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Learning new ideas in Nepal

In my last post, I wrote about how Concern Worldwide can benefit from sending staff abroad to learn new ideas. Jaka Magoma’s story, below, is a perfect example of this.

Earlier this month, Jaka left Tanzania for Nepal to swap ideas on water and sanitation with other health experts. 

Improving programmes

I spoke to Jaka after his trip. He told me: "we learnt many new things that we will take back to our programmes to improve them. We focused on available natural resources for energy, which are cost-effective for poor people to manage."

One of the most valuable things Jaka learnt was how to generate electricity. This is especially important in Tanzania where only 2.5% of its rural population has electricity.

Improving lives

Jaka explained how he also learnt to use cows and waste paper to create energy for essential household uses such as cooking. The methods are part of an approach called “domestic plus,” which makes sure people have access to water as well as enabling people to grow food, earn money, and eventually enhance the quality of their lives.

>> Read more about Concern's "domestic plus" approach in Nepal

Developing water and sanitation

This initiative goes hand in hand with the water and sanitation programme that Concern already operates in Tanzania. Jaka asked:

 How can we achieve nutrition and wider health goals, which partly rely on water consumption, while people are still walking more than 1km to collect water? And how can we improve farming, when there is little water used for irrigation? This is how all the different types of interventions integrate; we can’t have one without the other.

Learning more

Jaka, who is part of the team that won first prize for innovations in water and sanitation in 2010, is always looking for new ways to improve.

In Nepal, my mind was opening up to new ways of overcoming our problems, and I am excited to try these new activities. We improve by going outside, and by seeing how others work. If things we trial don’t work in our programmes area, then we move on and learn.