Building Education is a For-Purpose 501(c)3 organization that provides education to developing countries in efforts to alleviate poverty.
THE IMPACT OF COVID-19:
A global pandemic has hit the world and it is the developing countries that will be hit the hardest with the need of support in medical and economic development.
Nepal is a landlocked country situated between China and India in South Asia. For some years now many Nepalese students have been going to China for higher education and many Chinese workers are also employed in different Chinese-led development projects in Nepal. A large number of students go abroad for higher education as well
Nepal also shares an open border with India and people can easily cross the border without any legal documents and do not need any work permit to work on either side of the border.
The Nepalese depend on out-migration remittances as their main source of income, workers abroad contributing a quarter to Nepal’s GDP. In the last two months, remittances dropped to near 1%.
Another quarter of the GDP from agriculture is compromised since goods cannot be transported due to lockdown.
The India-Nepal border is mostly open and porous, and even at official checkpoints health desks are only equipped with thermometers. Recently thousands of Nepalis have returned to western Nepal without screening from Indian states of Maharastra, Delhi and Bihar, which are the hardest-hit COVID-19 states in India. The mountainous districts of western Nepal are considered to be the most vulnerable because every Nepalese family has at least one member working in India, most of whom have now returned due to the lockdown.
But the biggest tollCOVID will have on the country is the global economic slow-down which will cause millions of Nepalis workers from foreign countries to return home unemployed.
Nepal could be on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.
Nepal’s economy relies heavily on tourism, out-migration, and agriculture.
With millions coming home and lockdowns closing out tourists, this will cause:
- A severe decline in tourism and a significant loss of jobs. Nepal’s tourism sector generated approximately 2 billion USD in revenue and supported more than 1.05 million jobs directly and indirectly last year, according to the annual World Travel and Tourism Council research report.
- Millions of Nepalis returning from out-migration unemployed. Presently, at least half of all Nepali households have one member of the family working abroad in India, the Gulf region, or Malaysia with many families relying on it as a main source of income.
- Severe food insecurity as millions return from foreign countries. While the World Food Program estimates that there are enough food stocks in Nepal to last for three months and that healthy winter rains have benefited wheat crops, food insecurity for 2020 is still a concern. The government’s strict enforcement of domestic movement during the national lockdown has produced an absence of manpower in rural areas and could result in diminished harvests. A return of millions of Nepali migrants from abroad would likely trigger a surge in the domestic demand for food, which supply would find difficult to match. This would result in higher costs, which are already being witnessed in the Kathmandu valley, and food shortages. The already import-dependent Nepal would have to try to increase its import of foods from powerful neighbor India, which has already halted rice exports. However, with Nepal’s main generators of foreign currency, tourism and remittances, coming to sputtering stops, such action could cripple the nation’s already weak economy.
The trend of out-migration in Nepal has been a major construct to the lack of employment in the country; increased globalization, effects of poverty, food insecurity, economic hardship, unequal distribution of income, lack of employment, political unrest, war, and insecurity.
While Out-Migration has lowered poverty by 13%, it has had major effects on the development of the country perpetuates dependence on aid.
With millions returning from abroad unemployed, this gives Nepal the opportunity to create income-generating projects and businesses to drive their economy and develop their country. This eliminates dependency on external support.
OUR PROPOSED SOLUTION:
As Building Education’s COVID-19 response we plan to support the economic development of the country by supporting to create income-generating sustainability projects and local businesses in rural villages with the local community.
We propose to host 12 Empowerment Conferences, over the span of 3 districts, in 4 villages per district. Starting in January 2021 and ending December 2021, we will travel all across Nepal to provide workshops that support our vision of turning rural villages into dignified, prosperous communities.
We will partner with 3 Nepali social impact organizations to provide workshops that teach:
The Peace Pad Project: Reproductive & Menstruation Health with opportunities of training to create reusable menstruation pads as an income-generating project.
Fin Lit Nepal: Financial Literacy that provides education on saving, budgeting, and investing.
Samartha Nepal: Business Model Canvas that teaches entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. The workshop will allow attendees to create a business idea, plan, and strategy for the initiative.
Our main focus for this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of the conference experience for the attendees, assess the attendee receptiveness and readiness, collect data, and make an analysis. We plan to identify challenges within the project and improve the quality of the material that we offer. We will include surveys, tasks, forms, and reports to make an assessment of our communities and the impact of increasing the employment rate and decreasing the poverty levels of the attendees.
By hosting empowerment conferences, we can support local Nepalese women in starting businesses and generating financial stability.
Our Projection for the future is to be able to better understand and assess the communities in which we host empowerment conferences. As a result, we can support the building of infrastructure, providing education, and creating income-generating projects within these villages.
With this solution, in the event that another global pandemic or catastrophe shall happen in Nepal, communities, especially the highly marginalized, will be further equipped to create solutions and financial independence themselves.
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***Our solution will lessen the impact of COVID for the future.