Apply Farm Yard Manure and Grow Fodder grass in Your Farm to Mitigate Effects of Climate Change

Ottawa, 25 August, 2015. A recent research article published by a team of scientists lead by a CFFN scientist reports that utilization of farm yard manure (FYM) and cropping fodder grasses help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agricultural fields. Dr. Bharat Shrestha, an environmental researcher affiliated to CFFN, and his team evaluated the soil organic matter (SOM) quantity and quality in a long-term experimental farm in southern Norway.  The experimental farm has been operational since 1953 with 6-year crop rotation cycles testing different crop combinations and different rate of nutrient applications. Another tillage experiment was started in 1983 with no-tillage and conventional tillage in the same experimental farm. They collected soil samples in summer of 2009. Soils were evaluated for physical and chemical soil parameters focusing mainly on different carbon species. They quantified the abundance of labile and recalcitrant carbon species in soil samples utilizing an advanced technology called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in an Italian university.

No tillage soybean farm (Wikipedia)

No tillage soybean farm (Wikipedia)

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CFFN Members Bring Aid, Raise Funds in Wake of Earthquake

CFFN is pleased to announce that the organization raised a sum of $2220 to help with Nepal Earthquake relief efforts. This amount will contribute through the Canadian Red Cross Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund. With the Canadian Government matching all donations, we were able to make $4440 worth of impact in Nepal! We would like to make special mention of Jason Dai and Amanpreet Minhas for their generousity.

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Minutes of CFFN 2015 Annual General Meeting and Directer’s Report

Ottawa, June 28, 2015

 Canada Foundation for Nepal (CFFN) held its Tenth Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Sunday, June 28th, 2015 at the Ottawa Citizen Hall Conference Centre. The main aim of the meeting was to review CFFN’s past activities,  elect new candidates for CFFN board for 2015-17, and discuss ideas of how to move forward our agenda for the education and wellbeing of Nepal and Nepalese.

Welcome: Bishwa Regmi, Executive Secretary, welcomed members and guests to the event.

Approval of Agenda: The meeting agenda was approved by CFFN members as presented.

Annual Report: Govinda Dahal, Executive Director, presented the key accomplishments and next steps for CFFN including Community Child Care, Book Project on Sustainable livelihood systems in Nepal and conceptualizing research opportunities for rural livelihood sustainability in Nepal (Please see the report below).

Financial Report and Appointment of Auditor: Ben Wood, Treasurer, presented CFFN financial and auditor report of 2014/15. Mr. Wood informed that CFFN raised more than $2000 for helping Nepal Earthquake victims.

Prajual Karki is appointed as an auditor to perform CFFN audit for the 2015/16 Fiscal Year.

4C Project: Martina Casey, Director of the Community Child Care Centre (4C) initiative presented progress on the 4C activities. Martina informed that 4C project at Humin village, Palpa District is progressing satisfactorily. Also, 212 (from 2012 onwards) Early Childhood Educators have received Montessori Training. Translation of Montessori curriculum materials into Nepali is in progress.

Book Project: Ishara Mahat, Director of Research, spoke of the book project. She informed that the final manuscript of the book project is submitted to IUCN, Nepal for publication. Ishara thanked all those who contributed to the completion of the book.

Reflections on CFFN Activities: Chief Guest His Excellency Kali Prasad Pokhrel Nepal Ambassador to Canada praised CFFN’s work and wished for its fruitful years ahead. Likewise, Sara Chhetry-NRN Canada, Hari Neupane-INLS, and Krishna Hari Gautam-NCAO emphasised the need of CFFN to continue its mission in promoting education and well-being program for Nepal and Nepalese.

Election of Executive Board Members: A two member electoral commission, comprising of Shiva Ghimire and Pradip Sharma, officiated the election. The executive board members were unanimously elected for the two year term (2015 to 2017) with the following outcomes.

Executive Director: Govinda Dahal

Executive Secretary: Bishwa Regmi

Treasurer: Prashanta Dhakal

Member: Sara Chhetry

Member: Yogendra Bhattarai

Member: Ishara Mahat

Member: Martina Casey

Member: Robin Pudasaini

Member: Drona Rasali

Member: Jaya Ram Simkhada

Member: Hari Raj Neupane

CFFN Volunteer of the Year: Dr. Govinda Dahal offered his thanks to all of CFFN volunteers including board members. Moreover, he praised the contribution of Dr. Kalidas Subedi who tirelessly volunteered for the completion of the book project and declared him as the “Person of Excellence – CFFN Volunteer of the Year”.

