In Nepal where coastal zone and marine environment is not a regular topic of discussion, an awareness program on coastal issues was a new initiative undertaken by the SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre. Being the first of its kind, the awareness campaign on coastal and marine environment became an interesting subject of discussion among the students and youth. Before the campaign, basically, students, youth and the general public were not aware about the significance of the coastal zones and the marine environment. The two-day SAARC Haveeru-2010, organized with the theme “Coastal Festival in the Mountains” on 15 and 16 September 2010 at Nepal Administrative Staff College, Lalitpur, included various activities that raised awareness in a fun and interesting way and drew attention of not only students and youth but also of environmentalists, government officials, academicians, medias, and public. With the overwhelming response more than 17,000 students and public visited the two days festival.
The prime objective of the festival was to educate school students including the youth of Nepal and create awareness about the socio-economical and environmental aspects of coastal zone and marine environment. In order to meet the objectives of the event, various activities were organized in two phases: before and during the main festival.
1. Program Organized Before the Main Festival
1.1 Info-Meet with school teachers
An information sharing program was organized on 30 July 2010, which was attended by school teachers from sixty Schools and many other stakeholders at Kathmandu to participate in the project concept and their role as a participants. The objective of the meet was to motivate school teachers to encourage their students participation effectively in such a genuine cause. The meeting ended up with fruitful discussion and reached to a consensus for commitment of the success of the festival through comprehensive and supportive involvement of the participant and organizers.
1.2 Inter-School Quiz Contest. (Preliminary-round)
Inter-School Quiz Contest was organized on 26 and 27 August 2010 at the Auditorium Hall of Nepal Tourism Board, Kathmandu, Nepal. All together, there were 25 schools participated in the competition. The preliminary rounds of the quiz contest were conducted in 5 sessions with 5 teams in each session. Every team consisted of two members. One winner team from each session was selected for the final round, which was held on 15 September at the Staff College, Jawalakhel, during the main festival. The five schools selected for the final round were Occidental Public School, Shree Kumari Shool, Future Star Higher Secondary School, A.V.M. Higher Secondary School and Prabhat English Secondary School.
1.3 Inter-School Essay Competition
An Inter-School Essay Competition titled “My responsibility towards coastal environment” was organized at Nepal Tourism Board on 31 August 2010. The competition was one of the major events of the “SAARC Haveeru-2010: Coastal festival in the mountains”.
The competition involved twenty-eight students from different schools around the Kathmandu Valley, one student each from every school. The main objective of one hour-long competition was to evaluate their awareness and understanding regarding marine life to determine how their actions and responsibilities share environmental concerns.. Mr. Rajiv Duwal, grade 10 student of Bal Vikash English Secondary School secured First position in the essay competition. by. Mr. Anjan Duwal, grade-8, Pacific Academy and Miss. Aayusha Dhakal, grade-10, Holyvision International School secured Second and third positions respectively by. Winners of the competition were eventually awarded during the opening ceremony of SAARC Haveeru-2010.
1.4 Inter-School Arts Competition
More than 48 students from twenty-seven different schools around the valley participated in the inter school art competition on the theme “Coastal and Marine Environment”, on 9 September 2010. This was one of the many events scheduled for the celebration of “SAARC Haveeru- Coastal Festival in the Mountains”.
The competition was organized at the premises of Ideal Model Higher Secondary School, Lalitpur, Nepal, which was attended by famous artist Mr. Kiran Manandhar, the Chancellor of Lalitkala Academy. The Competition was organized in two categories: Junior and Senior levels. Junior level comprised of the students of 6thand 7 th grades. Participants in the senior level represented from grade 8 to 10.
Winners from the junior level were as follows:
- First Position: Mr. Satya Raj Shahi, grade-6, Future Star Higher Secondary School
- Second Position: Miss. Pariksha Onta, grade-7, Triyog Higher Secondary School
- Third Position: Barsha Tuladhar, grade-7, DAV Sushil Kedia Vishwa Bharati School
- Consolation: Mr. Anukul Parajuli, grade-7, Pathsala Nepal Foundation
- Consolation: Mr. Sahil Raj Onta, grade -7, Bhanubhakta Memorial Higher Secondary School
Winners from the senior level were as follows:
- First Position: Miss Deepa Gurung, grade-9, New Summit Higher Secondary School
- Second Position: Mr. Sagun Man Shrestha, grade-9, DAV Sushil Kedia Vishwa Bharati School
- Third Position: Mr. Nima Dorje Gurung, grade-8, Little Angels School
- Consolation: Mr. Kaushal Shrestha, grade-9, Adarsha Vidhya Mandir
10. Consolation: Miss. Nishma Nepal, grade-10, Ideal Model H.S. School
The posters were evaluated by 3 member judge panels including distinguished artists and environmentalists. The result was announced during the opening ceremony of SAARC Haveeru on 15 September.
1.5 Slogan and Mascot Competition
The Slogan and Mascot competitions were organized among the students from various schools. The best slogan and mascot were selected for award during the opening ceremony on 15 September. The best slogan was from Miss Nevidita Lama, grade 8th student of St. Mary’s School and the best Mascot was from Mr. Abi Limbu of grade 10th student from South Point School. The best slogan selected goes like this: “Keep the Himalayan White, glacier tight; Don’t make the glacier cry, letting the sea rise”.
