The earthquake on April 25, 2015 destroyed a lot of physical infrastructure and affected livelihood of people. There was a sense of fear and uncertainty among people. But amidst this tragedy, there were also people who weren’t going to give up that easily and were contributing voluntarily in rescue and relief effort. It was great to see youths voluntarily helping people in need with supplies and rehabilitation.
While the early focus was entirely on relief and reconstruction, the Karkhana team realized the imminent need for psychosocial counseling for teachers and students to go back to normal when schools reopens. Efforts are being made on construction of Temporary Learning Centers [TLC] but there was not much attention on how classes would run and what teachers would teach to the students.
Teachers themselve were feeling insecure and anxious about dealing with students when they get back to class. Karkhana took it as an opportunity to design lesson plans for teachers which they could implement in their classes. This initial idea was developed into a ten months long project called “Nawa Marga” with four distinct phases: This blog is about the first two phases and their effectiveness.
Phase I : Relief through Education, April 2015
On April 28, a team from Karkhana went to a nearby camp in Kumari Hall premise, and engaged fifteen kids for an hour. Then they went to a denser camp at North Gate of Royal Palace where the team had to engage kids from ages 2 to 18. The team did a good job by dividing all the kids in three different age groups. The kids from ages 2 to 8 were engaged by dancing, singing and drawing. The kids from ages 9 to 14 were engaged by playing physical games and the elder kids of ages 15 and above were engaged by playing improv games and physical activities.
After engaging kids in camps from April 28 to May 11, the team realized the need for some sort therapy or counselling for kids to get out of the stress of staying out in camps, trauma caused by fear of earthquake. Psychologist, Rachana Pandey gave us a framework on how can we help kids cope such trauma and teachers Sarita Bhattarai, Safala Rajbhandari, Bilquees Banu, Kausalya Khadka and Ayushma Regmi, helped in designing a three day’s lesson plan that integrated psychological counseling along with expression of the feeling felt during and after the earthquake.
Karkhana ran three sessions from May 12 to 16 to share the activities and strategies used while working with kids in different camp. Teachers from progressive schools like Rato Bangala, Kaasthmandap, Nisarga Batika along with teachers from other schools and educators were the participants. The Karkhana team soon realized their limitation of not being able to run a proper teacher training session and preparing teaching material that could be easily implemented.
On April 17th Karkhana approached Rato Bangala Foundation [RBF] to get their feedback on the three days of lesson plan. They were very excited to see what Karkhana teachers had prepared. From May 17 to May 23 a team consisting Shanta Dixit, Milan Dixit, Kalpana Parajuli, Sunoj Das Shrestha, Aayushma Regmi, Dipeshwor Man Shrestha and Sakar Pudasaini from Karkhana, Rato Bangala foundation, Rato Bangala School and Nisarga Batika worked together and created a polished lesson plan. We named it Nawa Marga, a new path consisting of:
- A week long lesson plan for teachers with socio-psycho counseling going back to normal school
- A seven hour, one day training of teacher lesson plan
- A fourteen hour, two day training of trainer lesson plan
The objective of the first phase was to reach 2400 teachers in a week in Kathmandu. Karkhana offered its 8 teachers and RBS offered its 40 teachers to train other teachers.
Training in KTM
On May 21 and 22, Training of Trainers [TOT] was organized at Rato Bangala School [RBS] that trained 90 teacher trainers from Karkhana, Rato Bangala School, Nisarga Batika, Kaasthamandap, Excel Public Secondary School, Habeli Outdoor Learning Center (HOLC) and Kathalaya.
Karkhana and RBF used their network to inform schools about the Nawa Marga program. PABSON Bhaktapur was first to respond and act accordingly. With their coordination 22 sessions were conducted in Bhaktapur that trained 731 teachers.
In Kathmandu, we trained 3456 teachers with an average session size of 32 participants in 102 sessions from 24 May to 31 May. 3000 copies of Nawa Marga booklet was distributed in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur and Kavre.
Phase II: Preparedness for Back to School, April-June 2015
As the trainingss were running in Kathmandu, Sakar from Karkhana and Min Shahi from RBF went to Dhading to talk with Chief District officer [CDO] and some principals. The CDO accepted the proposal of conducting teacher’s training on socio-psycho counseling in all 20 resource centers.
On May 26-27, a two days training of trainers was conducted for all the Resource Persons [RP] and School Supervisors [SS] by Suman Mandal, Raisa Pandey from RBS and Dipeshwor Man Shrestha from Karkhana at the District Education Office [DEO]. The training was relieving for the participants as they got to share their experience with other participants. The training was designed in such a way that the participants would experienced all the activities that teachers would do with their students. After the session, all the RP’s and SS’s were convinced about its effectiveness as they had a first-hand experience. They had already felt the need for such a comprehensive training program.
On May 27, a team consisting Sakar Pudasaini and Sunoj Das Shrestha from Karkhana went to Dhading at the closing of the two day training of trainers to plan the training. About 145 sessions were requested which were spread from May 28 to June 9.
It seemed impossible to do 145 sessions in less than two weeks’ time and it needed someone experienced to manage the coordination. Sunil Pokhrel from RBF, came for rescue and joined the coordinating team the very day. With the help of RP Ram Chandra Itini the number of session were reduced to 108 starting on Jestha 14 [May 28] and ending on Jestha 23 [Jun 6].
Everyone in our team including teacher trainers were excited about the Dhading program. Overwhelmed by response of the participating teachers on the effectiveness of the program in the first phase, the second phase was aimed at training 3000 teachers and to provide stationery to each and every school in Dhading.
This was a massive scale project with all sort of challenges in logistics, transportation, participants collection, managing trainers and coordination. The local resource person [RP] and school supervisor [SS] in most of the resource centers were helpful to coordinate the training.
In the second phase, we trained 3167 teachers with average session size of 31, in 101 sessions covering all 20 resources centers and 95% of the teachers in Dhading. Also we distributed a set of stationery required to conduct the sessions in all schools in Dhading.
What made Nawa Marga possible ?
Karkhana alone could not have pulled it off, neither Rato Bangala Foundation could have done it. It was the collaboration among two organizations that made it successful. Karkhana, with innovative ideas and a lot of energy. Rato Bangala Foundation, with the right expertise and resources. Both organization worked perfectly well to make it happen. Also, the willingness of teachers to contribute and help played a big role.
Teachers from Nisarga Batika, Kaasthamandap Vidhyalaya, Habeli Outdoor Learning Center, Kathalaya and other artists, friends and educators voluntarily joined their hands to support this initiative. The situation was fluid and there were lots of moving pieces. Nothing was certain and the plan kept changing but we were able to fit those moving pieces together that work well to make the Nawa Marga Phase I and II a huge success.
What next ?
Nawa Marga is still moving on with two more phases.
Phase III: Better Teaching Better Retention: running
Phase IV: Better Spaces for Better Learning: running
………………. will keep you updated……………