Guest blog by Nikita Manandhar
When I first began working at Youth Initiative, I had the opportunity to work with young students from ten schools within Sindhupalchowk, a rural district of Nepal that has been severely hit by the earthquake in 2015. The shared principles and values of Youth Initiative and Integrity Action has cemented my belief that a child has just as much potential of becoming a changemaker as its parents. I have also come to understand that real change in a community happens when it comes from within.
Following months of joint learning and knowledge sharing we came up with an initiative called “Integrity in Education in Sindhupalchowk”. For this programme to succeed we felt that it was essential that we collectively develop an approach of forming 'Integrity Clubs' for students within their schools. We believe that such clubs will allow the students to engage in active learning and that learning doesn't need to be limited to what is offered in the classroom. We want the children to apply their skills and know-how in the real-world, in order to bring about positive change in their communities.
As a part of the process we organised an 'Integrity Club' training in Kathmandu in November. 19 students from ten schools learnt what 'Integrity Clubs' are all about and how to successfully run such clubs at their respective schools. The topics the students covered during the training included: the concepts of integrity, the importance of integrity in education, learning about community integrity building through roleplay, school report card orientation, report writing, minute keeping, stakeholder mapping and risk management.
When I asked Anil, a club member of the Irkhur Higher Secondary School, what he thought of the training he said: “As a president of the Integrity Club at my school, I need to learn how Integrity Clubs function and how we can develop good strategies to build integrity through engaging our members on many issues. Being a Year 10 student I have the responsibility to make this club sustainable even after my tenure as a president is over. This Integrity Club training has definitely helped me learn more about integrity and how we can use the club to make a change in our community.”
Being a facilitator during the training meant that the children learnt from me but equally, I have learnt a lot from the children! I have seen for myself the potential that they hold in terms of being agents of change within their own communities.