Development of Eco-Club Strategic Analysis, and Education Package for Terai Arc Landscape (TAL), for WWF Nepal Program.
After studying the schools and institutions where various clubs for environmental activities took place, the CEEN developed a long-term strategy for WWF Nepal Program to undertake and expand the programs in other schools in different districts. The document was able to help WWF Nepal program to develop further environmental education programs. This project was done soon after CEEN was established.
Later, an education package with ten themes was developed for schools lying along the corridor in the Terai Arc Landscape. The package has a lot of activities for students to carry out and identify issues, with guidelines to disseminate the same to the larger audience for wider awareness.
The CEEN extended its expertise in the training for teachers organized by the central zoo for two times. The training was able to inform the teachers on conservation education and the way this element could be integrated in subjects like science, social studies and other related subjects.
Public campaigns, exhibitions, and competitions.
The CEEN has been able to organize various campaigns, cleanup activities and competitions among the school teachers, students and staff. Art competition on environmental theme, zoo clean up and temple cleanup activities were organized. Greetings cards were made from the selected art pieces with environmental messages.
Development of resource materials-handouts including a documentary film on Dragonflies.
David Welton came to Nepal in 2005 under the travelling fellowship program from Winston Churchill in the UK, mainly to develop a documentary on dragonflies. The CEEN was involved very much in it making, using school students from grade seven of Shuvatara International/School. Workshops for students were organized and the film was shot in different locations, including Solukhumbu area. Kutumba, a popular musical group offered their music to be included in the film as the background music. The film also got an award in the new comer category in the Llemberi Mountain film Festival in Wales in 2005. Please follow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP1yuOG6QzU for the documentary.
Community School Support Program.
With support from Oyster Worldwide, two schools at Lakuri Bhanjyang in Lalitpur were given a small support. At Basuki school, science lab equipment were given, and at Phedi school, fencing was provided for the school. This helped both the schools to have a better education. Similarly, a Vedic school in Chhaling, Bhaktapur, was provided with books, musical instruments, warm clothes, basic furniture and emergency torches, to help the students to be at comfort.
An Action Research Project
A project titled, “Involving Schools and Communities in Environmental Care and Sustainable Socio-economic Development” supported by Rufford Small Grants Foundation, UK, was implemented in five community schools at Lamatar. The teachers were trained to do community study and identify the issues and ways to resolve the issues. The students were excited to learn many things through research work, which was an extension of their regular curriculum. Please follow the link: https://www.facebook.com/ceen1999/videos/1172917712727193/ for watching the documentary about the project.
Training for Community Learning Centre
The CEEN developed a training module for instructors from ten selected Community Learning Centres (CLCs) from around the country, supported by the National Commission for UNESCO. The same was implemented for three days in the form of workshop for around 25 instructors.
Community Development Project
With support from Future for Nepal, a one year community development education project was implemented successfully in two schools of Lamatar, Lalitpur. The teachers were trained and the students did a lot of research on their community. They organized theatre and a grand exhibition where Prof. Xia Xi from the University was the chief guest. She was impressed with the work the children did. This project, though with small funding, brought about a great change in the way the children learnt from research methods.
With the experience from education program in community schools, with support from Helvetas Intercooperation Nepal, the CEEN launched a four year pilot Climate Change Adaptation Education Program in 13 schools of Ramechhap and Sindhupalchok district, between June 2011-June 2015. The same was extended to two schools in Dailekh, as an education support to the WARM-P project of Helavetas, and with one school in Rupendehi district with River Bed Farming of Helvetas Nepal. Please follow the link: https://www.facebook.com/ceen1999/videos/1548525691833058/ to watch the documentary on the project.
The brief project report is as follows:
Climate Change Adaptation: Education to Action!
Environmental issue today is a global issue, faced by everyone. Among all, today climate change has become the main agenda in any global environmental forum. Climate change impacts are felt more in countries where the people are illiterate, poor and live in vulnerable places. Unfortunately Nepal falls in one of the most vulnerable areas of this planet. Hence, Nepal is ranked 4th in terms of environmental vulnerability among all the countries of the world (IPCC). Situated in the southern slopes of the great Himalayan range, Nepal has started facing catastrophic incidents where lives of hundreds are lost every year with heavy losses on property, land and cattle. These types of incidents never seem to reduce and lessen, but every day we are beginning to face new challenges. The government of Nepal, following IPCC mandatory policy, has begun its task of addressing this grave issue at two levels. At the national level, it has framed the National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA), another at VDC level named as Local Adaptation Plan of Action (LAPA).
Although Nepal has a very little global share in terms of carbon emission (0.025%)-(IPCC), yet it has to face all the hard times due to the carbon and other green house gas emitted by rich, developed and industrialized nations. Therefore, there is no full justice on Nepal’s efforts for any mitigation measures. The only choice left for Nepal is to increase the capacity of the people to adapt to the changed situation and to increase their resilience. Efforts by government and I/NGOs to this effect is expected to take long. Thus, climate change today has become the greatest global challenge in the history of mankind.
