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These youth made some cities localise DRRM tools. Now, they want to expand it across Nepal – OnlineKhabar English News



If there was one thing that troubled Anil Basnet, a native of Tulsipur sub-metropolitan city in Dang, since he studied geomatics engineering, it was a huge data gap about disaster risk reduction management in his locality. But, Basnet says what used to upset him more was that the local government had not taken any effective efforts in bridging the gap.

Therefore, he wanted to draw their attention to the need for a better disaster risk reduction plan at the local government, but it was not easy. “They did not know anything about it,” he laments. “Neither did they had any reliable data.”

However, in October 2020, he found a solution. He learned about a fellowship programme that would help him not only connect with local officials but also strongly engage in the DRR planning process on his own.

Basnet is one among 14 young people who participated in the Disaster Risk Reduction-Young Leaders Fellowship (DRR-YLF) programme hosted by Youth Innovation Lab (YI-Lab) with the support from USAID’s Tayar Nepal project.

With the fellowship, the fellows say they helped 14 local governments across Nepal localise the centrally-available data management portal, BIPAD, so that they would be able to use the knowledge for better preparedness. In the meantime, the organisers hope for its expansion across the country.

Efforts to collect data

Throughout the fellowship, Basnet says he played an active role in sensitising the officials about the need for data for disaster preparedness and response.

Likewise, Mohammad Aasif Ali, a mechanical engineer who worked with the Biratnagar metropolitan city, says he helped the local government compile and manage data that were scattered and mismanaged.

“The data were scattered in different departments and organisations; they were not interlinked about which those entities were not aware,” Ali says, “As the capital of Province 1, there are many entities and organisations here. They have their own database. Therefore, I collected the data from such organisations and compiled them.”

Ali says he collected the dataset about the airport from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, data about health and education from the health and education departments respectively. Likewise, the dataset of the hotels and the industries was taken from their respective associations in the city.

But, many other participants of the fellowship (October 2020-February 2021) had to collect the data on their own, according to Pradip Khatiwada, the executive director of Youth Innovation Lab (YI-Lab) that facilitated the fellowship.

For example, Sawan Chaudhary says he had to struggle a lot to convince the officials of the Jaleshwar municipality about the importance of data.

He says, “They wouldn’t care about me and my work initially as they had their own works. However, gradually, when I made them understand its significance, they understood and coordinated very well.”

While searching for the dataset in the municipality, it was found that there were no data in the record of the municipality although the municipality was very old. Therefore, he says that he collected the data of education from the education department. He also had to collect some firsthand data.

There were many who faced the problem. Shiva Prasad Chaudhari, the mayor of Rajapur municipality in Bardiya, accepts, “The status of dataset in our municipality was very weak before this programme. However, it has drastically changed as of now, thanks to the DRR fellow and the programme.”

But, what’s the need?

Khatiwada says the data collected by the fellows will help local governments in making informed planning for disaster risk reduction and management.

A DRR fellow working in a municipality. Photo: Youth Innovation Lab

The programme was envisioned in order to aid the Government of Nepal’s plan in localisation of the Building Information Platform Against Disaster (BIPAD) portal, an integrated disaster information management system (DIMS), informs Khatiwada.

All DRR fellows from all the 14 municipalities collected data of 14 different critical infrastructures that include 1,099 educational institutions, 377 health facilities, 537 banking and financial institutions, 524 governance institutions, 398 tourism, 660 culture, 263 industries, 195 communications institutions, 57 transportation facilities, 313 bridge, five energy station, one waterway, three airways, and 308 water supply infrastructures and integrated into the BIPAD portal, Khathiwada informs. 

As the BIPAD portal stores all the relevant disaster data that can be used in the preparedness and response plan for disaster management, localisation of this portal is very crucial, opines Milan Hadkhale, a civil engineer, who worked as a DRR fellow at Vyas municipality.

He adds, “Data integration and data access are further made easy with its localisation. With the bottom-top approach of data collection, the information collected and stored on BIPAD presents a ground reality of the local bodies in disaster risk, preparedness and capacity and resources mapping.”

Corroborating Hadkhale’s statement, another fellow at Neelakantha municipality, Binita Shahi stresses the importance of localising this portal. Adding to this, Basnet says localisation of the BIPAD portal is very necessary for disaster preparedness and resilience. 

Impacts and sustainability 

As the fellows completed their work, all the 14 local governments launched their municipal BIPAD portals by creating sub-domains. Likewise, the local units have a standard operating procedure to run and host the very portal.

