Hamro Sawal – Hamro Sahabhagita: Our Concern – Our Participation
WE are delighted to announce we have embarked on a programme with UNICEF Nepal which will deliver vital skills and opportunities to 72,000 youngsters aged 10-19 years old.
We’ve teamed up with UNICEF, Restless Development and Child Workers In Nepal (CWIN) to work in six of Nepal’s poorest districts: Mugu & Humla in Mid-West Province, Bajura & Achham in Far West Province and Saptari & Dhanusa in Central and Eastern Provinces.
The project enables access to renewable energy in four locations and invests significantly in teaching young people livelihood skills, micro-enterprise development ideas and vocational training. The coupling of access to renewable energy with skills to enable productive uses is central to Renewable World’s approach to tackling poverty and enabling sustainability of initiatives.
In Nepal, 45 per cent of people have no access to modern energy resources, and more than 42 per cent of the population is aged 24 or younger.
This lack of energy, and shortfall in livelihood skills, drives poverty and impacts on lives and entire communities.
Children and young people aged 10-19 are at particular risk: many are exploited, and/or enter child marriages. Others see little future where they live and leave home for precarious lives far from their friends and families – a drain on the communities they leave as well as a ‘gamble’ which can cost lives.
In these areas, a high proportion of first marriages are made when youngsters are aged 10-14: by the age of 19, 46 per cent of adolescents will have been married at least once.
Literacy rates are also low: just 51 per cent of the communities’ populations can read and write. Incomes and food production are also low, meaning health and nutrition levels are below national averages, with food deficiencies in some areas.
And close to 25 per cent of households lose at least one person to outward migration.
But our programme, currently underway and set to run until December 2014, offers youngsters a genuine alternative. The chance to learn the skills they need to succeed – and more than that, to thrive – in the region they know best, and where their friends and families are.
The project logo, reading Hamro Sawal – Hamro Sahabhagita (Our Concern – Our Participation)
The project is teaching youngsters aged 10-14 the basics of livelihood skills – including information about renewable energy production, its uses and the role of energy and climate change in everyday life, and offer them an introduction to the enterprise development skills which they can later use to set up enterprises which bring money to them and their community.
Simultaneously, we’re reaching out to 15-19 year-olds to give them more detailed, advanced training in livelihood skills, as well as delivering hands-on training and opportunities to start and run their own businesses.
The skills are taught at clubs across the region, and from portable, solar powered outreach centres, which will travel to reach 2,500 vulnerable and out-of-school youngsters and 50 teachers.
And we’re helping to educate adults, too: because young people are vital to the communities’ life, we are training adults to help them generate adolescent-friendly economic opportunities and understand the importance of young people’s involvement in sustainable livelihoods in the rural economy.
We are setting up four renewable energy showcase sites, at which the youngsters can gain direct experience of the operation and effects of renewable energy systems. They are:
• A solar water pump at Saptari, which will deliver safe, clean water to homes across the community, improving health by reducing the risk of contracting water-borne diseases, and enabling people to use their time more effectively, by removing the need to collect and bring back water several times a day.
• A Hydraulic ram pump (Hydram), at a school, which will deliver safe, clean drinking water, improving sanitation, encouraging more girls to attend school and also irrigating small school vegetable gardens, increasing youngsters’ awareness of productive water use.
• Two community biogas systems, which will benefit schools and the wider community by decreasing people’s need to collect firewood, which then fills homes with smoke, as well as offering youngsters the chance to own and operate their own micro-industries.
As the programme continues, we are also training young people to become Peer Leaders – teaching the next ‘generation’ of young people the skills they need to fulfil their potential, while for youngsters who feel they wish to continue their education or to find jobs unrelated to the scheme, we’ll help put them in touch with higher education providers, and/or help with job-seeking.
By helping youngsters and adults work together, and using renewable energy as the foundation of a new future, we’re helping communities achieve what they’re capable of, and offering skills which, once learnt, need never be forgotten.