What is the injustice we are solving?
According to the ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contribution’ report drafted by the Ministry of Population and Environment, Nepal is ranked 145th in Human Development Index, making the country highly susceptible to Climate change. Climate change has been introduced as the major problem making the world vulnerable to drastic changes that impacts communities, ecosystem and livelihood of people. One of the major causes of Climate change is alarmingly increasing percentage of Green House Gases in the atmosphere resulting in air pollution. Relentlessly increasing air pollution in Kathmandu Valley is proving to be a peril to the health of its inhabitants. The air quality of Kathmandu is deteriorating day by day and has been ranked 5th in Pollution Index 2017 mid-year as published by the Numbeo.com recently. Major factor contributing to the risky level of air pollution in Kathmandu is increasing level of dust in the air caused by the seemingly unending road demolition-road construction cycle, sewage management structures and Melamchi Drinking Water Project. These construction projects are continuously running in cycle and posses a destructive consequence by raising the pollution level. These injustices are mainly rooted in existing urban social structure and preference is given to individuals in political power who do not promote people’s participation, failure to make essential laws and demote access to information. So, ‘We’ for Change aims to initiate a 5 months long campaign; calling government agencies to recognize this injustice as a situation of public health emergency, pushing the government for implementing rapid construction work and to focus on the issue of increasing air pollution in Kathmandu through series of human and media protest programs. Because ‘We’ believe that right to speak out is access to justice.
Our Compassionate Solution:
To solve this injustice of Negligence shown by Government of Nepal on the rapidly increasing issue of ‘Air Pollution’ in urban areas of Nepal.
we will address Ignorant and corrupt behavior of government towards slow paced works of contractors and rampant use of old vehicles that has been affecting health and livelihood of people living in urban areas of Nepal.
by Forming pressure groups and organizing silent stand up protest and silent march to push government to work for reduction of air pollution and by posting awareness posters to encourage and aware general public to work on the issue of air pollution from an individual level.
Our Project Plan:
- We will conduct 3 silent and peaceful protests through the means of social media and informative protest banners by the end of December 2018, to pressurize the government in improving the air quality of Kathmandu valley with the involvement of 50 youths from Kathmandu.
We will increase my / our compassion by...
1) Trying to understand the painful, suffocating situation of the local commuters who are forced to live in a polluted environment. 2) Understanding the constraints of the government’s approach in addressing the issue. 3) Ensuring that both the government and the local commuters are also a part of the designed solution.
How will you show courage?
By peacefully protesting against the passive government to mend its ways, to demand for newer policies that ensures clean environment for all the urban inhabitants in the nation, and by speaking out for those voiceless commuters who are most affected by air pollution.
How will you collaborate with others?
We plan to collaborate with YUWA, literally meaning youths, is a local NGO stationed at Kathmandu which works for youth identification, leadership enhancement and youth empowerment. We plan to take help from YUWA by organizing a consultation meeting with them to discuss the better ways of moving forth to conduct our silent march and protest. Some of the 50 youths who will be mobilized in the project will be recruited from the members of ‘We’ for Change and YUWA respectively. Furthermore we plan to collaborate with local traffic authorities, municipalities and Local development committees.
How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)
The various indicators that determine the initiation is going in the right direction are: 1. Number of the youth participants involved in the silent protest. 2. Number of local commuters reached through the street rally. 3. News and local media coverage of the rally sensitizing the issue.
- Meeting with the collaborators i.e. YUWA, Traffic authorities, municipalities etc.
- Identification of street rally site
- Resource allocation for the conduction of 3 rallies till December
- Call for application and boosting the pre- information relay of the rally in social media sites
- Conduction of 3 respective peaceful and silent marches
- Promotion of awareness pamphlets through ‘We’ for Change Facebook page.
- Post- project evaluation
How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?
The project 'Pahal: Justice for green generation provided us the opportunity to interact with many youths of Kathmandu valley. It made us know what the actual situation of environment pollution really is in the capital city of the nation. And how this excessive increase in pollution growth has affected the lives of the people. The silent rally has made us realize that there are many youths in the nation who are against the government's slow paced works but are afraid of prosecution.
How did your community change as a result of your project?
Our project was able to spark hope of environmental sustainability and greener and better Nepal for about 150 youths present in the 3 level of separate silent protest rally. ‘We’ made it possible for these participants to come together to talk about peace and ecological rights and raise voices against the degrading environmental condition of Kathmandu. Most of the participants were not entirely dissatisfied at our government but were hopeful that Nepal would change in the prospect of establishing ecological rights and cleaner environment in the near future to come . Through our rally they were not entirely complaining the government but raising voice to the general public to be conscious about environmental protection themselves. The participants present there even pledged that they would conduct a monthly cleaning campaign in Kalanki the most polluted part of Kathmandu.
How many people were impacted by your project?
In addition to those directly impacted, are there additional people you feel were indirectly indirectly impacted or reached? If so, how many? (This might include people who read about your project, families of people that attended your workshops or received services, etc.)
We had prepared registration form fill up system. The records of number of people impacted can be verified with the use of 'Beneficiary list'. 150 youths were brought in through youth networking of 'We' for Change, assimilating the interns, trainees, members and volunteers at the organization.
How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?
'My eye sight is so cloudy these days, and when I went to the doctor he said to leave this place and go somewhere else as this polluted environment is badly affecting your eye sight' - Zinu Maharjan, a close friend of mine said this to me before she left Nepal to study in Australia mainly because her eye infection caused due to pollution. This is the similar story of millions of people who reside in Kathmandu, pedestrians or motorcycle and scooter users. If this condition persists in the near future, Kathmandu will be an inhabitable city by 2040, thus Thus, it has become more than necessary for my team learn about people and their sentiments regarding the issue. When our team interacted with the beneficiaries, we were able to understand perspective of youths from Kathmandu that the slower new government not doing anything for the improvement of the nation has hurt the sentiments of the Nepalese Citizens.
What did your team learn?
In each phase, from planning to implementation, the team developed their professional and personal skills. 1. Team work 2. Chain of command effectively maintained 3. Ability to plan has increased. 4. Ability to add own component and contribution to the project activities. 5. Ability to make decision as per requirement of the event. 6. Budget management
What challenges did your team overcome?
The silent rally would have been more effective if this could be displayed in front of the road department office or the office of the Prime Minister of Nepal. But according to the new act Nepalese citizens are forbidden to protest in front of any government office and if we do so we will be sent to jail or be the victim of discriminate behavior of the police. The process of taking approval to conduct our silent rally in the vicinity of governmental offices in Maitighar Mandala was a hassle. The Central Development Office was hesitant to let us perform our street rally. Not only this the Nepal Police despite their co operation to help us set up the rally warned us not to protest or create sound while conducting our program. Amid all these confusion we successfully conducted our 3 street silent rally to raise awareness among the people of Kathmandu to unite against the on-going air pollution.
How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?
2 days prior to any rally held we organized an informal session inclusive of members, trainees, interns and volunteers to discuss how effectively the program can be conducted. We discussed about the drawbacks and ways to move forward with newer and better ideas.
What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?
Both the team mates in this project myself Dipika Badal and my close friend and team mate Anusha Maharjan, we consider ourselves not a world changer but we consider ourselves ordinary youths who have the courage to do something instead of lazying at home. There were times when we questioned 'What are we doing, this is not enough' and we have had our depressing moments when things didn't go as planned. But the most important lesson that we learnt through this project is no matter what, a team member by your side correcting you and supporting you is just enough to do change this troubling times. If you are starting your project then start now, do now because tomorrow will be too late.