PHASE Nepal

Reflections from the Summer 2016 Grow Team

When we wrote our first blogpost about GROW, not having yet arrived in Nepal, each of us mentioned our excitement and enthusiasm for learning about PHASE and using that knowledge to strengthen our partnership. As a chapter who went a year without being able to send a GROW team due to the devastating earthquake in 2015, we have experienced firsthand the palpable disconnect between the majority of the chapter and our partner organization that occurs when a GROW team is unable to go during the summer. We were able to present small bits about Nepali culture and PHASE, but without the ability to tie in any strong personal connections, many of the lessons just skimmed the surface. It was difficult to get new members to understand the purpose of our fundraising and education efforts. Some of our members had prior experience in Nepal, but no one could remotely comprehend the effect of the earthquake on communities in the country.

Not only has life changed due to the earthquake, but so has PHASE’s efforts. They had to reallocate funds from their usual programs to support relief projects, which included our own fundraising which was originally structured to go to training a teacher-trainer who would facilitate workshops for teachers in the communities PHASE works in. Learning about these changes without seeing it in action has been difficult, and further muddled the information being given to members about the organization. Other than PHASE newsletters once a month about their different efforts and the many videos of the earthquake’s destruction in tourist areas, it was impossible to know what working in Nepal involved. Even the last GROW team’s stories of day-to-day life became less applicable because the house they stayed in became too damaged to be inhabitable along with one of the schools they worked in. The gap made us ineffective and less accountable fundraisers. This year, we hope that having had 5 members get so much exposure to and experience with PHASE will enable us to renew GlobeMedders’ sense of purpose, and help everyone in the chapter better understand our partner. We look forward to transferring our knowledge through presentations, the incorporation of information about PHASE in weekly ghUs.

The absence of the GROW trip from the GlobeMed model also created a disconnect on PHASE’s end of our partnership. We realized this summer that most of the PHASE staff weren’t very aware of who we were, why we were there, or what we do. Other than a small stamp as a donor on the company calendar, GlobeMed was an unknown. The trip was an invaluable opportunity to communicate our goals to PHASE staff and demonstrate our potential as interns every summer. We got the chance to interact work with so many PHASE staff members, getting to explain who we are to them. We also gave a presentation to the staff at the end of the summer, summarizing what our initial goals for the trip were, what we had been doing in our time in Nepal, and more general information about the chapter. We were graciously hosted by a PHASE education officer who we spent many nights chatting with about PHASE’s work in detail and these personal relationships will not only help in creating better dialogue going forward but they are the types of grounded experiences that will make our fundraising, education efforts, and future GROW planning easier.

Finally, we believe that GROW is crucial to the GlobeMed model, because GlobeMed supports sustainability in development. We believe in accountability for the impact that we have. It is critical for individuals and organizations to understand the impact that they are having when they support projects. Although the work may not be hands on, it is still affecting people, and it is of the utmost importance for donors to understand that and hold themselves accountable for it.

 

The 2016 Summer Grow Team: Colette Midulla, Jenna Sherman, Nick Roberts, Kiley Pratt, Kellie Chin 

Advertisements

Rebuilding Nepal: Reflections from a GlobeMed Alumnus

Nick James Macaluso, an alumnus of GlobeMed at Tufts, is currently working with our partner organization, Practical Help Achieving Self-Empowerment (PHASE) Nepal at their headquarters in Bhaktapur. He answered some questions about his experience over email.

IMG_0120PHASE’s new office building

Nick James (NJ) Macaluso graduated from Tufts last year and was a GlobeMed member during his time as an undergraduate. He served as GlobeMed at Tufts’ Grassroots Onsite Work (GROW) Coordinator on our executive board. The GROW team organizes our summer internship projects; NJ was able to visit PHASE Nepal during the summer of 2014 as a GROW intern. He is currently working with PHASE Nepal at their headquarters in Bhaktapur. He works under the Communications Manager, and has been helping with PHASE’s website, including creating graphics and generating future website content, among other projects.

