In spite of the political crises, it seems that the SWC – Social Welfare Council (newly reformed) is operating in evaluation and monitoring INGO projects.
We went to the villages of Kavre where the projects of CCS Italia are collapsing and the people received a visit from SWC officers. People explained them that since 2003 they are cooperating with CCS Italy throughput a sponsorship program directed to help children, family and community.
They told them that since two years all has been severely reduced as local operators described in past posts.
They told them that the still give pictures and photos of their children but no more help is given to them.
They told them that an Italian sponsors give to CCS Italy around Rs. 18.000 (yearly) and CCS Italy officers proposed to 42 local SMCs (School Management Committees) agreements which stated only Rs. 4.500 (yearly) for each children.
They told them that the nepali officers of CCS Italy which proposed this shame gain around Rs. 100.000 each month.
So people hope that this words will be written in the reports of SWC, not as last year when the same critics were shelved.
We spoke with people and they decided to stop this kind of robbery. If the CCS officers still use the money of our children to get high salry and benefits they could give to Italian sponsors their picture. We stop to give those of our children, If nothing is going to change in Kathmandu and Italy we organize a julus (peopledemonstration)to CCS office to ask for changing the thieves. We ask the Italian sponsors to press the CCS Italy HQ in order to utilize the fund they collect for our children as before, it means for the benefits of children, schools and community.
In 2005 some of us started up CCS Italy offices in Cambodia. We signed agreements with MOEF (Ministry of Foreign Affairss) and we began to work in partnership with local organizations based in Kampot and Shianoukville.
The plans were to support primary schools, to create pre-primary and to help an aids-affected village near Kampot. Other ideas were to find out new way to tackle prostitution and trafficking which is a serious problems in the area where they operated and where some local missionaries are already working. We signed agreements with these local partners and we started the projects.
Now some new people should going on on these basis and so we like to receive news from our Cambodian friends still operating with that organization.
But even there something strange happen. First of all they wrote about the high running expenditure which cover more than an half of the budget of CCS Italy in Cambodia (as normally happens in Nepal), the increase of usefulness formalism and bureaucracy and the low effectiveness of the activities. In their Budget 2008, it seems that on Euro 215.000 given by italian sponsors for cambodian children around Euro 115.000 has gone for salary staff, expatriates, houses, and so on. They pointed out, for example, the building of two pre-primary schools in the islands of Koh Thmai e Koh Rong, 40 kilometers far from Shianoukville where to reach takes several hours of shipping (and a lot of diesel) for about 25 children each.
As, the same CCS website describes these islands are very difficult to reach and they had to ship all materials for the buildings. Of course all has been very expensive as expensive is to monitor and to assure sustainability to the schools.
Our Cambodian friends were quite astonished by this decision because a lot of work has to be done in the schools already supported and in the near community where logistic and building costs are less and needs for people and children are higher. Safe-water, health, nutrition and so on.
But a reason, they suggested for this strange and expensive ideas, is that one of the expatriates working with CCS in Cambodia bought a boat and he has to cover the investments. So the social worker (?) boat people.
It was a very good experiences and a nice project we did in 2006-2007 in the Central Jail (Female section) in Kathmandu. We provided sewing machines to more than 40 prisoner women, technical training, management training and legal assistance. We supplied them with all materials useful to produce garments for their family and children. The second step was to tailor boto (the tradition child dress) which we distributed in the Bal Bikas (Early Childhood Dev. Centers) we created in Timal (Kavre) enrolling more than 800 children. All children got a sort of uniform which was a good help for the family.
The last step should be to start production for the local market directed to foreign tourist wih the idea to channel garments to international fair trade market. The Women Tailor Group after one year of working and training were able to produce some nice garments from which we had selling agreements with local shops.
All was stopped by the donor (CCS Italia INGO) with no reasons in 2007. Even the brand we studied was put in a corner as well the works and hopes of the women involved. This project was a namuna (sample) which could be extended, as our intention, to other jails in Nepal, and we did it in coordination with Jail authorities. The objective were to assure a little income to the prisoners, give them job opportunities out of the jail and a something to do during detention in order to avoid violence and bad attitudes.
To create opportunities and hope (it was the brand for the Inmates Cooperative) is the only way to help prisoners during detention and to help them to be reintroduced in normal life. A recent survey showed that the situation in Nepali jails is deteriorating form many point of view and few activities are running to help the prisoners which are detained in over crowded structures.
This research shows that 38% of the prisoners it had surveyed had access to drugs even behind the bars in different parts of the country including the Central Jail, Bhadra Bandi Griha, Bhadra Mahila Bandi Griha, Dillibazaar Jail, Nakkhu Prison, Biratnagar Prison, Pokhara Prison and Birgunj Prison Total of 351 prisoners living in the eight jails were surveyed and 15 per cent of the respondents were women. Of the people who use drugs in the jails, 20 per cent said they use marijuana, 20 per cent brown sugar, 10 per cent injections and the rest 50 per cent said they use many kinds of drugs.
The survey stated that 50 per cent of the Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) in the jails share same needle. Half of the IDUs in jails had visited treatment and rehabilitation centres and hospitals at least once while the another half had never gone to either a hospital or any drop-in centre.