, A press meet was organized on 13 September, to disseminate the information regarding the activities to be organized during the two days festival on 15 and 16 September. More than 35 journalists from different media houses were present during the press meet which was chaired by Mr. Dhiraj Pradhananga, President of The Small Earth Nepal. The News about the SAARC Haveeru-2010 was highlighted by various National Dailies (Print media) as well as TV channels, radios in Nepal.
2. Programs During the Main Festival
2.1 Opening ceremony
A grand opening ceremony of SAARC Haveeru-2010 was held on 15 September at 9 am. which was inaugurated by the Chief Guest Honorable Satya Mohan Joshi, Chancellor of Nepal Bhasha Academy, .through the ribbon cutting ceremony at the entrance of the stall exhibition. Mr. Kishore Thapa, Secretary of Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Nepal also participated in the opening ceremony. Cultural dance, song from school students, animation shows were the main events of the ceremony which got lots of appriciations from the distinguished guests. Prize distribution to the winners of various competitions was the main features of the opening ceremony. The SAARC Haveeru-2010 was inaugurated by the Chief Guest cutting ribbon.
2.2 Stall Exhibition
Students from various schools exhibited their understanding about coastal zone and marine environment through different activities. There were 31 stalls in the exhibition. There were 26 stalls from different schools and 5 stalls from other organizations and universities. Stalls were decorated with 3-D models of coastal geography and environment, photographs, paintings, arts, games, documentaries, power point presentations, etc. Stalls were focused to give information about coastal ecosystem, coastal lifestyles and cultures, problems and issues of coastal zones. Similarly, some of the stalls were disseminating the information about linkage between mountains and coastal environment, impacts of climate change on coastal and mountain regions, etc. The festival was directly observed by around 17,000 students, youth, and general people.
2.3 Students’ Conference
A school level students’ conference was held on 16th September with the title “Enviro-Culture Exchange: Bridging Mountains to Coasts”. During the conference 10 students from different school delivered their presentations on coastal ecosystems, resources and marine environmental concerns. The conference was divided into three sessions: opening session, technical session, and group discussion followed by group’s presentation. The Chief Guest of the conference Prof. Suresh Raj Chalishe, former Dean of Tribhuvan University, addressed the participants and congratulated the organizers for the success of the conference. The Special Guest of the conference Dr. Madan Lall Shrestha delivered his remarks and presentation on coastal environment and its importance.
In the technical session, 10 students from different school (secondary level, age between 12 and 16 years) made their presentations on coastal resource conservation , and management, environmental degradation and impact of climate change on coastal communities, resources and livlihood There were three experts presentation during the technical session as well.
After the technical session, the participants were divided into four groups. Each group was given with a topic for discussion in their group. The topics for the discussion were as follows:
Group A: Interrelationship between coast and climate change
Group B: Issues and problems in coastal reasons and probable solutions
Group C: How can we contribute for preservation of coastal and marine ecosystem being citizens of a landlocked country?
Group D: How can be information shared in schools and among youths?
After the discussion, a representative from each group presented their findings with suggestions and recommendations. The conference came to an end with remarks from the Chief Guest.
2.4 Quiz Contest (Final round)
Five teams, selected from the preliminary round on 26 and 27 August, took part in the final round of quiz contest on 15 September at Staff College, Lalitpur, Nepal. The winners in order of merit in the final round were as follows:
- First: A.V.M Higher Secondary School
- Second: Prabhat English School
- Third: Occidental Public School
- Fourth : Shree Kumari Higher Secondary School
- Fourth: Future Star English School
2.5 Documentary Shows
During the two days festival six documentaries related to coastal and marine environment were screened. The following were the documentaries screened during the two days festival:
|2.||Under the sea|
|3.||The Living Sea|
|4.||The underwater city (Water life)|
|5.||The frontier of the sea (Water life)|
|6.||Deep sea 3D|
2.6 Beach Photography, Face Painting, and Arts Exhibition
During the two days festival visitors were also enjoyed with beach photography. To make the people of landlocked country feel that they were in coastal environment beach artificial beach seen was created by a huge flex printed with beach seen. Large number of students, youth and general public were excited to take their photographs with the beach seen in the background. Around 1500 visitors grabbed this opportunity. A face painting stall was also there. More than 1000 visitors including students enjoyed with face painting. Arts from the Inter-School Arts Competition were also displayed during the two days festival.
3. Closing Ceremony and Award Distribution
Closing ceremony of the SAARC Haveeru-2010: Coastal Festival in the Mountains was ended with a formal closing ceremony and award distribution. The Closing Ceremony was attended by Mr. Kiran Shankar Yogacharya, Chairperson of Society of Hydrologists and Meteorologists Nepal, as the Chief Guest and Mr. Mahendra Bahadur Gurung, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Irrigation, Government of Nepal as the Special Guest. Prizes to the winners of the Inter-School Quiz Contest were distributed in the closing ceremony. Similarly, the best stall award among the 26 schools’ stalls was also distributed in the closing ceremony. The best stall award winners were Holy Vision International School and Ideal Model Higher Secondary School.
4. Online Campaign
Online campaign through different social sites was carried for 2 months to disseminate the information about the SAARC Haveeru-2010 program. Facebook, Blog and Flicker were used for the online campaign. Reports from various events were regularly updated in the sites. Similarly, various informative materials were also uploaded in the sites so that, participating schools, students and general public would have easy access to such materials.