In October, Sonja and Lykke from the Nepal group set off for Pokhara in Nepal to get started on our partnership project with basic workshops on sustainable development and sustainable living for the employees and board members of Children Nepal. In addition, we had to work on our monitoring tools for the project and of course on visits to the small villages, which have been selected as a case for the future work.
After a slightly longer overnight stay in Dubai and Kathmandu, we arrived on Sunday, October 16, at Pokhara, where Children Nepal has an office. Here we had a planning meeting with Ram and Shiva from Children Nepal, where we got the last details about the week's program in place and discussed the content of the planned workshops. We also met Rada, who was hired as an interpreter during the workshops, since not everyone at Children Nepal speaks English and unfortunately we have not learned enough Nepali yet.
On Monday, we were picked up at 7.30 at our hotel by Ram, Shiva and Krishna (all three employees of Children Nepal) and board member Santha. We had planned a visit to one of the villages envisaged in the project. An appointment had been made with the head of the local women's group, who took us around to some houses and afterwards arranged a talk with some of the other women from the group. But it was just before there were more men than women present and it was interesting to see how the men had difficulty not interfering in the conversation (pictured above).
On Wednesday and Thursday we held workshops on sustainable development, sustainability, the SDGs, sustainable livelihood and how CN can become more sustainable. Those two days went really, really well. The staff and board members were really committed, there was a bold energy and interest and it was a great opportunity to put sustainability on the agenda and work towards a common understanding of the concept. So there was a lot of great discussions, exciting inputs from both staff and board members and the opportunity for reflection, it was really cool to experience! It will be exciting to see how they can keep up the enthusiasm and interest, but it seems to help create a good foundation for the collaboration going forward. Thursday and Friday we spent on monitoring guideline, preparing baseline survey and project implementation plan. Sonja got the google questionnaire introduced to them and put Krishna and Hari into the cases, so instead of collecting it all on paper, we have now created the survey in the cloud. They seemed very excited and eager to get the new work clothes.
Saturday was the day off for Sonja. Before she left, we were up at Sarrankot watching the sunrise over the Annapurna mountain range in the company of dozens of tourists and schoolchildren. So there was battle for the best space and selfies.
Sunday, for Lucky, was spent on another visit to the other local area that has been included in the project. It is barely as accessible as the one we visit on Monday and requires just a 1.5 hour slow-paced walk in hilly terrain before arriving at the three small villages at the top of the mountain. It's a walk you get the warmth of as a Dane. The older kids walk the route every day to go to school, so hopefully they get used to the ride. In the village, we met the local school principal, some women from the local women's group, and had the opportunity to take a look around at some of the people who were not out working already. There is no doubt that the principal wants to work with us and Children Nepal. However, the women seemed a little more skeptical, so it will be exciting to see what comes out of the planned dialogue meetings and resource mapping exercises to be held in this partnership project. The last day Monday we spent talking budgets and reporting before heading for Kathmandu and back home.