Legal assistance, income generating activities might be the way to give a reasons of life to these people.
During the past years we worked to enforce the role of the community in managing schools and ECDs (Early Childhood Dev. Center). They are managed by a SMC (School Management Commitee) formed by representatives of teachers and families. It is a good way to link quality on education, enrollenmnet and controll on teachers work. The SMCs have to be helped in improving their capacity and so we did by an agreement with lawiers and accountants from Tribhuvan University. We believe to do a good work transferring resources to SMCs (teachers salary, schools building and repairing, library, dicactical materials, etc.) and helping them to have a good accountability. In the VDCs where we worked each year during Baisach (nepali end of year), the SMCs did a community auditing to explane to the communituy how they spent our funds. People partecipated in a great number, it was also a feast where we distributed copybooks, pen, and other materials to children.
Now the process started in 2004 to hand over the management of public schools to community is going on. Over 8,000 public schools across the country has been handed over to local communities. According to the Department of Education (DoE), as many as 8,002 public schools had been handed over to the communities by March 13. DOE declared that 2,604 schools have been handed over to the communities in the eastern region, 2,284 in the central region, 1747 in western, 627 in mid-western and 740 in far-western development region. Among them, 5,471 are primary schools, 1,695 are lower-secondary schools and 836 are secondary schools. More schools have been handed over to the communities in Kavre, Morang, Illam, Udayapur, Nawalparasi, Baglung, Nuwakot, Jhapa, Rammechhap and Dolakha districts.
The school handover programme was first launched in 2003/04 in 15 districts and has been expanded to all 75 districts now, according to Nepali. The government has allocated Rs 2,035 million for the community-managed schools in the current fiscal.
The blog of CCS Nepal has been closed as their message below. We are a group of people working since many years in Nepal (and Cambodia) both Nepali and foregneirs. Most of us worked with CCS Nepal or are still consultants. We created a group called Community & Development Nepal to share in this blog our experiences and practices on Cooperation & Development.
Many people from Nepal, Italy and abroad visited our blog in these months but now we are going to close it.
A formal and written request has been made by Mrs. Chanda Rai, Country Director of CCS Italy INGO. The new people of Italy HQ and the Kathmandu Office dont like our critics directed to a better implementation of the projects we started in 2003, we apologize for this. In the last days it seems our critics have been able to change some plans of CCS Italia and, fortunately, to work again with community instead put money in official baskets. We cannot say more but only best wishes to all
We always worked in cooperation with people and community to increase capacity. Here two success stories.
Sixty families of freed Kamaiya Tharus and internally displaced have turned the Janahit Mahakali Community Forest into a model for grassroots forest management. In a forest north of the East West Highway, where trees were depleting due to massive deforestation by wood mafia and erosion, the community has planted over 8,000 bamboo, timber and hardwood trees since 2004. Locals have also benefitted by producing more than a hundred tonnes of ginger. This unique system of agroforestry has raised living standards, while conserving forests. The community has donated Rs 100,000 to the nearby Udaya Higher Secondary School to provide free education for students from the ninth to twelfth grade, and Rs 40,000 to Kanchanpur Campus all from the sale of forest products. Members of the community can buy oxen on interest-free loans, flood control embankments have been built, VDC roads have been gravelled and a new child welfare centre built.
The chairman of the group adds that one of the biggest achievements has been the protection of the forest and wildlife. “We haven’t just protected trees,” he says, “we have seen more deer than ever before and even tigers and leopards have returned.”
In 2006 we started the electrification project in Timal and set TCRECA (a local cooperative) in order to mobilise community and manage the local grid which now is covering 3 VDCs and in construction for other 4. We help the local cooperative to born and now they are proceeding by themselves.
No wonder, as many as 65 communities across 38 districts are engaged in the scheme. They are not only self-reliant but also act as watchdog against pilferage of energy. As per the Community Electrification Distribution by-laws 2060, the programme follows a 20-80 policy (community contributes 20 per cent of the total project cost and the government picks up the tab for the rest) . Over the years, the programme has worked wonders. It has promoted public participation, encouraged community management and also harnessed technical and managerial skills of the rural folks.
Here is a case in point to bolster this argument:
Of a total budget of Rs 20 million, South Lalitpur Rural Electrification Cooperatives contributed Rs 4.7 million in the first phase.
Over the past six years, the programme has lit up 2,500 households in 14 remote Village Development Committees.
“Record reveals that very few households had access to electricity before the scheme was launched. However, we had to incur technical losses, thanks to the rugged terrain, elaborate network for transmission lines and high voltage transformers,” said Govinda Bajagain, managing coordinator of the cooperatives. The initiative has transformed the local economy. It now helps to run mills, furniture factories and computer-aided schools. “We have deliberately kept the profit margins low. We buy power at Rs 3.60 Kwh and sell it at Rs 4 Kwh,” he added.
We post a documentary on our activities, with images of people and places of Kathmandu, Kavre, Timal, Chitwan. Projects on health and education for Tamang and Chepang children. The film has been shooted by Italian volunteers.