In order to address this grave issue in an integrated manner, using local schools as entry points to reach out the communities, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Nepal started a pilot project in June 2011 that ended in June 2015. The project was jointly conceived with Centre for Environment Education Nepal (CEEN), as the latter had gained a good experience on this kind of approach. The main goal of the project was “to provide a model of increased resilience to the negative impacts of climate change among rural population in the working districts of Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation with two basic objectives; educating young people (students) to take active roles in improving the adaptive capacity of the community and take action on climate change awareness and adaptation; and sensitizing local farmers at risk to become aware of climate risks and opportunities, plan and adopt measures to increase their adaptive capacity against climate vulnerability and hazards. In this the students were expected to become keen observers of local problems and issues, analysers of situations and risks; designers and implementers of projects; participants in community decision-making and development; communicators of risks, their causes and management options; mobilisers of resources and people; constructors of social networks.
The CEEN was given the responsibility to implement this project. Hence, Ramechhap district was chosen for piloting the project, being the nearest among the three working districts of Helvetas in eastern cluster, where three schools and communities were selected after consultation with district education officials and respective schools. Nilkantheshowr HS School in Kathajor VDC, Buddha Janapriya MaVi and Jhatteshowr HS School at Dhobi in Nagdaha VDC piloted this project from August 2011.
The teachers teaching Science, Social Studies, Environmental, Population and Health (EPH), English and Nepali from these selected schools were trained to extend the relevant lessons from these subjects, and encouraged the students to investigate and explore the past environmental condition with that of the present, thereby enabling them to perceive the possible future trends on rainfall patterns, water sources, flowering time, sowing and harvesting time, appearance and disappearance of birds, plants, flowers, along with incidents of different hazards like hailstorms, floods, landslides, epidemics, etc. The teachers were able to identify different lessons from different subjects, including economics, and thus, planned the lessons connecting climate change issues. The teaching, which otherwise remained as normal chalk and talk method, became more active with children asking their parents, grandparents and elder members in the community about the different changes taking place over the last 30-40 years. This finding was used as the main theme for any co/extra-curricular activities at schools to create climate change awareness among the school family and public. The children prepared songs, poetry, theatre and campaigning strategies (with professional coaching), mock-assembly, deusi/bhailo and also organized other cultural activities at schools and public places.
In the meantime, the selected community members (normally members of Community Learning Centres and Community Awareness Centres (CLC/CAC), and other existing institutions) from the school vicinity were selected for sensitization and adaptation planning. Effort was made to select the farmers who were the members of these grass root institutions who also had their children at the local school in classes VI-IX, but this assumption did not really work out.
Planting time of millet
The students at Jhatteshor HS School in Dhobi, Ramechhap, during their micro-project, undertook investigation into changes in the planting time for millet over a 5-year period. It seemed to show that weak monsoons (when rainfall is lower) are also late monsoons. Millet is planted late when the monsoon is late. If planted after a certain date the crop yield will be poor. This is an interesting relationship and raises the possibility of using the timing of millet planting as an accurate gauge of monsoon strength. The graph they prepared was also a clear indication of how recent drought years have badly affected a key crop such as millet leading to food shortage and family debt.
The experience from Ramechhap was replicated to one school in Sindhupalchok in 2012. The active participation of the school at Sindhupalchok encouraged the COPILA team to increase the number to eight in 2013 and nine in 2014. Hence, there were altogether 13 schools/communities implementing COPILA until the end of the project (June end, 2015) in Ramechhap and Sindhupalchok. Besides, with the support from WARM-P, teachers from two schools in Dailekh were also trained on COPILA approach, where water and climate change were the foci. Moreover, with coordination with Riverbed Farming project of Helvetas, teachers and students received workshop and orientation of climate change and its integration/extension in different subject areas.
Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development (EE/ESD) is based on five learning principles, triggering from ‘Awareness’ to ‘Knowledge and Understanding’, to ‘Attitudinal Change’, to ‘Skills Development’ and finally leading to ‘Action’. Project COPILA (Community Practice in School for Learning Climate Change Adaptation) was based on this principle and the principle of Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development (CCESD) as endorsed by UNESCO. However, the result of this approach is not quick to see and feel, but sustainable in a longer term.
The recipients take a longer time to be aware and to understand the complexity of the climate change concept. However, as the project matured, they began internalizing this. Once internalized, they began to take action. Hence, as expected, we have begun to see some actions in schools and communities where the project was first launched.
The students in few schools have begun doing some small actions at their household. A student in Nagdaha, Ramechhap, having participated in the program, showed the COPILA team that he had used a small pipe to collect waste water to be used in vegetable garden. He had convinced his mother to wash clothes within the garden so that the waste water is used for the plants.
