One of the stand-out meetings of the second field trip was with Search for Common Ground. I found their approach to peacebuilding to be very holistic and their level of positive engagement with the community to be inspiring. Their award-winning TV program “Our Team” uses the theme of football to open up discussion on social issues affecting the country. Each character in the show even has their own Facebook page that viewers can interact with. My meeting with International Alert was also a professional highlight of the trip. I met with an SSR specialist form Alert and received a real insight into how peacebuilding is happening at the grass-roots and governmental level in Nepal.
Meeting at the Underprivileged Children’s Educational Program (UCEP)
Midway through the week we made a long bus journey west, to the City of Pokhara. On the way we visited the Hoste Hainse Child Development Society NGO and their “Zone of Peace” School.
Pokhara is a haven for someone like myself interested in the outdoors as it acts as a gateway to the Himalayas for many hiking and kayaking expeditions. Hopefully one day I’ll get some time there for some exploring. We made a stop in two Tibetan refugee camps in town. These settlements stood in stark contrast to the Burmese camps in Mae Sot as the Tibetan community are much more integrated into the wider Nepalese society than is practically possible for the people in the temporary camps in Thailand.
The CHESS/Heifer International project that we visited on the side of a mountain outside of town demonstrated how a holistic, well thought-out and practical approach to development can have a profound effect of conflict transformation on a community level. The project was obviously set in a very picturesque surrounding but it will be the testimonials from the women I will take away with me.
A community group welcoming us to their project.
Dawn over the Himalayas on our last day in Nepal