NJ’s biggest project with PHASE so far has been creating a summary sheet for each Village Development Committee (VDC) where PHASE works; he described a VDC as “kind of like the subgroup of each district—for example, Rayale is a VDC of Kavre.”  These summary sheets include project information, donors, and demographic information.

NJ is also helping plan the 2016 GROW trip. His history with GROW and previous role as GlobeMed at Tufts’ GROW Coordinator has informed his work with PHASE in this aspect. He wrote, “As coordinator last year, a big part of my job was figuring out how to make the trip unique from the previous year, and I’ll continue to do that here on the ground in Nepal.” NJ will be traveling to Rayale, where this year’s team will be placed, to evaluate their needs and help next year’s team develop a project that will benefit PHASE.

IMG_0275The view from where NJ is living in Nepal

Earthquake Damage

The massive earthquakes in Nepal on April 25th and May 12th of 2015 and their aftershocks left thousands of families without homes or livelihoods; the earthquake on April 25th was of 7.8 magnitude; the two major aftershocks on May 12th were of 7.3 and 6.8 magnitude. On NJ’s first night, there was another earthquake of 5.3 magnitude. He wrote, “It was absolutely terrifying, but such aftershocks have become the norm for most people in Nepal.” NJ was in Kathmandu at the time, relatively far from the epicenter in Sindhupalchowk, so he was unharmed.

NJ stated that since his arrival in Nepal, he has seen countless construction projects. However, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu, the two areas he has visited so far, were not among the areas that were severely damaged by the earthquake. According to NJ, many popular tourist sites were damaged; tourism is a large contributor to Nepal’s economy. For example, two of the sites he visited on his first trip to Nepal—Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square and Basantapur—have been significantly damaged by the earthquakes.

IMG_0152Damage in Bhaktapur from the earthquakes

PHASE Nepal’s Relief Efforts

Like the organization’s name suggests, self-empowerment is central to PHASE’s mission. As stated on their website, PHASE Nepal’s vision is “A self-empowered and self-sustained society, where all kinds of discrimination are absent.” PHASE Nepal is a non-profit, non-governmental, nonpolitical, social development organization founded in 2006. PHASE Nepal’s core programming includes health, education, and livelihood projects for disadvantaged populations in the Himalayan regions of Nepal. PHASE strives to break the cycle of poverty in these regions by helping communities achieve a self-sufficient future.  

In addition to these core projects, PHASE has implemented an Emergency Relief Program for VDCs of Gorkha, Sindhupalchowk, and other districts. NJ wrote, “These projects include distribution of shelter materials and other necessary items, construction of school TLCs (Temporary Learning Centers), roof reconstruction, winterization projects, and WASH [Water And Sanitation for Health] projects. PHASE attracted many new donors around the world after the earthquake who have been responsible for these projects.”

IMG_0272Students celebrating Saraswati, a school holiday devoted to the Goddess of Education/Knowledge

GlobeMed After College

NJ said, “My involvement in GlobeMed definitely made this all 100% possible!” He also stated that things our chapter discussed during our weekly Global Health University (ghU) lessons have informed his volunteer work. For example, one of his projects is updating PHASE’s donors on Nepal’s progress in the Millennium Development Goals, a topic we covered in ghU last semester. He added, “GlobeMed is definitely a great tool for those who would like to work with NGOs or have a career in public health. Even the structure of GlobeMed is similar to the office structure of PHASE, and it’s nice to feel comfortable in this setting, delegating work within teams and sub-committees.”

IMG_0233NJ with some students of Shankhadhar Memorial School, which is located right near the PHASE office, during their Parents Day program. The students did performances, such as dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, karate, gymnastics. 

Learn more about PHASE Nepal through their website and 2014-2015 Annual Report.

Learn more about GlobeMed at Tufts through our Facebook page.

Consider donating to PHASE through GlobeMed at Tufts’ current project to support the work that Nick James Macaluso and countless others are doing to help rebuild Nepal.

