Written by our Nepal Team.
Nepal Hub Update from Neeru Tuladhar, Senior Volunteer Mentor Coordinator.
In August, the Nepal Hub remained busy by outlining and finalising the curriculum from ECD (Early Childhood Development) group to the secondary level. The curriculum was outlined on the basis of the government schools’ curriculum which helped the staff to review the past volunteers’ sessions’ delivery. It is expected that outlined documents will be guidelines to prepare the resources and plan sessions for future volunteers.
In addition, the Nepal Hub continued the Asian Hub Virtual Meeting with program coordinators and VMPCs to exchange ideas and share the experience to continue our projects more efficiently and creatively during the pandemic. The discussion stressed more on the current challenges to overcome and to continue partner engagement. The program was assisted by Jordy, the program manager from India Hub.
Furthermore, the Nepal Hub assembled the information regarding Nepali costumes, traditions and religions to draft the blog on Nepal’s Culture and Costumes. On the basis of the information provided by the Nepal Hub, Sarah Dean finalised the blog and posted on CA website. We believe the information on this blog will help volunteers to understand Nepal’s unique culture and tradition before travelling to Nepal.
The four-month long lock-down came to an end on 21st July. With the non-regulated people’s mobility, lack of safety measures and over-population in Kathmandu, the valley turned out to be a new coronavirus hotspot in August. The Nepal government reimposed the lock-down in viewing the soaring cases of infection in the Kathmandu valley from 19th August. Other districts across the nation also decided to follow the lock-down including Dhulikhel. In the end of July, the nationwide tally had reached 19,547 with 52 COVID-19 related deaths. However, in the beginning of September, 2020, the nationwide tally has nearly reached 50 thousand cases with 300 death tolls. The lock-down in the Kathmandu valley will come to an end from 9th September. The chief district officers from the valley are now holding the meeting to assess the situation and decide whether to extend the lock-down.
Sustainability and Livelihoods through COVID-19 by Om Baral, Country Operations Manager.
Unemployment remains one of the biggest problems in Nepal, which has forced hundreds of thousands of Nepali youths in the past decades in search of livelihood opportunities, often in dangerous and slave-like conditions in India and in the Middle East countries. The recent pandemic has further worsened the situation for livelihood opportunities in Nepal.
The ILO (International Labour Organisation) has estimated around 2 million jobs have already been affected and around 5, 00,000 migrant workers are likely to return home from abroad during the pandemic in Nepal.
Six months ago, when the government of Nepal imposed the lockdown to contain the coronavirus, the exodus of Nepali migrant workers from India and the gulf countries returned home despite the fear over coronavirus and the government’s poor quarantine and health management. However, those returnees had a bleak hope to get opportunities in the country with the announcement of the government’s flagship program- prime minister employment program- which had assured to create jobs for 2,00,000 people at local levels.
A recent survey of Nepal Rastra Bank on Nepal’s economy during the effects of COVID-19 states a massive disruption in the production and supply chain and as a result, 61 percent of businesses have shut down their operations completely and tens of thousands of people are rendered jobless.
While COVID-19 cases are rising at an alarming rate in Nepal and in India, Nepalese workers from India who returned home in the wake of the pandemic 6 months ago, are now going back to India as there is no work here. With the re-imposed and prohibitory orders across the nation amid the deteriorating COVID-19 situation, the challenges specially to sustain the livelihood in the country are rapidly increasing. With the increased challenges, youths in rural areas of Nepal have already started to leave for India in search of jobs. A former member of the National Planning Commission, Mr. Ganesh Gurung, says those going back to India now are amongst the poorest of the poor and it is like going to war as the infections are increasing in India.
Learning Crisis by Neeru Tuladhar, Senior Volunteer Mentor Coordinator.
The educational institutions throughout the nation have shut down following the increasing cases of coronavirus in Nepal. Although the ministry of education had decided to reopen the schools from 17th August, due to increasing cases of infection the schools remained closed indefinitely. Finally, the government of Nepal has stepped back from its decision and urged all the students to attend distance learning and virtual classes so far as possible.
However, our partners’ communication and engagement via mobile phones are going on regularly as usual. In communication, the teachers have expressed their worries and frustration about the uncertain situation. They are very much concerned about students’ health and education. Our partner schools in Kathmandu and Dhulikhel are trying to reach out to the students via mobile phones and assisting them to attend distance learning education at homes.