At the start of this I only had two criteria for the charity I wanted to work with. Firstly to able to talk to them and try and develop something specific for the E4 project. Secondly I wanted the E4 funding to go to something which might interest people who share my passion for trekking and walking.
On our recent Nepal holiday, Christine (my wife) and I met the people who run the BNMT and spent an afternoon talking about what they needed and whether or not we could help. It was a brilliant afternoon and I learnt an enormous amount about how the BNMT works and, in particular, what makes it special. I also discovered that money raised by a project like mine could be really important.
|With the co-directors, Sadhana and Bhana|
The BNMT is a Nepalese led charity, run by the Nepalese for the Nepalese. More than 40 years old it operated through the civil war and is a key contributer to the difficult process of post-war reconstruction.
Being a Nepalese led charity has a huge upside in terms of successful projects but a downside when it comes to fundraising. Obvious with hind-site, but a revelation to me when I met the BNMT in Kathmandu, is that a charity essentially based in Nepal finds it much harder to raise money than a western charity. As a consequence the BNMT is much more dependent on funding from national and multi-national bodies like the EU than would otherwise be the case.
While the charity has been very successful in the delivery of programs from funding bodies there is less scope for innovation. Funding from the E4 project, therefore, could be particularly important.
|With the BNMT team|
When we met, the BNMT had a number of projects that fell outside the criteria set by the funding bodies, but they were particularly keen on the "Community Based Child Nutrition Programme". Since our meeting, and working around the constraints of the funding target I'm trying to hit, they have given it more thought and the detail of the program is can be found via this link.
I think it's brilliant and I just hope I can raise the money.
Given the interest we have in the west in child obesity, the fact that around 45 per cent of children under 5 in Nepal are underweight, and consequently stunted, is shocking. Halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger is part of the first of the 8 Millennium Development Goals and addressing the issue of children who are underweight a specific target. Malnutrition, of course, not only impacts a child's growth but is also a challenge to both their survival and cognitive development.
Central to the BNMT approach, and underpinning its commitment to sustainable health improvement, is the empowerment of individuals and communities through a "rights based" approach. Essentially this involves raising expectations about health and using this to change behavior from all those involved in receiving and giving health related services. The core elements of this approach will be used in the "Community Based Nutrition Program".
Working with a particularly poor (even in Nepalese terms) Musahar/landless community in the Kapilvastu District (Nepalese visitors may be familiar with the nearby the Chitwan National Park), the program will focus on raising the nutritional status of children under 5.
The attached program recognises that while food security is an issue, much can be achieved by getting people, throughout the "system", to raise their expectations and consequently change how they behave. The program does have a "Feed the Meal" element but most of the activity will be with mothers, community leaders and people involved in health care.
If it works, and like all good programs there will be clearly defined ways of measuring success, it will have a sustainable impact. By influencing the development of Government and donor programs more widely, it can then be replicated.
Please let me know what you think about the project, either through the comments or by email. I'm know the BNMT will be pleased to get any feedback.