Please contact tufts@globemed.org if you have further questions about GlobeMed at Tufts or about our partner organization, PHASE Nepal.

 

Taylor Kennedy is a senior majoring in Child Study & Human Development and Clinical Psychology. She served as GlobeMed at Tufts’ Director of Communications from 2013-2015.

A Bhalcandra School Update from Binod

It’s been just over 3 months since the GROW team returned from Nepal, and we’ve been anxious to check in on life in Rayale. When working with the child clubs at the Bhalchandra School and Shree Shanti Niketan, one of our main focuses was designing goals with the children that they could work towards and accomplish even after we had left. Sustainable solutions are a fundamental part of PHASE Nepal’s mission, and therefore the GROW team hoped to brainstorm self-sufficient yet attainable projects for the students to tackle this year. Because we were working with such incredibly driven and creative kids, we were never worried about the fate of the child clubs after our departure!

Thanks to Facebook, receiving updates on the latest happenings at Bhalchandra School is just a click away. Binod, an English teacher and the adult coordinator for the school’s child club, was more than happy to share both stories and photographs of some of the great work the Bhalchandra School Creative Child Club has completed in the short time since we’ve been gone. He told me how proud he was of their work, and it’s easy to see why! Here are some of the inspiring and innovative programs that the students have organized:

  • A quiz competition, in which the winner received a small prize paid for by the Bhalchandra School teachers and staff
  • A “week of sport” that included running activities for all students as well as a football (soccer) tournament for those interested
Bhalchandra School football tournament participants, (photo provided by Binod, in center).

Bhalchandra School football tournament participants, (photo provided by Binod, in center).

  • Activities for Children’s Day, a widely celebrated holiday in Nepal. While it was already customary for Bhalchandra School to host a special event, the child club volunteered to aid the adults. They managed crowds and materials, supervised the younger children, and provided water, tea, and biscuits to the rest of their classmates. Binod was also excited to share with us that they won 2nd and 3rd prizes in singing, dancing, and oratory competitions against 13 schools!
  • Maintenance of the vegetable garden started with the help of Nick and Morgan during the GROW trip. This was a special program that we were able to bring to fruition during our time in Rayale, so it was really cool to hear that the child club is still taking care of it, and that the vegetables are doing well!
Bitter gourd from the Bhalchandra School vegetable garden (photo provided by Binod).

Bitter gourd from the Bhalchandra School vegetable garden (photo provided by Binod).

We’re so lucky to be working with schools in Rayale that have such passionate children and adults, like Binod, supporting both GlobeMed and PHASE Nepal’s missions even when we aren’t able to be there with them. It’s great that we are able to keep in touch over Facebook and share in their success. Binod also described his hopes to implement a special management committee for the child club that would provide funding and adult assistance with programming, so we’re sure that we will only hear of bigger and better things from the Bhalchandra School Creative Child Club in the future!

Nick James Macaluso is a senior majoring in Biology and Environmental Studies.  He is a member of the Campaigns team.

GlobeMed at Tufts is proud to announce our new partner, PHASE Nepal!

Standing for Practical Help Achieving Self-Empowerment, PHASE Nepal was established in 2006 by a group of professionals from different sectors of Nepal. PHASE Nepal’s approach is called Community Development Programme (CDP) and serves to empower both communities and individuals at every level. Invested in providing equal opportunity to eliminate poverty, PHASE Nepal is focused in three main districts: Sindhupalchok, Gorkha, and Humla. They are a non-governmental and non-profit organization that aims to help build “self-sufficient futures” for various remote villages in the Himalayan region of Nepal that lack access to basic health services. Their main objective to “improve the livelihoods of rural people by providing immediate support” falls within seven different components – basic health services, education, agriculture and forestry, gender and social inclusion, infrastructure development, strengthening institutional capacity of groups, and conflict mitigation and social justice.

We are so excited to work with them to break the cycle of poverty in the Himalayas through community efforts to promote health, education, infrastructure, agriculture, and social justice! Learn more about PHASE Nepal at http://phasenepal.org/