WE ARE BACK!
Sorry for radio silence from IYH. Everybody fell victim to Covid in one way or another. Our projects were in full flow and abruptly came to a halt. It is only now we feel happy enough to try and get things going again. We will not be dwelling on the sad stories, we probably need the uplifting and hopeful news more than ever. So here is our contribution to hope!
IYH REFRESHER 2015-2020
Just as a reminder, IYH was established after the earthquake in 2015 to support schools in rural communities. In partnership with The Mandala Organisation (our great friends Mahendra Thapa and Milan Tamang), we spent the next five years doing the following:
The best news is we have a new and fabulous member of our team, Sanjeev Singh. Sanjeev has years of experience working in community projects and with successful charity organisations. He is also brilliant at English which is beyond helpful as there is only so much “google translate” can do. Please see his personal write up on our ‘About Us’ page.
In 2021 Sanjeev will be Project Managing three key strategies:
Community Income Generation for School and Women.
The goal is to provide each school community with an income generation project that will achieve two things:
A) Provide employment and income for local women via Mother Groups (see below). We will provide the mechanism and training for the local women to run and operate a business.
B) The business will generate enough income for the womens’ wages and the school fund which will go to supporting school dinners, Teacher Training and teaching resources.
The strategy needed for this project involves understanding local community politics and hierarchy. Sanjeev knows and understands all of this. We have decided that he will manage this project with the school community in Gorkha for one year. This will give us the opportunity to learn from the success and failures. If all goes well, we will roll similar projects out to the other four school communities starting next year.
Sanjeev has already managed to host two meetings and consultations with the relevant people and is on the way to forming a mothers group. Sanjeev did research about local and relevant business opportunities and put some options to the community. The women and the school beneficiaries have identified a potential business that they are willing to do in a group. The priority was given to a business that would be sustainable in terms of resourcing, production and sales. IYH has already provided technical assistance via Sanjeev to get to the start line. We are not there yet but we are close. So far:
a. Identification of suitable business - LEAF PLATES (see below)
b. Technical feasibility study - repairs and support
c. Economic and financial profitability report
d. Planning and workforce report
e. marketing strategy
Once all the community groups have given their approval for the project, IYH team will review and hopefully approve the plan.
LEAF PLATE COMMUNITY BUSINESS
The business plan is for the sale of locally made leaf plates. These plates are made from leaves grown in a local forest with over 100000 trees that can be collected every 15 days. The raw material for this product are leaves which are free! The ladies will collect the leaves and create a rota for using the machine. The plates can be sold locally with particularly high demand in festival season. They are biodegradable which adds to the attraction. We need to find a Local Project Manager as although a simple business, there is still a lot of co-ordination and money involved so it is important to get it right and build trust. Once established, the profits can be shared between the women who make the plates and a percentage will go to the school to support school meals, teacher training and resources not supplied by local government. Everybody wins!
In partnership with Days for Girls and TMO, IYH has already provided training and distributed reusable menstrual kits to all the women and girls in the school communities we support. In order to reinforce and add to their education, Sanjeev will work with experts to organise different health, hygiene and sanitation for two target groups:
i) Community Mother Groups
There will be two training sessions relating to safe motherhood. There will be a focus on Antenatal Care, Postnatal Care, Delivery and the Golden 1000 days. The later focuses on nutrition for pregnant woman up until the child is two years old. The aim is to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and to improve the maternal and neonatal health through preventive cure awareness.
The third training has a focus on Personal Hygiene awerness. It is important to teach mothers because if the mother is educated then all her family members will be educated. At the end of the training programme, the project will distribute hygiene products to encourage a change in their behavior.
ii) School students who are under 12 years old.
This training will focus on student’s personal hygiene and will include the 6 steps of handwashing. At the end of the session, the students will get personal hygiene products to motivate them. The class teacher will be asked to monitor their personal hygiene everyday..
Sanjeev will try to form 5 mothers groups that will have maximum of 25 members. These mothers will be the family members of the school students of the targeted schools. In this way there will be a sense of ownership and team accountability. There will also be opportunity to inspire and motivate others and themselves as role models.
WHY DO IT?
IYH believes the more we can help the community to stay healthy, the more chance there is that children will attend school. The more we can support attendance, the more the children will learn. The more the children learn, the higher the chance the community will start to believe in education. Everything we do comes back to education. It is so important. It gives people choice like nothing else can.
In this activity, the school community will be guided through all guidelines and reference materials relating to disaster management as well as Disaster Risk reduction (DRR). They will also prepare a general evacuation plan. The Teachers and Students will be trained on first aid. The project will engage students, teachers, School Management Committee on real-life school activities including school drills for fire and earthquakes.
TEACHER TRAINING: we are continuing to work with First Steps to find a way forward. Covid has changed so many things and we need to adapt. We will update you when we know more.
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