Similarly, some children in few schools in Sindhupalchok have initiated their own child clubs within their community for environmental care, sanitation and hygiene. They said in the beginning their parents were adamant to hear anything about climate change, but now they are beginning to respond to their queries, and link the activities of other similar projects with climate change.
Through the theatre workshop, most of the students, who otherwise were introvert, have begun to come forward and organize and participate actively in climate change awareness activities. Selected students also participated in the adaptation planning workshop where they presented their findings and voiced their opinion. In the adaptation workshop at Manthali, the students of Nagkanya presented their findings where they clearly showed the relationship between rainfall pattern and paddy plantation.
At Palchok, the students of Jay Bageshory performed Climate Change deusi in which they raised Rs. 64000/-. This money was used for an environmental trip to Ilam, Jhapa and Janakput. The children collected a lot of information also compared the ecological differences among all these places. They have been assigned to write a report from a climate change perspective. This encouraging activity was shared by the teacher in the meeting, which has generated similar kinds of plans among other schools in the future.
The weather station at Nilakantheshowr school, Kathajor school is properly used and the rainfall and temperature data is analyzed and disseminated to the school and public. Except in few schools, where recently the teachers have left for permanent posts elsewhere, awareness activities went on smoothly. The C activities are institutionalized in child clubs and formation of eco/climate clubs.
“When I asked Jhakendra Budathoki about farming on which I did a micro-project, he said that in the past the land yielded plenty of crops, and everyone got interested to work in the fields. Due to poor and untimely rainfall these days, and water sources dried up, the yield is not even enough for six months. That’s the reason why everyone is leaving the village and migrating to towns. With population increase and crop yield decrease, some people have also resorted to anti-social activities for their livelihoods”
Goma Giri, Class IX, Nilakantheshwor HS School, Kathjor, Ramechhap.
Similarly, the farmers have also understood the concepts of climate change and its grave impacts. With sensitization, they are able to connect their farming hardships with climate change. After the adaptation planning workshop, they also initiated some adaptation activities. With the implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in selected communities, they are beginning to learn activities of pests in damaging their crops, and the best ways to tackle them in an eco-friendly manner. At Piple in Ramechhap, the SSMP program was already supporting farmers in farm yard manure development and management, use of cattle urine as pesticides, and soil management. After attending the sensitization workshop by CEEN the farmers have been able to connect the ongoing support from other organisations with climate change issues. The farmers also expressed that their bigger children who studied in schools have also started helping them in farm work and also discuss about climate change related issues. The community at Piple in Ramechhap renovated three old ponds and also dug five new ponds as part of adaptation activities. The idea of making pond was for 3 “R”s-retention, reuse, and recharge of water for source at lower altitudes, with trench dug along the slope. They have also improvised rain water harvesting and built and repaired water tanks and taps. They also initiated the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plots and are eager to learn the new approach and are also applying this knowledge to their own households.
At Manthali, seeing the enthusiasm of the women in vegetable farming, the CEPRED provided them with seeds and plastic from vegetable support program. Having sensitized these farmers from COPILA project, they seem to have realized that hard days are ahead of them. Therefore, having understood this, they are eager to go for alternative cash crops in their paddy field which otherwise would remain fallow without sufficient rain and irrigation facilities. Thus, the project also helped in synergizing ongoing activities.
They have learnt a lot from the IPM plot and have individually started organic farming. This has attracted more conscious buyers and thus, vegetable farming has become more profitable than paddy plantation. The family members have given them a good support, although in the beginning it was hard to convince.
The number of enthusiastic farmers is increasing and hopefully one day the whole community will become vegetable farmers and vendors that would help also in increasing their resilience to climate change!
“We were living in darkness, even without knowing that water could be reused, and retained in plastic ponds for further use. The COPILA workshop has opened our eyes about climate change. Also, with IPM introduced, we are able to learn more on organic farming. We will approach the local institutions like VDC for funds to do more and more and spread this knowledge in the village.
Dev Maya Magar, Piple, Kathajor, Ramechhap
Having worked with schools and communities, the CEEN has felt that it normally takes a longer time for teachers, students and farmers to action. Comparatively, the school and community at Kathjor is far ahead in all the activities. This is because this is the school where the project first started. The two schools in Nagdaha VDC had to be dropped owing to their internal issues. Instead, we had to take fresh schools in Sindhupalchok and other schools in Ramechhap. The extrovert qualities of students, the teachers’ remark, have developed due to the active teaching learning methodologies integrated in COPILA project.
This approach, if nationalized in a systematic manner by the department of education, with extensive reorientation of teachers, is expected to develop resilience among one and all the citizens of the country.
The teachers, students and farmers, who had not heard of climate change and its associated issues before the launch of the program are beginning to understand its grave consequences. They also seem to react to this by way of positive thinking, attitudinal reformation and adaptation measures, which we should take as a positive sign. This is how Awareness has ended up with some Actions so far!!
Parshuram S Niraula
Project Coordinator (COPILA)
Centre for Environment Education Nepal (CEEN)