Working in the community with Goreto Gorkha: One of our partner NGOs

8th November 2018

Bikesh Shreshtha is an employee of Goreto Gorkha, one of Raleigh’s community project partners in Nepal. NGOs (non-government organisations) like Goreto Gorkha help Raleigh carry out their work by helping with ideas, technical support and training. We spoke to Bikesh about his experiences working with Goreto Gorkha and Raleigh to deliver WASH projects in Sanobadhera, Mathilo Raniswara and other communities.

(pictured - Bikesh and Sally our communication officer on project site)

“I first worked with Raleigh as a team leader for ICS early last year. Before the project, I was quite shy and my confidence was low. Through the ICS project, I had lots of opportunities to interact with local communities, and I began to develop my interpersonal skills and I discovered how I can have an impact. We helped the village to build 29 hand washing stations, and saw first hand the change it made to their lives.

Bikesh helping Prashanta (one of our Volunteer Managers) during WASH training.

At the end of my ICS project, I had an interview with the Deputy Operations Manager at Raleigh, who gave me positive feedback about my influence in the community. He recommended I continue to work with Raleigh or one of their project partners. There was a position open at Goreto Gorkha, which I applied for, and I got the job at the start of summer last year.

This job is full of challenges, which I really enjoy. Rainy season (during spring) is a particularly hard season for us, for two reasons. Firstly, the amount of rainfall makes it difficult for us to work, as a lot of our projects involve digging. Secondly, these months are also harvest season and so it can also be tricky to encourage the Nepalis to leave the fields and work with Raleigh.

My main motivation to join ICS was the phrase “challenge yourself to change the world”. One of the most consistent pieces of feedback I get from each Raleigh project is how the volunteer’s daily actions and behaviour changes that of the community they live with. The majority of Raleigh’s work in Nepal focuses on WASH projects (water, and sanitation hygiene), and the problem we face is that the locals we work with are aware of why they should be washing their hands, but they don’t do this in their day to day lives. When the volunteers come to live in the community, the village children and youth see them as role models, and copy their habits. All the volunteers are very diligent with their hand washing as well as washing themselves, and this is then copied by the community youth. The elders then learn from the teens, and there is a chain of knowledge that passes through the village.

Bikesh demonstrating the importance of WASH projects in community.

Each time Raleigh’s volunteers and volunteer managers intervene in the community, we see quite sudden changes in the community’s health and well-being. We do a survey after three months in the community, and we get a lot of feedback about positive behaviour and perception changes around sanitation, as well as the importance of learning languages in order to understand more about other cultures. Goreto Gorkha learn a lot about how best to work with the community through the information learned by the volunteers who live in these villages for up to three weeks. We work with a number of other NGOs, but Raleigh is the only one that provides volunteers as well as financial support, and this is a real asset to the country.”

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