A DRR fellow giving presentation on BIPAD portal to municipal officials. Photo: Youth Innovation Lab

Of the 14 municipalities, Rajapur (Bardiya), Dullu (Dailekh), Vyas (Tanahun), Damak (Jhapa), and Waling (Syangja) municipalities have already endorsed the procedure, according to Khatiwada.

Khatiwada is confident that these local governments can now utilise the integrated local disaster data to enhance planning, preparedness, risk communication, response, and decision making in the long-run.

“Some municipalities have already hired a separate DRR professional to give continuity to this work,” shares Khatiwada.

For example, Dilip Pratap Khand, the mayor of Waling municipality in Syangja, informs, “The localisation of Bipad portal has been very useful for us.”

He says, “Using the data of this portal, we are analysing the settlement area, possible areas of hazards, industrial area, and a lot more. As of now, this portal is handled by an IT officer of the municipality and we are in the process of hiring a DRR person soon.”

Nonetheless, many impacts on the municipal governments are of long-term nature and not clearly visible as of now, according to him.

At the personal level, the fellows have garnered many opportunities. Roshan Thakur, a fellow in Damak municipality, says he got an opportunity as an IT officer in a different municipality in Jhapa. Likewise, Shahi is also offered a contract by the Changunarayan municipality in order to localise the BIPAD portal. As per Khatiwada, Yl- Lab has also hired two of the fellows to work for the long term.

“We will continuously provide technical support to all these 14 local governments for some time. And, we are also planning to expand this project in all the 753 local governments of the country,” he says.

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Dambar Chemjong’s efforts to revive TU’s glory – OnlineKhabar English News



Dambar Chemjong is sitting outside his office in the Central Department of Anthropology at Tribhuvan University, the oldest and biggest university in the country, briefing a prospective student about the benefits of studying anthropology. His eyes light up as he talks as that one can clearly see how passionate he is when it comes to it. He shows the prospective student the research conducted by the department. To make things easier for the student, he even calls to ask when admissions for the department would open. To him, this is just a part of his job.

“I want to change things. Make a difference,” says Chemjong, the head of the Central Department of Anthropology at the university. “They say the university is dead and not like it was. But, I beg to differ and want to prove to people that it is alive and doing well.”

Chemjong took office in August 2018 and since then has changed the face of the department. He has added relevance to the course, created a fun learning environment, established an automated library and even constructed a garden to add some aesthetic to an otherwise dull TU compound. 

But now, he wants to do more. Through small efforts like these, he wants his students to produce journals and research on topics not discussed before. He wants to create a learning environment at TU itself and hopes other departments can do the same so that the TU can once again become the students’ first choice if they choose to stay in Nepal.

The garden was constructed with funds from a USAID-funded project. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

Big issues with big institution

“Small things like these go a long way. You need a feel-good factor,” he says. “But, this is just a beginning as a lot more needs to be done for the university to do that.”

The major problem, Chemjong says is the TU’s centralised structure that does not help the departments or the constituent campuses that are spread across Nepal from Taplejung in the east to Darchula in the west. He says that currently, the TU is too big. Currently, the university along with its constituent campuses in all seven provinces has over 600,000 students.

“If you look at top universities in Europe and the US, there are hardly 10,000 students. Only state universities in the US have more than 10,000,” he says.

His solution for this is to scrape all the constituent campuses and set up different universities in each province with not more than 5,000 students in one.

“What is the use of having over half-a-million students when you can’t even conduct exams and release results on time,” he questions.

Chemjong wants this library to become a learning centre for anthropology students. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

Another problem he says is having to ask the central campus at Kirtipur for even minor decisions. From adding a bench to staff for cleaning, everything has to go through the central campus at Kirtipur.

“If you want to make any decisions at a campus in Darchula, you’ll have to ask permission from Kirtipur. This, to me, makes no sense. If we can decentralise it, I’m sure in the next decade, we can see a lot of improvement.”

But, for that to happen, the leg-pulling culture at the university needs to stop, he says. He calls on teachers and officials at the university to understand what the place stands for and be true to its principles.

“As professors and teachers, we need to understand that we have to evolve because today’s age is different. Students are different. If they won’t find value, they’ll go abroad.”

While he says that students going abroad is more to do with it being more accessible, he is aware that not all departments in the university offer attractive education.

“I don’t want to speak about others, but there are some courses which are quite archaic. That needs to change for the TU to become a sought-after destination for students.”

Journals published by the TU Central Department of Anthropology. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

For continuous growth

He gives the example of his own department. When he started out in 2018, there were only nine students. Today, there are nearly 30 as the department is planning on adding PhD courses having recently added MPhil.

