The team on the way to Meselme school
Cameron Inwood, BA History and Politics student, recently spent three weeks in Nepal as part of his placement with the Rosie May Foundation. Here, he tells us about his experience.
The brief for my research internship was to write a report on the right to education in post-earthquake Nepal, focusing on the work of the Rosie May Foundation in rebuilding a school in the rural village of Meselme.
Flying out to Kathmandu, I didn't know what to expect, but was greeted upon arrival by a member of their partner organisation based in Nepal, SAHAS, and driven to my accommodation. Straight away I was made to feel at home, and was introduced to Alice, a fellow University of Nottingham student who would be conducting the research with me.
During our time in Kathmandu we were based at the SAHAS offices researching the right to education in Nepal, and the various barriers different groups face accessing this right, and visited two private schools. This gave us the opportunity to make observations about the different standards of education, vital information for our report, and a major issue in Nepal, due to the popularity of private education because of underfunded and poor quality government schools.
After a week of research and sightseeing in Kathmandu we travelled to the Meselme school rebuild. I set my alarm for 6.30am ready for the 10-hour jeep ride across the incredibly rough and bumpy terrain. This was followed by a challenging two day trek, under the supervision of SAHAS walking guides, covering around 40km, and staying at basic guest houses along the way.
Images: The Meselme school rebuild and The challenging, yet beautiful trek through the Himalayas to Meselme school.
This provided us with the opportunity to reflect on how hard life is in rural Nepal, and walk routes that many children take daily on their way to school. On the way, we also spent two days at schools in the District HQ of Okhaldungha, the district that Meselme village is in, so we could see the quality of education within city schools in this district, which are on average better resourced than rural schools.
We were based at the school for several days, and joined by Rachel, a teacher from the UK, also working with the Rosie May Foundation. While at the Meselme school we conducted the research for our report. This involved us interviewing the teachers at the school, running focus groups with parents in the local community, attending meetings run by the school management committee, and interviewing the school children – with a SAHAS member of staff acting as a translator. We also collected quantitative data on school enrolment for use in our report. It was inspiring to see how much everyone in the local community valued their education, and they were open and honest in their responses.
Upon returning to the UK, we wrote up our findings. It was clear to see the impact the Rosie May Foundation has had in addressing the right to education in post-earthquake Nepal. The school rebuild and continued support they offer the school, for example by providing daily free school meals and providing all school children with solar lights has had a clear impact on attitudes and attendance. However, our report also offered areas for improvement, and gave recommendations to the Rosie May Foundation on how to further build upon the successes of the school rebuild.
This was an amazing placement with an inspirational local charity which helped develop my research, report writing, project management and analytical skills, and I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity.
Find out more about the politics placement programme.
Posted on Friday 15th September 2017