Monday, December 5, 2011

Building a School in Nepal

Nepal
I often said that building the first school was going to be the hardest one.  Once we delivered that project on time and in budget, we would find the second school much easier to fund and build.  "Gimme money to build a school" is so much harder than "Gimme money to build another school".

And that is what has happened.  I learnt recently that Meaningful Volunteer would receive funding for another solar powered school.  Most excellent.

After much talking with the Meaningful Volunteer staff, we decided on the country of Nepal to set up the school.

It is great to have the country and the finances both checked off.

But there is still the non-trivial matter of actually building the school.  Here are some of things we need to check off before we can get the school built:


  • Location
    Nepal seems to split into two.  One side is more developed and has a bunch of NGOs (non-government organizations).  The other is less developed and bereft on NGOs.

    We're likely to go for the less developed side. Less NGOs means less corruption and the need is likely to be more. Our biggest challenge is likely to be the roads.
  • Safety.   Safety.   Safety.
    Wherever we choose, it's gotta be safe.  This overrides any other considerations we might have.

    My heart is firmly placed in Northern Uganda.  The North would no doubt benefit with some Meaningful Volunteer projects, but is just too damn dangerous.

    If there is a similar area in Nepal, we won't be going there. This is likely to rule out border towns.
  • Somewhere for volunteers to stay
    We were lucky to find a gated compound for volunteers to stay in Uganda.  We will need to find somewhere similar in Nepal that's safe, secure and comfortable.
  • Conduct a census
    One of the very sensible things we did in Buyaya, was to conduct a census.  Once we have established a location in Nepal, we will do the same.

    This will help us get to grips with what the needs are in the community.
  • Establishment of a legal entity
    The Meaningful Volunteer CBO (community based organization) legally owns the land and the school in Uganda.  A similar entity needs to be established in Nepal.
  • Internet Access
    Internet access is a must.  I'm sure I don't need to spell out why it is so useful.  A USB device that access the cellphone network is the most likely Internet option.
  • Reconnaissance
    We'll need to send someone over to Nepal to answer these questions and sort these issues out before we can start construction on the school.
This list seems overwhelming at times.  But we got it done in Uganda and I'm sure we can get it done again in Nepal.

(This blog is also on the Meaningful Blog)

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