onsdag 16. juni 2010

Red Cross activities - also in Norway

Who would have thought?!

But, yes, back in Norway and the work is not over yet. We have two months of after work and information is an important part of this.

A warm welcome by Ole Jørgen Krohn-Nydal og Charlott Gyllenhammar Nordström in Trondheim. I had a presentation to my old co-workers and volunteers from my district chapter in Norway.

On Monday all the Youth Delegate couples had a presentation about their stay and work in a foreign country in a new National Society. This is Durga from Nepal who has been staying in Arendal in the southern part of Norway.

Now we are all warming up for the final presentation. Tonight is the night and students aged 16-18 is the target group. Update on this performance will come later :)

This is all of us Youth Delegates this year

fredag 28. mai 2010

The crew of Three

Pabitra, Rajesh and Nilan are three of the most active volunteers in Lalitpur Distrct in the activities we have worked with. In Sankhu VDC there was one Youth Circle without any training, organizational knowledge or activities. When we asked if they would want it if we came and had an Organizational Development Workshop with them, they were very happy. When we asked the three volunteers they were eager to do this work almost all by themselves. The result was a fantastic 3 days workshop in a remote VDC for 25 new volunteers, developed and implemented by the volunteers.

Here are some pictures :)

lørdag 15. mai 2010

Human Trafficking - Four voices

Dhading district is one of the source areas from where girls are trafficked to India and Kathmandu. It took us around 2 hours to go there, and here are some of the stories from the volunteers working on preventing human trafficking to continue.

The place
Dhading district is one of Kathmandu's neighboring districts and is supposedly the second largest supplier of girls to the Indian sex marked. The literacy rate is very low (43.48%), the district is hard to reach with car, as the roads are not in a particularly good condition, many people migrate for employment and the majority of the population are farmers working on subsidized land. The food shortage is a problem in the northern parts of the district, bordering to China, and this is also the place where most people are trafficked from.

The problem
Try to put yourself in the position of the mother who is not able to grow or by enough food for her three children and her family in-law. Put yourself in the position of the grandfather taking his grandchild to the marked and putting her up for bidding. Put yourself in the position of being a girl in a poor family, you have not had meat or milk for fourteen days and then your father says you will go to Kathmandu and work as a maid to help support the family. Or even better, being married to a rich and handsome Indian. Fake marriages is not uncommon and often girls get false promises of a decent job and sophisticated life in the city if they agree to go to India. The girls believe and agree to go with the broker to India where they usually are sold to brothels. Mostly the brokers are nearby relatives of the victims. Most of the parents are not informed of the job status of their children.

The people
Luko (20) and Pramila (17) are both Tamang. Meaning that they belong to the ethnic group
most exposed to human trafficking in Dhading. We meet them at a training for strengthening the capacity of youth in three village development communities (VDC), where the problem is at highest scale. The two girls are highly motivated to fight human trafficking; -We will focus on anti stigma work, on publicly putting the problem on the agenda and on making the people in our village aware of this as a problem that the whole community has to face and do something with, it is not only the responsibility for the police. Dinesh (20) and Kuron (16), two boys from two other VDCs underlines the importance of both being together with other youths, to get inspiration and knowledge about the complexity of the problem and how they together can contribute in making a change for the people affected; their neighbors, friends and relatives.

The project
Norwegian Red Cross Youth have had a campaign the two last years to fight Human Trafficking and Nepal is one of three countries where we have implemented projects. Three VDCs are
in foucus in Dhading, Nepal. Each VDC will form a Youth Action Team Against Trafficking, consisting of five boys and five girls. The action teams will be trained on anti-human trafficking, HIV-prevention, need analysis and street drama performance. My co-delegate Emil visited this street drama training two weeks before we went there to this project proposal workshop. At the workshop they planned their coming work the coming year; peer education, door to door visits, orientations, discussions, street drama shows, folk song competition in their communities. I can nothing but wish them the best of luck in this very important Red Cross work - preventing human suffering!

onsdag 5. mai 2010

Maheshwori – the team leader

I needed my phone fixed, and suddenly my contact person and two volunteers are at my gate to help - one of them is the First Aid team leader in our district, and has the main coordinating responsibility for the Red Cross activities these bandh days. I invite for tea and we talk about the last five days.

- As a First Aid team leader and a focal person in Lalitupur DC I have experiences from before, says Maheshwori. In 2006 we also provided first aid. Then I was leader for one group only, now I am leader for the whole district. She is an efficient woman; member of executive committee, coordinator of Women development committee and First Aid Team coordinator. She continues: - According to the situation the first day, we mobilized six teams, including the logistic team. As the days have gone by, we have been scaling down the teams, one day at the time. Today we had only one mobile team in the streets. The last days we felt that we have too many volunteers in the streets. We don’t go to the places people sleep, we stay in the streets.

What do you do in the streets?
- We bandage wounds, sprains and strains. The wounds are caused by all the walking. They have also cramps in their feet, and for that we give them cream and massage. Some have stomach problems, we advise them to drink lot of water and distribute ORS (anti dehydration powder for mixing with water), Maheshwori explains. The strike is a peace full strike. We don't need so many volunteers in the streets.

