Asian Aid’s programs team went on monitoring and evaluation trips to see our Partners in Nepal and Bangladesh towards the end of 2022. This is a small recap of what they saw.
From Joanna Ryan, Programs Manager
One of the highlights of our in-country trip to Bangladesh was visiting the Child Clubs, groups of children and young people who meet regularly to look for opportunities to improve their schools and communities. Key young people had been identified as leaders of the Child Clubs and took a major role in organising and ensuring the meetings happen.
It was encouraging during our visit to see these young people practicing their leadership skills as they led meetings, gave speeches and interacted with the other children. Children of different ages acted out dramas together to demonstrate what they had learnt about child rights. The children told us proudly how, through the small contributions that they make each time they meet, they had saved up enough money to purchase items, like blankets, for people in need within their communities. The Child Clubs also helped coordinate the annual Birthday Celebrations and gift distributions. This was a joyful occasion with decorations, cake, cultural dances and performances, and lots of smiles and laugher.
We visited a women’s self-help group, and it was wonderful to see how engaged and invested the women were in meeting together and supporting each other. The women are learning new skills and saving money so in that in the future they will be able to borrow funds to start a small business, cover medical costs or pay for school fees. It was lovely to hear the women share their stories and the impact that being involved in the group has had on their lives. It was encouraging that some men from the local community were also present, and that they expressed their support of the group.
In another village we visited a Community Cell Group, a larger group of men and women who meet up to learn new skills. One of the leaders was speaking about the importance of play and spending time together as a family. A couple of the participants spoke confidently about other topics they had been learning about. ‘
Two of the women present at the meeting had been involved in the goat training provided through our previous water and rural development project. One of the women had received a goat, and when her goat had a kid, she gave the mother goat to the other woman and kept the kid for herself. It was so encouraging to see first-hand the ongoing benefits of the project activities and hear how something as simple as owning a goat can make a big difference for not only the woman who owns it, but for her family and for other community members also.
During our visits we were able to meet many Partner staff, teachers and even community members who were previously sponsored by Asian Aid. Hearing their stories and their appreciation for the support they had received through Asian Aid helped me better understand why they are so passionate and committed to their work. It was lovely to see some of the interactions of the project staff with the children involved in the projects and the genuine care and love that they show these children. It was so encouraging to see the progress that has been made on all fronts and the passion of our partner staff to impact communities for the better.
From Linda Mapstone, Program Finance Coordinator
When visiting one of the child-focused school projects in Nepal, we met in a large group with the teachers, the parents and teachers committee and some of the sponsored children. Two project peer activists (former sponsored children) were invited to share how the program had impacted them. What I personally loved when seeing the peer activists stand and address the group meeting, was their confidence and the knowledge of their rights as children and how they were able to share that knowledge with their families and friends. It was super inspiring to see them each articulate all they had learned through the program and understand how valuable they are as children, in a culture that often does not recognise the value of their lives.
We also had the opportunity to visit a women’s health clinic during our time in Nepal. It was particularly impactful to see the number of ladies that continued to arrive and line up for the medical checks that were being provided by the medical team. That day the number was over 600. A lot of the ladies had heard of the difference some of the treatments were making to lives of other ladies and were bravely turning up to what could possibly be their first ever medical check. The colours represented by the ladies in their traditional Nepali outfits, seemed symbolic of the bright hope they were to be given. That was incredibly exciting to see first-hand how donations are making lasting impacts on not only the ladies, but their entire families.
To learn more about all our in-country projects, see here.