Vote of Thanks: Prashanta Dhakal thanked everyone who attended the AGM. He appreciated outgoing treasurer Ben Wood for the contribution he made to CFFN.

AGM Closing: Govinda Dahal welcomed re-elected and new executive board members and expressed his concluding remarks.

Annual Report presented by Executive Director, Dr. Govinda Prasad Dahal for AGM 2015

Dear Chief Guest His Excellency Mr. Kali Prasad Pakhrel, representatives of NCAO, NRN-Canada and INLS Ottawa, CFFN colleagues and associates and all well-wishers,

Warm welcome to you all once again!

I am delighted to give you a brief overview of what we have done so far this year.

Before to start, I would like to remind you all that based on our by-laws- we focus our programs only on education and wellbeing.

Life cycle approach

Dear all, we have adopted a life cycle approach while we implement our programs to achieve our goals.

We have used health research to contribute to the health of new-born children when they start life in their mothers’ body. As maternal health has a big impact on the health of new-born children, we contribute to new knowledge to promote better health of pregnant mothers and their new-born babies. Our publications in international journals in this regard provide this evidence (e.g. http://manuscript.sciknow.org/uploads/ijmch/pub/ijmch_1421323544.pdf ).

Once a baby is born and grows to be 3-5 years old, they need pre-school education.  However, in Nepal, we do not have a practice to send these children for pre-school education. Because of this, we have started to implement a community child care initiative in Nepal for the last 8 years, even on a small scale.

Community child care initiative: To fulfill UN’s Millennium Development goals on universal primary education, Nepal commits to graduate 100 % primary education for its primary school age children by 2015.  However, it is almost impossible to achieve its full potential, as older siblings cannot go to school in all remote rural areas of Nepal and remain at home to look after their younger siblings in order to free their parents for agricultural work or to earn for their survival.

When CFFN realised this situation almost 8 years ago, we decided to initiate our contribution starting community child care centres as a pilot program. We thought that if the initiative worked in Nepal, this would encourage the establishment of community child care centers and encourage all parents to send their pre-school aged children (younger siblings) to these facilities. At that time, their older siblings would be free to go to school. If we could implement this practice in all of Nepal, only then, we can achieve our goal. I believe, CFFN’s efforts through early child care education and its training programs for teachers has contributed, to some extent, towards reaching the goal of universal education in Nepal.

To elaborate, for the first time, we started this program from Baglung district as a pilot program. We found that it worked well. Now we have expanded it to other districts and our focus has expanded to train teachers. By now we have trained 213 teachers in Nepal providing scholarship package from our own efforts. Tineke Casey and Michael Casey are the pioneers for this initiative in Nepal and their tireless efforts is gaining momentum to this endeavour is much appreciated.

Open University Initiative: CFFN also aims to support higher education in Nepal. We are helping the Open University Initiative from its inception. Now, The Nepal Government and NRNA (Non-resident Nepalese Association) are working towards its (Open University) establishment in Nepal.

Research initiative, knowledge synthesis and translation: When we emigrate from Nepal and stay outside working in our field of expertise abroad, we, people from Nepali origin, think about how we can help our motherland. We thought translating advanced knowledge to Nepal to promote the sustainable livelihoods of its citizens could be an effective approach.  Therefore, we decided to support Nepal through synthesizing and publishing scientific evidence for policy relevance in order to promote education and well-being of Nepalese people, especially in rural parts of Nepal.

We started this initiative as ‘a book project’ three years ago with collective efforts of colleagues of different disciplines from CFFN and beyond. More than 60 Scientists from Canada, USA, Australia, UK, Switzerland and Nepal have contributed. These colleagues have gained reputations and are experts in their disciplines related to policy and practices from both Nepal and foreign countries. To my knowledge, this is the first diaspora contribution of this kind, which shares knowledge for policy support.

Besides, we have been contributing for research and capacity building. An example that can be taken is a capacity building workshop in Nepal to advance knowledge and skills on evidence based health policy and practices among senior policy makers working in various sectors in Nepal in 2014 (http://equity.cochrane.org/equity-update-volume-8-issue-1-march-31-2014#Nepal ).