I ask her how it is to be a Red Cross volunteer these days. She and my two other visitors laugh, take another sip of the tea and sit up straight. - As Red Cross personnel, we feel very proud to be out in the streets. People know us and they have a lot of respect for Red Cross. Whenever they need us, we are there, and this they know.

So, what will the next day’s bring, you think?

- Tomorrow?! We will have to see the situation. Red Cross Action Team will be alert and first aid volunteers. They are informed and ready to join if needed within 15-20 min. We will always have one mobile team in the streets in Patan and the other five teams are on alert.

I want to say another thing, Maheshwori says, as the tea is finished, phone is fixed and the mosquitoes are getting more annoying: In 2006 we did not have a mobile team at our district. The volunteers had to walk for 5-6 hours every day and it was not always that they reached the places they were needed. Now we have a mobile team with a car and this is great progress. This means that we can reach the places we are needed in few minutes. We don’t have a Red Cross car, we are renting one. This also gives the volunteers a big relief, to know that they don't have to walk for a loooong time.

søndag 2. mai 2010

May-days in Kathmandu 2010

I count 13 motorcycles in front of Nepal Red Cross headquarter today. Usually there are at least 60-70. It is nation wide general strike and Red Cross is of course ready and out in the streets.

Photo: The street outside Nepal Red Cross Society is quiet and empty. A strange sight!

Five cars in the streets

Two days ago, 1st of May 2010, masses of demonstrators filled the streets of Kathmandu. We have strict security regulations, telling us to avoid non-essential movement, and today's ride to work was with marked Red Cross car. The streets were filled up with people - some playing football, others reading the newspaper. We maneuvered slowly around the big stones blocking the road and met four cars on our way; one from UN, a Press car, a water truck and Red Cross ambulance.

Volunteers in action
Red Cross in Nepal has mobilized over 300 volunteers in 23 districts. In our district, Lalitpur, our volunteers have been placed at four different posts and one as a mobile team. They are all in the streets to provide emergency services purely on humanitarian ground. So far they have been mostly occupied with distributing water purifying tablets and re-hydration solution to avoid dehydration.

Indefinite strike
We don't know when the strike will end. What we do know is that our volunteers will continue to do a great job, being out in the streets; taking no side they will provide the necessary aid on a humanitarian ground.

søndag 28. mars 2010

A nerdy blog post on election process and organizational structure in Nepal Red Cross Society

Every 4 year there is an election at district level in Nepal, and lucky for us – this year was such a year. By lucky I mean that the opportunity to watch and be a part of such a process is both interesting and important to get a fully understanding of how our new national society works. Last weekend the district board was changed, and this is what happens:

To form a district chapter (in Nepal there are 75 districts, and each one of them has a district chapter) you have to have at least 10 sub chapters, consisting of at least 50 members. In Lalitpur District we have 15 active sub chapters and out of them, each sub chapter can send 5 representatives to vote at the district assembly, but for being sent out as a delegate from your sub chapter, you have to have been a Red Cross member for at least 5 years. These 5 people will choose the new District Executive Committee consisting of President + 12 members. This is not necessarily done by voting; this year 19 members from Sub Photo: Two delegates voting

Chapter level wanted to be members of District Chapter, but after negotiations and lobbying, one and one withdrew and they were left with a list of 12 persons that the Annual Meeting clapped on to show agreement and the new District Executive Committee was recognized. The same thing happened with the President election; two candidates, one withdrew and the new one was recognized.

Then the President chooses 5 extra persons from Sub Chapters that has not been elected into the Committee – based on loyalty and trust, says Devi at my office. I have a hard time grasping the process, as it is so difficult from Norwegian Red Cross. Devi draws an organizational map and is very patient in his explanations on my sometimes very stupid questions. Then, he says, the President chooses who will be in positions as vice-president, treasurer, secretary etc. He also appoints leaders of all the sub committees in the district, based on their expertise (we have in our district these committees: woman development, community development, disaster management, Junior/Youth, health and ambulance and organizational development). In addition, the President appoints one person to sit in Ex.Com from the

Photo: The District Executive Committee discussing

Government – to ensure a good cooperation and development of our Red Cross Chapter in Nepal.

So, how can this affect our work, Emil and I ask each other. Well, on Friday last week we went to Banepa with 8 of our Youth leaders to learn from their experiences of having a Youth committee consisting of Youth for Youth. The newly elected President seams glad to support our work in developing such a structural change also in Lalitpur, and we will have closer talks on the subject on how this committee might be included in the District Chapter work on a day-to-day basis. The Youth themselves find this very important and is ready to fight for their rights to be heard when it comes to developing Red Cross as an organization in Nepal. We’re crossing our fingers for this to happen before we leave – only two months left now and there is still so much to do!

Next year will be election at national level; the campaigns for presidency will start soon and last for 14 months. This is something for the next years youth delegates to look forward to!

Photo: Youth Exchange project: We had our own poster printed :)

tirsdag 16. mars 2010

Youth Conference in Nuwakot

Two days of marking the 30th Youth Conference in Nepal Red Cross Society is over and we hope the Juniors, Youths and Teacher Sponsors are satisfied and ready to continue their important work for this coming year!

The pictures show Nuwakot city; Red Cross Rally to mark the opening of the conference, candle lights for each year and district participating at the conference and Emil and me holding a presentation on Norwegian Red Cross Youth.