Dolakha and Nawalparasi, October 1, 2016: Children in Sunkhani in Dolakha and Sunawal, Nawalparasi, 500 kilometres apart, have talked to each other through an e-interaction.
Through video conferencing technology, the children were able to bridge the physical divide and exchange their experiences, and also have a bit of fun in the process. The experiences shared by the children in Sunkhani, some of them in lyrical format,Â dealt more with what they went through during and after the earthquakes of 25 April and 12 May 2015. Children from Sunawal on the other hand shared with their peers across the video screen their efforts in nurturing the child-friendly concept in the community to make their municipality Nepalâ€™s first child-friendly municipality.
The e-interaction â€˜Sunkhani Dekhi Sunawal Sammaâ€™ was the first of many experience sharing e-interactions that UNICEF is conducting to connect children from districts affected by the 2015 earthquakes with children in other parts of the country which can potentially be affected by earthquakes in the future.
The exchange of information between the children from two sides mainly included the aftermath of the earthquake, especially regarding safety of schools and the situation of health care; issues regarding child labour and child marriage; about their villages; about festivals, and how they brought together diverse people.
Witnessing the innovative two-way interaction in Sunkhani, Mr. Bijaya Subedi, Under Secretary of Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) said, “This is the first event in the country that has connected children from two different places to share experiences of disaster. This kind of innovative and young-people friendly technology is a great tool to create a platform for children to discuss issues that concern them, and to ensure their active participation.”
Ms. Maiya Kadel, Child Friendly Local Governance Focal Desk Officer in MoFALD and Mr. Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Representative to Nepal observed the e-interaction in Sunwal. They watched the boys and girls talk about serious issues, peppered with zesty songs and poems, and then the quest to seek how they could continue their newfound e-friendship across the miles.
“Children were hit hard by the earthquake, but their amazing resilience capacity helped them recover from the effects of the earthquake. Examples on how they coped right after the earthquake in terms of education, child protection, shelter and health are learnings for children in other parts of the country,” remarked Hozumi. He further said that such exchange will not only help children from different parts of the country to learn about disaster risk reduction, but will also foster better understanding amongst them of the diversity of the country, their challenges as well as their possibilities.
In November, the second e-interaction will connectÂ theÂ children from Barpak, Gorkha, the epicentre of the April 25 earthquake to the children in Bajura District in the far west.