Doha, November 06(QNA)- At the halfway stage of its four-year mission to improve the quality of education and build resilience to natural disasters into schools in Nepal, Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) in partnership with Vodafone Qatar can report impressive progress in protecting communities and saving lives across the country.
Working in 22 villages in the Kailali District of western Nepal, The Vodafone-ROTA partnership, through the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project, has improved the lives of 68,000 students and 1,450 teachers in 150 schools since 2010.
“Disaster risk reduction (DRR) begins with the belief that there is no such thing as a natural’ disaster, only natural hazards. DRR aims to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes and floods by understanding the hazard and knowing how to prevent or reduce the devastation it can cause,” Rania Abou Mosleh International Program Specialist
Determined to promote safe school standards amongst parents, students and teachers at both the district and national level ROTA, in partnership with Mercy Corps, Action Aid in Nepal and the Nepal Red Cross, has supplied first aid training and equipment to 35 schools, brought together 55 schools to participate in a DRR awareness raising quiz and planted 10,000 seedlings to increase land retention.
For her part, Dana Haidan, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Vodafone Qatar said, “At Vodafone, we believe our role goes beyond offering products and services, which is why we have established this partnership with Reach Out To Asia in 2009 as we aim to contribute to community development in Qatar and also in other countries where the support is needed such as Nepal.”
“Our partnership with Reach Out to Asia is a long-standing commitment that reflects our belief in the importance of collaboration between the private and NGO sectors as each compliments the other with their set of unique skills and expertise and their joined forces optimize the impact that ensure the benefits of the communities in need are widely spread” continued Dana.
Despite making considerable progress toward reducing poverty, Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in South Asia. In addition, large areas of the country are all too frequently devastated by natural disasters, including earthquakes and flooding. Given that a considerable percentage of Vodafone customers from Nepal, Vodafone decided to partner with ROTA and invest in community development in Nepal as a result of its belief in its corporate responsibility to reach out and give back.
Setting out to increase the awareness, knowledge and capacity of school committees, teachers, parents and children, ROTA has introduced Child Centered Learning (CCL) at Grade 2 level in 75 schools, while 75 teachers and 27 head teachers have been trained in how to implement CCL techniques in their schools.
Recognising the economic challenges facing Nepalese families and students who want to continue with higher education and based on the economic conditions of its Nepalese customers, Vodafone has developed a scholarship programme managed by ROTA to contribute to education in Nepal and help the community gain sustainable benefits. The Vodafone Qatar Scholarship Programme granted 59 students from poor and marginalized communities scholarships to pursue technical and vocational education.
Aiming to increase knowledge and awareness of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), ROTA and its partners has to date provided DRR training for 950 students in 37 schools, given Education in Emergency training to 100 teachers, united 20 head teachers for a 3-day school safety training programme and helped schools raise an Emergency Fund of US$5,000 to be used when natural disasters strike.
Extending the Disaster Risk Reduction message beyond the classroom and into the community, 20 Street Drama events proved an effective method of spreading the DRR message, attracting a total of 9,174 students.
On 17th September, ROTA and its partners organized a Child Fair in the village of Tikapur. More than 500 students from 75 schools took part in singing, dancing, painting and drawing activities under the theme “You Call Us Future, But We Are Also The Present”.
Two weeks later on 3rd October, 400 students from 90 schools participated in a Jamboree in Dhangadi to spread the DRR message to a large crowd of 3,000 people, including a revised version of the classic Snakes & Ladders game to highlight the benefits of disaster risk reduction.(END)