AN IT, LITERACY AND ECONOMIC REGENERATION PROJECT
(Sponsored by Harrogate Brigantes RC in partnership with the Himalayan Ghurkhas RC, Kathmandu)
To raise literacy levels and reduce poverty in remote valley areas by investing in better education and complementary economic regeneration measures
- Provide better secondary education through the introduction of IT teaching which in turn drives higher standards in Maths and English, thereby improving job prospects for young people
- Form education 'clusters of excellence' of Secondary Schools in remote valley areas
- Connect these remote areas to the outside world by enabling access to the Internet
- Use the internet to assist in new economic activity
- Initiate Microloan schemes to enable families to be more self-supporting
- Promote better English education at Primary school level
- Establish a long term relationships between Rotary Clubs and Nepali schools by facilitating twinning arrangements with UK schools
- 28 million population, 85% in rural areas
- 25% live in poverty (as defined by the World Health Organisation)
- In the bottom 10% of the world’s economic table
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
First Rotary Foundation Matching Grant awarded for 2 schools, total value £16k
- First Project team of 8 Rotarians visits in February and commissions 2 IT suites, one at Rithepani near Pokhara and one in the remote Panchamul Valley in the Annapurna foothills, some 50km from Pokhara.
- IT teaching commences in late April, the start of the new academic year, to Year 6 classes of ~25 students each.
- An audit team returns in November to monitor progress and inspect the next tranche of schools requesting IT support
- 2nd Matching Grant is awarded in June for 3 schools, 2 in Panchamul Valley and 1 in South Nepal, total value £31k. This includes, significantly, introducing internet access to the Panchamul Valley
- Project team visits Panchamul Valley in November; the 2nd IT suite at Janahit school is commissioned and both Panchamul and Janahit are connected to the Internet amidst great celebrations. The Valley is welcomed into the 21st Century!
- Project teams visit Nepal in February to commission the other 2 suites in Phase 2, one at Daraun in the Panchamul Valley and the other at Smarak College, Chitwan, in south Nepal.
- By May, IT is being taught in 5 schools to all students in years 6, 7 and up to 8 in some cases, some 350 students in total.
- 3rd and 4th Matching Grants are awarded to equip 4 more schools, 3 in Panchamul Valley and another near Pokhara (sponsored by Nantwich RC, Cheshire), total value £23k. £70k is now the project grand total.
- First steps are taken to set up a twinning arrangement between Rossett School in Harrogate (a specialist school in Maths and Computing) and the first school we worked at, Panchamul in the Valley.
- In December Class years 8 communicate with each other via a live Skype link
- In December, the Rotary Microloan scheme is launched in the Valley with over 50 recipients receiving up to £50 each, a total investment of over £2k. Business schemes are mainly livestock purchases but some others linked to cafes and foodstuffs supply
- A team of 7 Rotarians returns to the Panchamul Valley with a multi task purpose. 3 IT suites are commissioned and a 5 day introduction to computers course is run for 9 teachers. Separately reliability and speed checks are done on the internet service.
- A 3 person audit team visits the first 5 schools in the project and carries out a robust education and technical audit. We find much to encourage us that the project is sustainable and scalable in the longer term. Exam results in IT, Maths and English are all improving with the latter 2 subjects seen to be major building blocks to learning IT.
- A full photographic record of the project is taken by Rotarian Charlotte Gale, a professional photographer.
- Twinning takes a further big step forward with the exchange of student profiles between Rossett and Panchamul. Of the >50 students in year 8 at Panchamul, some 45 prepare, in less than 24 hours, their hand written responses.
- Microsoft Office programmes on all computers at the 9 schools in the project upgraded to ‘Professional’ to enable the full IT syllabus to be taught through to years 9 & 110
- An English language lab at Gaun Pharka Primary in the Panchamul valley is being trialled
- A scouting visit to Nepal to scope the feasibility of upgrading the Internet supply to satellite or fibre optic is being carried out in December 2014
- Install an IT suite remaining secondary school in the valley, Ghante School…completed in March 2015
- Celebrate the fact that at the sitting of the first ever IT GSCE equivalent exams, all 19 pupils at Shree Shahid school passed!!
- Design and cost an improved internet infrastructure to the Panchamul Valley.. in progress
- Incorporate into the Project the establishment of an IME (International Money Exchange) viz. a Post Office, in a valley village
- Install software at all the 7 schools to enable the suites to be used as language labs for Primary school children
- Connect a newly built mini hospital to the internet
- Apply for a new Rotary Foundation Matching Grant, minimum total value of £24K
- All schools in the valley now provide compulsory IT lessons to children up to SLC age
- All children in the SLC IT classes have passed their external exams.
- Apply for a new Rotary Foundation Matching Grant to provide upgraded internet access.
- Start of a combined Kids Aloud and Nepal project to bring Nepali kids to the UK in 2019 (see the Kids Aloud project page)
- Apply to Microsoft for funding to install a further 6 schools in the Kaski region.
- New internet service will now include community and hospital access.
- Some 350 students in the SLC IT classes have sat their external exams, 100% pass rate for year 10 (GSCE equiv.) and 94% for year 8
Formal link between the Deerwalk foundation college in Katmandu. Seehttp://www.dwit.edu.np/
- Internet upgrade successfully completely in Jan 17; all 7 schools now have ‘live’ access 24 hrs per day
- Our thanks to a Leeds, UK beneficiary for a very generous donation enabling this to be done ahead of schedule
- We are now actively working to twin each Valley school with one from the Harrogate area.
- In 2017 we will connect the Post Office/IME (bank) and one Community Centre to the internet. The bank will retain economy and the community centre will give easier access to doctors and world communication.
- We have new initiative to run a Technology Tournament in the Valley in April, based on the successful model used in Yorkshire
- Rotary Microloan scheme is now in its 5th year; from a seed fund of ~£3k, loans have been recycled 4 times, with no failures to repay. Accumulated value now ~£12k with around 240 families helped
- A further 12 schools in the adjacent Andi Khola valley will have 20 computers each before end August 2017. This is funded by Microsoft Innovation Centre Nepal and coordinated by Leeds Rotary Club.
- By the end 2017 all additional schools will have wireless internet service.
District Confrence Presentation
THE 2015 EARTHQUAKES IN NEPAL
Since April's devastating earthquake, members of the 'Changing Young Lives' project team have been in regular communication with our partner club, the Rotary Club of the Himalayan Gurkhas in Kathmandu. In addition to £44,000 raised for disaster relief by local clubs within Rotary District 1040, Harrogate Brigantes have organised two large fundraising events to help with the longer term reconstruction efforts in Nepal. Our Kid's Aloud concert in June 2015 raised £9,000 to be split between Nepal and another cause and our Gala Dinner at the Crown Hotel in September 2015 raised £10,000 for the earthquake appeal.