I scrutinized a lot of organizations while trying to find one that might be best for internships. Meanwhile, I happened to come across Clean up Nepal. It was one of the good decisions that I made in my life. It was because I not only learnt professional ethics but I also met amazing people there who have turned to become family from strangers
Let’s go back to the time when I joined Clean Up Nepal (CUNP). To be frank, I knew Clean Up Nepal because of the basketball court next to it. Whenever I used to come to play, I used to see a small board lying on the wall of a white building with a text ‘Clean Up Nepal.’ I went home and then googled what clean up Nepal works on. It was best known for Clean-up campaign it organizes all over Nepal annually. It was active in social media promotion as well. So, I was excited to know more about CUNP. In this regard, I called them and asked if we could meet up to talk about my internship. They called me the next day. It is situated in Golfutar (opposite to the basketball court) I met with the program manager Azam Nathaniel and program officer Karuna Thapa. They gave a brief orientation on the working areas of CUNP. I was fascinated to know that it works on the issues of waste management basically as a mediator between waste management companies and the general public followed by different trainings on sustainable waste management practice. I was impressed by the welcoming gesture they offer to visitors as well. When I showed them an interest to join CUNP for an internship, they asked me to send them my CV. Meanwhile, I returned home, sent them my CV, and got a reply regarding joining CUNP. I started my journey at CUNP from the next day. I was not sure, whether that journey I chose would be worth it or not but I was prepared to make the most out of it.
My beginning days ended up with curiosity and awkwardness. I was hesitating to ask them for the work but I was curious to learn. Slowly, I wiped out my awkwardness with proactivity. I asked them about the projects. I came to know that Clean Up Nepal undertakes two major projects-Zero Waste at Schools (ZWAS) and Nepal Waste Map. I was specialized to help in ZWAS project. ZWAS is an initiative by CUNP to engage, educate and empower students, teachers and staff at schools in Kathmandu on appropriate waste management practices. With five modules for students and training for staff, various themes are explored including an introduction to waste management and its practices, waste segregation, 3Rs, composting, and open air waste burning & roof top gardening. It is a complete package to provide a comprehensive knowledge of waste management to students
My major accomplishment in CUNP was a Zero Waste at School Toolkit. It is a toolkit designed for the students of schools that incorporates the overall component of waste management. As per the review report of research consultant, our current curriculum of waste management is not sufficient for students to aware them on contemporary issues and it did not include hands on activities for students. So, realizing the concept of ‘Learning with fun’, we designed a toolkit including different modules followed by different activities/ games. We designed separate toolkit for primary, lower secondary and secondary level on the basis of complexity of the content discussed. Through the toolkit, we tried to fulfil the loopholes of current waste management curriculum. After the intensive review and amendments the toolkit is ready now. It took overall two months of time. We also had to visit the officials of curriculum Development Centre (CDC) to update them on our work and ask them for review and support as well. Now, we have come to the part of delivery. The toolkit is supposed to be distributed in different government schools after the approval from CDC.
Besides this, I assisted in the end line evaluation survey of Nepal Waste Map (NWM) project. NWM is comprehensive online platform that enables people to file issues regarding waste in their locality, communicate with the waste collection companies to collect waste in time and learn various issues of Waste management. It has already been launched in Ward 3, 5 and 32 of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Bharatpur Metropolitan City and in the process to be launched in Ilam Municipality. I visited different stakeholders including ward offices for the end line evaluation. The main purpose of end line evaluation was to know the current progress and challenges they are facing in order to sustain the project. Similarly I assisted them in providing waste management education in The British School and Maryward School as well. It was a 1 month long program which consisted of different modules.
My field work in CUNP proved to be a great learning platform. CUNP gave me an insightful experience and learning mainly on the issues of waste management and stakeholder engagement. The most productive time for me was the time during the preparation of ZWAS toolkit. The toolkit helped me to become aware about many issues that I was confused with because it required an intensive research on the topics. Working with dynamic staffs helped me to know more about professionalism from the closer lens. Though I made some errors in my field-work, I learnt to accept constructive criticisms and improve my quality of work. Moreover, I learnt to link myself with the available resources of organization. I am highly indebted to clean up Nepal for providing the platform to explore ourselves and learn
To all the interns out there, choose your organization on the basis of your interest area so that you can give your best. Go to your organization as if you are going to learn something. Don’t feel pressurized if you don’t find work to engage yourself in but be curious to know the projects, be proactive and then decide how you can help them in the ongoing programs. We need to be regular mostly in the needed times and maintain a good working relationship with other staffs. Don’t run for money but run for boosting your skills and experience which ultimately brings money. We often do not realize our mistakes and we have the habit of complaining every time. Make the habit of accepting constructive feedbacks and seeing everything positively. If you do this, you will make your internship experience worth.