KATHMANDU, Nov 10: Udaya Manandhar, Assistant Country Director for Save the Children Nepal, was born and brought up in Janakpur as the youngest of six children, and has been living in Kathmandu for the last thirty years. His father’s government job required him to spend most of his time working in rural areas and so he also traveled to villages around Janakpur with his father.
His early memory of formal education is of sitting under a tree while a teacher introduces alphabets to them. “Things have significantly changed these days with active and participatory learning widely being promoted in educational institutions,” says Manandhar.
After working as an Education Training Officer at the Ministry of Education while studying at TU, he began his career which has spanned over two decades.
Introducing the organization that he is currently involved with, Manandhar informs that the current body of Save the Children is in fact a merged form of 29 member organizations around the world.
The organization has been working in Nepal for the last thirty years and projects are currently being carried out in 71 districts in seven thematic areas – child rights governance, education, health and nutrition, HIV/AIDS; and humanitarian theme that include emergencies and disaster risk reduction, livelihood and protection, all in partnership with local NGOs and the government.
According to the 2011 report, Save the Children’s projects reached out to around 1.6 million children and over one million of them have benefited from their efforts.
Manandhar says that the establishment of endowment funding has shifted the focus of Save the Children from targeting children of disadvantaged, Dalit and least educated communities 20 years ago to supporting children’s education.
The project is in progress in 15 districts with partnership from Nepal National Dalit Social Welfare Organization (NNDSWO).
Manandhar explained that the organization has also contributed to the decline of infant mortality rate. It has been working with the Department of Health and District Health offices on a local level to help minimize the situation.
Save the Children has also been working to support school dropouts in rural areas by providing alternate education at primary level and helping them to go back to school.
He cites skills and techniques he has learnt from the life of the African-American activist David Walker as his main source of inspiration. Manandhar says he is thankful to his father for doing the best a middleclass man can do for his children.
He suggests that organizations should always understand who they are reaching out to. “We should be concerned about the ones who are missing from the outreach but are still a part of the target community,” says Manandhar.
Manandhar was featured on “Inspirations: The Essence of Life,” a personality-based television series presented by Media Gallery and Global Exposition and Management Services in association with Republica. The program is aired on Nepal Television every Wednesday at 10:10 pm.