We are also supporting to facilitate Critical Care Management of hospital systems in Nepal working in collaboration with The Royal College of Doctors and Physicians of Canada and The General Hospital in Ottawa.

We have been supporting the Nepal Health Research Council for Capacity building on evidence based health policy and practices (in Nepal) and also supporting the establishment of a Cochrane branch in Nepal.

We have been working with the University of Ottawa as a collaborating partner to identify the role of media in diffusing information and its impact on immigrants’ wellbeing in Ottawa. Also, we have contributed to the area of Global Health Competencies (http://www.hindawi.com/journals/rerp/2013/208187/abs/ ).

Although we were not awarded (but found that our position was competitive) we developed a grant proposal to help Nepal in its food security sector. The amount of IDRC proposal we proposed was 3.5 million and our collaborative partners were Agriculture Canada from Canada and Kathmandu University and IUCN Nepal office from Kathmandu.

These are the highlights on what have we done so far.

Now let me highlight briefly about our Next steps:

Upon the completion of our book publication on: Sustainable livelihood systems in Nepal, we plan to publish a booklet in Nepali language summarizing the main points of this book (synopsis) and to implement where appropriate.

To develop specific projects based on our expertise and apply for grant applications.

We will continue our 4C project and will advance it whatever/wherever possible.

As final words, we will work with you all together and look forward to your cooperation to achieve our common goals. I am pleased to THANK you all for your help and moral support. I also want to take a moment to highlight and appreciate the contribution of CFFN colleagues, members and associates. The work you put in is invaluable.

Thank you!

Earthquake in Nepal

The devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25, 2015 has caused the death of over 7,000, injured tens of thousands and rendered millions homeless. The cost of rebuilding has been estimated to exceed USD$5B – a staggering amount for such a poor nation. For the Nepalese people this is the greatest crisis in their lifetime.

CFFN wishes to express its deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives and extent our sympathies to all affected.

CFFN has begun raising funds to help with the aftermath of the earthquake. These funds will be forwarded to the Canadian Red Cross which has been involved in managing relief efforts in Nepal from the beginning.

The three child-care centres currently receiving CFFN support have been spared and will continue to operate.

CFFN will continue to support long term developments in Nepal despite such a staggering setback.

Stay Strong Nepal!

Update:

CFFN is pleased to announce that a sum of $2200 was raised through various means and donated to the Canadian Red Cross. With the Canadian government matching the funds, we were able to make $4400 worth of impact in Nepal! We would like to make special mention of Jason Dai and Amanpreet Minhas for their generousity.

Red Cross Donation check

2013 Annual General Meeting Report

Canada Foundation for Nepal (CFFN) held its eighth Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday, June 22, 2013 at the Ottawa Citizen Hall Conference Centre with the moderation of Bishwa Regmi, Executive Secretary.

The program was commenced with the welcome speech of Govinda Dahal, Executive Director. After this, the agenda was presented, discussed and approved. Continue reading

MOU with IUCN

A Memorandum of understanding has been signed between Canada Foundation for Nepal (CFFN) Canada and International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Nepal office to pursue collaborative research in the areas of mutual interest such as sustainable development of Nepal, equitable management and use of natural resources, rural and urban planning, and development and dissemination of knowledge and information. Currently, both parties are working for the publication of a book titled, “Sustainable Rural Livelihood Systems in Nepal”.

Developing A Made-In-Nepal Source for Teaching Aids

Montessori equipment has been carefully designed to have children follow a straightforward task to completion while having fun doing so. The children learn pattern recognition and matching, sorting by shapes, sizes and colours, solving puzzles – all skills that will last a lifetime and prepare them for higher learning.

Unfortunately, since this equipment is made in Europe, the price per product is very high and essentially unreachable for the kinds of centres we are promoting. Hence the need for a made-in-Nepal source which uses local labour, uses local materials and runs at low overhead. Continue reading

Humin, Palpa District Community Child Care Centre

Now that the Madi Project is near completion we initiated another pilot project in another district to see if the same start-up conditions apply. Our goal with these projects is not so much to create a network of Community Child Care Centres across Nepal – that would be well beyond the scope any NGO could accomplish. Rather we are looking for a formula, a model of how a small village, given a small amount of assistance from outside could create and run their own sustainable child care centre.

