Squatter problem is serious in Nepal. They don’t have fixed land & reside in Government lands. Thus, they have mental threats about demolition of their houses by governmental and political forces. Proposed project will be executed in squatter area of Mangalpur of Chitwan. Media like photographs, blogging and video will be used to reveal squatters’ status and problems faced by low caste squatter to sustain their culture, will also be exposed. At last, the project aims to focus attention of civil societies, government and universities in addressing problem of squatter society of 30 households.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Mangalpur VDC, Chitwan district.
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
I have involved in the squatter society since the initiation of my B.Sc. Ag study in 2008. When I was in the society for the first time in 2008, I saw many young girls and boys, old men and women in miserable condition. They didn’t have access to education, continuous income sources, good clothes, electricity etc. Thereafter, I determined to work for the society. Though people of all the age groups are poor there, the project will focus on young men and women and children thinking that if government and developmental organizations awaken by hearing their condition, their future will be good. In addition, young people have greater inclination to social media as we have seen.15 young men and 15 women will be selected for the project.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
I have good networks of friends for helping me in implementing the project. Being an executive board member of the World Students’ Community for Sustainable Development (WSCSD) (www.wscsd.org), I have friends from my university and foreign nations to guide me in this guard. Similarly, I have good co-ordination with Mr. Chris Ke Sihai and Mrs. Michele Baron who is the Mega Hero of the Urgent Evoke, the online crash course by the World Bank in 2010. Previously Chris and I were coordinating to design energy project for the same squatter society. The facebook links of Chris and Michele are respectively; https://www.facebook.com/#!/norabele?fref=ts and https://www.facebook.com/#!/chris.kesihai?fref=ts.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Website: A website will be developed in blog form which will highlight the living standards of the squatter families. The website will contain videos, photos and audio of the speakers about their problems. Similarly, the solution of their problems on their own view and views from the governmental and political parties’ officials will be integrated in the website. In addition, their style of cultural celebrations and hurdles in it will also be included.
Facebook: Facebook page will be created where young squatter men and women can share their opinion about society, education via mobile Facebook. The page will also involve governmental and political parties’ officials for answering the issues raised by the squatter participants.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established or plan to establish that will contribute to the success of the project.
I have good relationships with the following organizations;
Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) (www.afu.edu.np)
Local Development Office, Chitwan
World Students’ Community for Sustainable Development (WSCSD)
In addition, I intend to coordinate with Alumni of Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences for providing necessary feedback and help to be incurred in future.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
The project aims to focus government and political parties on squatter issue which is political issue currently. It trusts that once voices of young squatters are listened and watched by them, politics of squatter development will cease paving way for overall development. The project aims to empower 15 young squatter men and 15 women. The project will empower young people to speak and design their needs with help of social media. 3 groups will be made each consisting of 10 young people. They will be trained to design and speak about their status and wants. The monitoring of each group will be done on month basis via group meeting in field. Presentations, familiarity with local government & political parties, design of status & problems will be used as parameters while monitoring project.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
The project will use technologies rooted on website and Facebook. Website and Facebook are the popular ICTs used presently for personal and social benefits. Photography, video recording and audio media will be used to express conditions of squatter and the same will be done for uploading responses of governmental and political parties’ officials. I have been using blogs and Facebook for 4-5 years. I have also experience of guest blogging in the Youth Website of the World Bank Groups in 2012 about school dropout problem from the similar community in the same district. Similarly, I am good at video and photography and have won several international contests about socio-economic issues. Having experiences in these technologies and popularity of these media motivate me to use these media.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The workshop will be organized in the seminar hall of Agriculture and Forestry University. With the help of university administration and students of AFU, 15 laptops will be collected in such a way that 2 people can employ 1 laptop. There is good Wifi facility of bandwidth 256 to 516 kbps.
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
I am in contact with the community since initiation of my B.Sc. Ag study at Institute of Agriculture, Chitwan in 2008. Interaction with the community got solid shape after participating in Urgent Evoke; a crash course in changing world, by World Bank, 2010. Some friends from Urgent Evoke & I started to design energy project suitable for such place. Since then, my relationship with community is enhanced. I am best individual to do this project as I have good connection with both squatter society and officials from governmental & political bodies. In addition, I am motivated to work for development of such communities. According to one of the squatter man, I was the first educated man to visit their place to ask their status. In order to preserve that image, I want to do this project.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
There may be challenges of different dimensions ranging from psychological to educational. First, squatter may ask ‘what is the necessity of using facebook from mobile/computer/laptop when there is no food to eat?’ However, the project convinces them that this project will help for many generations to come after. Similarly, other challenges may arise with the possession of Facebook supporting mobile in case of squatters. The project will basically try to select people with mobile otherwise provision of 15 mobile will be made from the project.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
1)15 young squatter men and 15 women will be taught to use social media like weblog, Facebook that reaches the authorities and related developmental organizations.
2)Young squatters and governmental authorities and representatives from developmental organizations working in Chitwan will interact directly about the conditions of the squatter population.
3)Stories and songs of squatter society will be uploaded in website with the help of video recording.
4)Young squatters will be aware about the necessary role of other stakeholders of society for overall development of squatters and they will be ready to cooperate with society for problem solving.
These parameters will be considered while evaluating the success and failure of the project.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
June 2014: Participant selection, expert confirmation, workshop conduction (3 days).
July, 2014: Weblog creation & maintenance, Facebook creation & maintenance.
August-October, 2014. Interaction on weblog and Facebook among different stakeholders of society.
November, 2014: Evaluation of the project. Report writing, coordination with likeminded individuals and organizations to continue the project on the basis of result of this project.
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
Mobile purchase: $800
Mobile internet supply: $400
Workshop costs: $1000 (Includes the cost of 30 participants, expenditure for experts, travel costs for participants, hall of AFU seminar hall)
Miscellaneous (Video, photography and weblog maintenance etc.): $300
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
I will be thankful if the networking with people conducting similar projects from different countries can be made in addition to I have. Similarly, I would like to get knowledge about other technologies that attracts young people from poor communities toward mainstream development path. I will be thankful to get regular guidance and technical advice from the sponsor.
Niraj Prasad Koirala