces chlorine to purify drinking water. This bright young man showed us the process of mixing the solution, activating the device, and checking the water quality once the newly-made chlorine solution is added. He produces chlorine daily for use in the school’s water tank, and also sells the “WATASol” product door-to-door in the community, all the while educating the community on the importance of safe drinking water. An entrepreneur and public health advocate, this young graduate is a great example of ECCA’s vision for a healthier future for the people and climate of Nepal.
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