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Nepali alumni secure grants for disability initiatives and climate change actions

Posted: 7 March 2022

Nepal, Alumni, COVID-19, Disability, Environment, Impact, Inclusion,

Australia Awards alumni in Nepal have made instrumental contributions towards sustainable development in their country. To support alumni to have even greater impact, Australia Awards – Nepal offered alumni two small grant opportunities in early 2022 to achieve change in their communities. These opportunities were the Alumni Disability Initiative Grants and the Climate Change Action Grants. Alumni were invited to apply on a competitive basis for grants either as individuals or as part of an alumni group.

Since 2018, the Alumni Disability Initiative Grants have supported activities or pilot initiatives implemented by alumni in Nepal that positively affect and improve human rights and the dignity of people with disability. The grants are designed to encourage and support alumni initiatives that promote innovation and collaboration for building awareness, developing capacity, promoting equal opportunities and reducing barriers for people with disability in Nepal. Each grant provides funding of up to NPR90,000 (approximately $1000).

Four alumni received Alumni Disability Initiative Grants in the most recent round and are currently working on activities to be completed by 19 April 2022, as profiled below.

Hem Raj Pandey, Senior Public Health Officer at the Kapilvastu Health Office, will use the grant to build ramps at his workplace. The ramps will provide physical access to wheelchair users who visit the office, which is not currently wheelchair accessible.

Australia Awards alum Hem Raj Pandey

The grant will support Pallav Pant, Chairperson at Atullya Foundation Pvt Ltd, to design a guideline for accessible alerts and notifications for the Bachau mobile application, which connects people with disability with first responders during emergencies. By conducting a workshop to discuss and collate the specific needs of people with disability, Pallav will ensure that the notifications are accessible and useful for people with disability.

Dr Rabindra Baskota, Chief of the Ministry of Health and Population’s Leprosy Control and Disability Management Section, wants to improve access to public offices for people with disability. The grant will support an interaction program between government officials and people with disability with the aim of making municipality offices accessible and welcoming to people with disability.

Rajuna Singh, Special Education Teacher at Self-Help Group for Cerebral Palsy, is a person with disability who strongly advocates for disability inclusion. She will use the grant to conduct a workshop to raise community awareness of the importance of accessibility for people with disability. As part of the workshop, Rajuna will share her own experiences of seeking and pursuing opportunities—including her Australia Awards Scholarship—as a person with disability, with the aim of inspiring and informing people with disability and their caregivers.

Alum Rajuna Singh

Under a new initiative this year, the Climate Change Action Grants encourage Australia Awards alumni to contribute innovative ideas and actions in the global movement to curb the impacts of climate change. Each grant provides funding of up to NPR180,000 (approximately $2000), which recipients will use to contribute to Nepal’s climate change response.

Seven alumni (one group and three individuals) received Climate Change Action Grants in the recent inaugural round and are currently working on activities to be completed by 17 May 2022, as described below.

One grant will be implemented by a group consisting of four alumni: Dr Anusuya Joshi (Senior Environmental Safeguard Expert, Alternative Energy Promotion Centre), Dr Deepa Shree Rawal (Senior Scientific Officer, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology), Dr Dhiraj Pradhananga (Associate Professor, Tribhuvan University) and Dr Yadav Prasad Kandel (Forestry, REDD+, Environment and Climate Change consultant/expert). The group aims to promote an environmentally friendly domestic metallurgy industry in Lalitpur. They will monitor the air quality and conduct a toxicology analysis at six locations where the metallurgy industry is active. Through workshops, they will promote awareness of health and safety among local government and metal industry representatives and will also draft a framework for guidelines to regulate the metallurgy industry in Lalitpur in the areas of safety, health, air pollution and climate change.

Alum Dr Anusuya Joshi

Dr Jeet Bahadur Chand, Senior Project Engineer (Deputy Secretary) at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, will conduct a three-day training workshop for improvement of water productivity and yield in climate-smart farming. Participants, who are farmers from Nepal’s least-developed provinces, will learn practical and innovative methods of developing agricultural water management plans, based on recent Australian research, to contribute to food security.

Avishek Malla, Energy Specialist at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, will use his grant to promote renewable energy for climate actions and building resilience. To achieve this, he will develop an educational resource on practical applications of renewable energy. He will also train 100 undergraduate and graduate students; he calls these students the future workforce on climate actions.

Alum Avishek Malla

Dr Suira Joshi, Office Chief of the Ministry of Health’s District Ayurveda Health Centre in Dhading, will conduct a training to build the capacity of health workers in hospital waste management in primary care settings. Through the training, health workers will learn to understand different types of hospital waste and practices to manage waste to control environmental and public health risks. Suira will also establish a system with other local hospitals for waste management coordination.

Australia Awards alumni grants are an enabling modality for Australia Awards – South Asia & Mongolia to assist Australia Awards alumni working towards sustainable development in their country. If you have a suitable disability initiative or climate change action activity in mind, keep an eye out for the next round of grants and you could receive funding to help make a difference in your country!