This time we came with the knowledge gained in Madi. Consequently we went in looking for an existing building which needed simple upgrades only, not a new building. We also are advising the Humin Board of Directors with more guidance on the advantage of choosing candidate teachers who were firstly, good with children and secondly, reasonably well educated. We also suggested offering employment for a trial period and having the candidate teachers assessed at arms length by an expert child care worker over a trial period. This project is expected to run until 2016. Continue reading

CFFN Co-Hosts Early Childhood Education Seminar in Pokhara

Early Childhood Development and the Montessori Method are two complimentary approaches to early childhood education.

Early Childhood Development promotes the value of Learn Through Play (LTP) and Role Play, educational ideas now well accepted in many countries as the ideal way to educate children in their early years. The concept of mixing school with “play” however does not meet with much acceptance in Nepal where a more traditional approach is the accepted norm. Educating the parents on the inherent value of LTP might take some time.

The concept of Montessori education has established a beach-head in Nepal. In fact appending the name “Montessori” to a school name in Nepal is code for a high quality child care establishment – whether or not it has Montessori equipment or teachers schooled in the Montessori method. Nevertheless the Montessori approach is seen as novel and parents express pride in sending their child to “Montessori”. Continue reading

Laughing for Mina 2013: An Evening for Early Childhood Education in Rural Nepal

Laughing for Mina 2013

Canada Foundation for Nepal (CFFN) is hosting an evening of Nepalese cuisine and Canadian comedy on Friday May 31, 2013, and you are invited! Laughing for Mina is an event to entertain while helping to create scholarships for rural women to receive training in early childhood programs as part of our Community Child Care Centre (4C) initiative. The evening includes appetizers, a full Nepali-style dinner and dessert, as well as a comedy program from Absolute Comedy, a raffle for great prizes, and a table where you can purchase Nepalese goods – all to support education for the youngest of children in remote villages.

We would love you to celebrate our success and help us to prepare for the year ahead! Laughing for Mina again promises a different kind of 4C: Company, Comedy and Cuisine for a Cause.

Venue: Rinag Banquet Hall, 88 Jamie Ave, Ottawa (See Map)
Date: Friday, May 31, 2013
Time: Doors open at 6:00PM

Only 150 tickets are available, so please reserve your place in advance!

Email: tineke@cffn.ca
Phone: Tineke @ 613-730-4963

Please contact us at tineke@cffn.ca if you or your company are interested in sponsoring this event.

Book: Why School? by Will Richardson

World War I was an important point in the world’s history, and certainly one for Canada, both as a nation and as a nation of the world — so much so that The Great War was a major unit in the grade 10 Canadian history curriculum. Just like every other unit, there was a test at the end, to evaluate what we students had learned. To prepare I frantically poured over the class textbook and my notes, collecting important dates, places, people and events, and using them to draw out timelines.

I didn’t do well on that test; however, I ultimately cleared the class with an 83%. I credit part of this eventual success to an assignment, ironically tied to World War I. That assignment had us write a paper blog (I mean diary) of a soldier caught up in the war. Presented on tea-stained, oven-burnt paper, bound inside dirt-covered, paper-machéd cardboard covers, my diary was simply titled, “La Guerre Mondiale” (thankfully I caught a grammar mistake at the last second and added that last ‘e’ before submitting it). It detailed the desire to go home, the awful state of the trenches, loss of friends, and an impromptu sports game with both sides on Christmas Day.

In the days when Google was just getting started, well before things like Wikipedia and Call of Duty, I was researching and trying to envision what it would have been like to be in the front lines. I took the most complete picture I could piece together, peppered on WWI details and threw in my views on war and how I would feel losing my friends to gunfire. I wrote it all out. I did well.

This experience falls directly into Will Richardson’s premise in his short-length book Why School?: How Education Must Change When Information and Learning Are Everywhere (SEE: Book at ted.com). In his mind, the age of Memorize and Mumble is over. Knowledge and the ability to connect with others is no longer scarce. “If we have an Internet connection,” says Richardson, “we have fingertip, on-demand access to an amazing library that holds close to the sum of human knowledge and, equally important, to more than two billion people with whom we can potentially learn.” Why would we limit our youth’s studies to a handful of books and facts that likely leave very little long-term impression?

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