“Constantly evolving is important in today’s age. We’ve also been talking about credit transfers and being a part of the Erasmus exchange programmes. These are what make courses attractive for students along with the different research and job opportunities that we have been helping them out with.”

This, he says, will help the individual capacity of both the students and teachers as with better teachers, the place will have better students who will drive each other towards perfection. But, its not as easy and he knows that.

“Good teachers are not appreciated in Nepal. I feel that a good teacher who has the ability to pull students needs to be paid more. It’s simple. But, teachers getting paid more in Nepal is not the norm, which is why many do research work individually with other organisations.”

A classroom at the TU Central Department of Anthropology. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

He says he does not blame them but instead the system that makes it sound bad that teachers work for these organisations. He says, this, instead, should be promoted like it is in the west as it will improve the teachers and be good for the organisation. 

“But, here, they want them to sit in a room and not be open to exploring, which is dumb.”

This is why he says people at the TU need to be vocal as it can create a change through dialogue and conflict. 

“They say I talk a lot. But, I do so because not many here do. I want to make sure that this department does well till I’m here. I don’t like leg-pulling. I want to work with all I have and give all that I have for this department and help both students and teachers reach their goals.”

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Hero Motocorp launches Hero Xtreme 160R and Hero Hunk 150R in Nepal – OnlineKhabar English News



Kathmandu, March 15

Building on its commitment to providing youthful, premium and technologically-advanced products in the Nepali market, Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, on Monday launched two new premium motorcycles in the country – Hero Xtreme 160R and Hero Hunk 150R.

Adding a striking and powerful new chapter to the popular premium brand Xtreme, the Xtreme 160R further strengthens Hero MotoCorp’s presence in the premium motorcycle segment, says the company.

The motorcycle offers an unparalleled mix of performance, sportiness, and features while boasting a muscular stance with an optimum mix of comfort and control.

The Xtreme 160R is accompanied by an all-new Hunk 150R, designed to deliver an unmatched ride experience along with new-age styling.

Both the new motorcycles cater to the aspirations of the youth in Nepal and offer a dynamic combination of performance, styling, and differentiated appeal, the company claims.

The Xtreme 160R and Hunk 150 R will be available at Hero MotoCorp showrooms across the country.

The Xtreme 160R, which comes with a double-disc and a single-channel ABS is priced at Rs339,000 while the Hunk 150R which has the same feature is priced at Rs279,500.

Commenting on the launches, Sanjay Bhan, Head – Global Business, Hero MotoCorp, said, “ The Xtreme 160R has performed well in several global markets and we expect it to do well in Nepal too. We are confident that both the motorcycles will enable us to meet the aspirations of customers here.”


Class leading acceleration

Setting the bar for sportiness and real-world performance, the new Xtreme 160R comes with a 160cc air-cooled BS-VI Compliant engine that is powered by XSens technology and advanced Programmed-Fuel-Injection. The Engine delivers an impressive power output of 15 BHP @ 8500 RPM. Joining the fast lane with a class-leading acceleration – 0-60 km/h in 4.7 seconds, the motorcycle has one of the best power-to-weight ratios in its class, thanks to the low kerb-weight of 138.5 kg.

Exceptional handling

The new Xtreme 160R enjoys a commanding riding position with ergonomics engineered for the streets. The lightweight rigid diamond frame setup offers exceptional handling on the streets while making it a corner happy machine at the same time.

The 37mm telescopic front forks and a 7-step adjustable Rear Mono-shock Suspension setup is tuned for urban agility, providing precise handling and a smooth ride. Brakes with 276mm front petal disc and 220mm rear petal disc ensure that the rider is always in full control and confident of the stopping power. The 165 mm ground clearance ensures the ride is hurdle free.

First-in-segment features

The new Xtreme 160R is paired with a first-in-segmental LED package, from a sculpted full LED headlamp with LED DRLs in front, to LED indicators with hazard switch and down to the rear H signature LED tail lamp. The inverted fully digital LCD display together with the first-in-segment side-stand engine cut ff ensures the motorcycle is both technologically advanced and safe.

The head-turner is available in three vibrant colour combinations of pearl silver white, vibrant blue, and sports red.


Superior ride and handling

Equipped with a 149cc air-cooled engine, the core of Hunk 150R delivers an impressive 14.2 BHP of power and 12.6 Nm of torque.

Aimed at providing real-world performance, the all-new Hunk 150R features a lightweight yet rigid diamond tubular frame offering precise handling and stability in corners and straight roads. Paired with 130/70MM radial rear tyre, the Hunk 150R ensures a superior road grip is provided in all types of road and riding conditions.

