Just over a week ago, I returned from a two-week trip to Nepal where I visited projects that PHASE Worldwide supports and met with our partner organisation PHASE Nepal. This trip was very important to me as it was my first chance to meet PHASE Nepal staff, and more importantly, the communities involved with PHASE’s work.
For the first few days of my trip I was working from PHASE Nepal’s office in Dadhikot in the suburbs of Kathmandu. PHASE Nepal’s office is a hive of activity and the office felt so full of energy. I met with staff from across the organisation, from finance to health, livelihoods, education, research, and disaster risk resilience. All the staff were so helpful and gave up their valuable time to talk to me about how their work contributes to PHASE’s overall mission of reducing poverty through health, education, and livelihood work.
While I was in the office, PHASE Nepal were busy preparing for their bi-annual two-day conference. This involves all 140 staff returning from across Nepal for refresher training and shared learning workshops which focus on best practices and new methods of work. This is just one example of how PHASE is continually looking to improve and be the best in the NGO sector in Nepal. A team from Sheffield University were visiting PHASE Nepal to train staff in participatory video making. In the future, this will involve local staff collecting community feedback about PHASE’s work, which will give people involved the opportunity to share their thoughts and reflections, as well as enabling PHASE to document and demonstrate our work.
I was able to take a two-day trip away from the hustle and bustle of the office up to Hagam and Phulpingkot in Sindhulpalchok. Sindhulpalchok was greatly damaged by the earthquakes in 2015 and this was still clearly visible. While there is a lot of rebuilding going on, it was apparent that people are still living under tarpaulins and it is estimated that 1 in 10 people in Sindhulpalchok will never be able to rebuild their homes.
To get there, it took six hours from Kathmandu. Three hours driving on a partly tarmacked road and two hours on stone. At points our driver had to get out and rebuild the road moving stones to allow us to drive on. In our final hour, we walked to reach the highest village in Hagam where the PHASE health post is. Here I met Srijana and Saraswati, two incredible young Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) who work in Hagam. I was so impressed by the Hagam Health Post and the Outreach Clinic which were fully equipped and staffed and clearly accessible to the local community. Common cases here are fractures, broken bones, and burns. It was clear that there was a close relationship between PHASE staff and Government Health Workers which is vital to ensure PHASE’s sustainable exit in the future.
Without this health post, communities face a two hour walk to a private health clinic, which is not even a form of healthcare but just access to medicine. This medicine is not usually affordable and often the wrong medication is sold. The next nearest healthcare is in Jalbire which is a four hour round trip on an unreliable bus that comes once a day, if it comes. The more time I spent in Hagam, the more it became apparent that without PHASE’s work, many people would simply be without healthcare.
I came away from my time in Nepal feeling truly inspired by the staff working in such remote areas wanting to share with everyone the work PHASE does. PHASE is an organisation that truly centres its work on community-based development, whilst working to build sustainable access to health, education, and livelihoods. So, I urge you to please support PHASE’s work if you are able to. Thank you.
Tom Edwards. April, 2018
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