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Samudayik Awaaz: Voices of Nepal


by: Kumar Bhattarai

Recently Kumar Bhattarai (batch 19) from Nepal concluded his 2-year YEP secondment while working for Simavi’s local partner SEBAC-Nepal. He worked for the Dopper funded ASHA project which improves access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all. One of the highlights of his work was a participatory radio-campaign in collaboration with TRAC FM to amplify the voices of the local community. Kumar: “The YEP programme has enhanced my knowledge and capacity through the participation at the YEP training, Basecamp, and different virtual online meetings. Similarly, I acquired different skills on project management, leadership and conflict management during my YEP tenure. Personal and professional development from my coach and mentor has been very fruitful for my career growth in an international culture. This global network enables to share the knowledge and experiences from which we can boost our knowledge in a wider range. I am very proud to be a member of YEP and going to be a YEP alumnus soon.”

 

Dopper is a Dutch social enterprise selling reusable water bottles in various countries to reduce plastic waste. Since the start of the company they are supporting water projects in Nepal in collaboration with Simavi. During one of the visits of Simavi with the founder and director of Dopper to Nepal they met Kumar Bhattarai. They saw a very motivated and talented young professional and suggested to write a proposal to the Young Expert Programmes. Kumar: “My role in the ASHA project is the planning, implementation, operation and monitoring to enhance equitable access of quality drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene behaviour, strengthen local governance and empower local women and socially excluded groups. The project is focused on access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, in joint collaboration with provincial and local government agencies and non governmental organisations.”

 

Ripple Effect

In 2021, an evidence-based advocacy campaign was launched, called Samudayik Awaaz: Voices of Nepal. This approach was developed in 2014 in collaboration with TRAC FM by (alumni) Young Experts Paul van Essen and Anne Namakula (batch 2) working for VEI Dutch Water Operators in Uganda. Later on Paul introduced this approach at Simavi and kick-started various campaigns in Uganda and Kenya. Based on good results it was decided to run TRAC FM’s first campaign ever in Asia. Kumar: “Running a radio campaign turned out to be a good way to reach a large audience, especially when community gatherings and public forums were limited due to COVID-19. Many people in Nepal still live in rural parts of the country where radio is a widely used channel for mass communication and awareness. The campaign engaged more than 10 thousand citizens, who shared the challenges they face when it comes to WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), COVID-19 and Menstrual Health. The campaign created awareness of the challenges in water and sanitation and served as a public forum with discussions among decision makers and community representatives. The data collected was used for further evidence-based lobby and advocacy to hold duty bearers accountable.”

 



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