The riding triangle has been tuned to provide the perfect balance of agility, stability, and comfort. The motorcycle also boasts of a first in category 7 step adjustable mono-shock suspension for best in class handling ensuring a sporty ride. The broad 37mm beefy front forks also ensure a stable and plush ride.

Best-in-class features

The motorcycle boasts many safety features and is equipped with the first in category optional single-channel ABS ensuring safe braking. Sporting a new alloy wheel design, the 276mm front, and 220mm rear disc brakes come as a standard feature for efficient and immediate power stopping in all riding conditions. 

Designed to provide ease of access, the motorcycle features a sporty digi-analogue instrument cluster with a side stand indicator, trip metre, and a service reminder. The self-start button comes as standard and the engine kill switch is for added convenience. 

Dynamic design and style 

The Hunk 150R flaunts a muscular fuel tank with aggressive shrouds that make a statement while riding. Adding to the striking appeal is a chiselled rear cowl, sporty headlight with wolf-eyed LED position lamps, LED taillight with LED light guides making it easier to get recognised even in dark. The sport-dynamic graphics actuate the design lines offering an unmistakable style.

Colours with expression

The Hunk 150R is available in three colours – NH1 black, sports red, and techno blue.  

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7 young Nepali women entrepreneurs who are breaking patriarchal stereotypes – OnlineKhabar English News



Breaking the stereotypes of the patriarchal society, many Nepali women have made their way to entrepreneurship and established themselves as successful entrepreneurs. 

Here, we bring forward some of the young Nepali  women entrepreneurs who have hit the national and international market with their unique business ideas:

1. Nikita Acharya

Photo: From the Facebook profile of Nikita Acharya

Nikita Acharya is the CEO and co-founder of the e-commerce platform Urban Girl/ UG Cakes/ UG Bazaar. Acharya was just 19 when she first started her business. Acharya, along with her business partner, started Urban Girl in 2012 that sells female jewellery and accessories. Gradually, they introduced UG Cakes that sell customised cakes. And, as of now, they sell many commodities through UG Bazaar.

2. Anushka Shrestha

Photo: From the Facebook profile of Anushka Shrestha

Miss Nepal 2019 Anushka Shrestha came up with a local dessert brand ‘Makkuse’ in 2020 that would reflect her roots. Makkuse, a word from Nepal Bhasa, roughly translates to something scrumptious in English, and this company makes and sells traditional Nepali sweets like gundpak and pustakari. Makkuse aims at promoting authentic Nepali flavours and taste to the world culinary palette.

3. Priya Sigdel

Photo: From the Facebook profile of Priya Sigdel

Priya Sigdel is the co-founder and president of  HattiHatti Nepal, a non-profit organisation that recycles clothes or fabrics into beautiful garments and accessories. Started with an aim of empowering women from marginalised groups, HattiHatti educates those women through their classes in subjects like English, maths, business economy along with practical advanced tailoring training. Meanwhile, HattiHatti also inspires and teaches women to be creative entrepreneurs and independent persons.

4. Prakriti Mainali

Prakriti Mainali started Shakti Milan Nepali in 2014, with a vision to economically empower the women of marginalised and underprivileged groups, meanwhile caring for environmental sustainability. Shakti Milan makes varieties of bags from the sacks (that are often considered as waste in Nepali households). Shakti Milan employs around 20 disadvantaged and marginalised women and also pays them fairly. There is also a child care centre in Shakti Milan making the enterprise more women-friendly.

5. Rewati Gurung

Rewati Gurung

Rewati Gurung is the founder of Kokroma, which produces and sells Nepali-design baby clothes. She initiated Kokroma in 2018 after being inspired by the idea of a Finnish baby box (a maternity care package that includes a cradle, clothes uniquely designed for new mothers and their babies after World War II) during her summer school days in Finland. Gurung has been keeping the idea of women empowerment at the centre since the beginning. Kokroma has also become the market for the prisoners including women who are involved in weaving cotton.

6. Sajal Pradhan

Sajal Pradhan

Sajal Pradhan is the CEO and co-founder of a social enterprise Best Paani that provides rainwater harvesting system, water filtration systems, wastewater recycling, and groundwater recharge services to Nepali households. This startup, founded in 2015, uses sustainable local technology and organic filtration materials to install these environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable water systems. Best Paani also specialises in the research and development of these systems.

7. Nisha Taujale KC

Photo: From the Facebook profile of Nisha Taujale

Nisha Taujale KC is the co-founder of the online grocery store Kathmandu Organics, which sells local, organic, pesticide-free, and homemade products, mainly grocery items of Nepal by collaborating with farmers, cooperatives and entrepreneurs from 40 districts. She founded this startup in 2017.

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