Korean volunteers help spur Nepal’s development
By Anil Giri
KATHMANDU — Very recently, a Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) volunteer, Lee Ki-jung, executed a very complete Environmental Research Demonstration Project at the Institute of Engineering (IoE) in Kathmandu.
The objective of the project was to support master’s degree students studying environmental engineering in conducting their thesis work at a project site.
The innovative project, Reed Bed Sewage Treatment Systems, is a technology that helps treat various types of water pollution that over the years contaminate plant life.
“Of course she (Lee) helped a lot to develop and conduct the project and we are glad to see her with us,” said Dr. Bharat Raj Pahari, the dean of IoE.
She has been working at the institute since 2010 and actively participated in developing the innovative project that helps develop effective sewage management. “This is the latest technology, which has a very high success rate and is appropriate to apply in our country,” said Pahari.
He told The Korea Times that KOICA is also extending help to construct an Information and Communication Building which will have state-of-art facilities. “They (KOICA) are spending $5 million to construct the building alone,” said Pahari.
This is just an example how KOICA volunteers are bringing changes in various walks of life in Nepal, from the Himalayas to remote hilly districts.
Under the aegis of the Korea Overseas Volunteers Program (KOVP), KOICA has dispatched a total of 281 volunteers to Nepal since 1990.
“The KOVP dispatches Korean nationals to partner countries to share expertise, knowledge and experience in order to make practical contributions to their socio-economic development,” says the KOICA Nepal office.
Out of 281, 76 volunteers worked in the field of education, 110 in the health sector, 29 in information and communication technology, 20 in rural development, 33 in various types of energy and related industries, 11 in the environment sector and 2 in e-governance.
Three doctors from KOICA have served at Bhaktapur Hospital and Korea-Nepal Friendship Hospital, respectively, seeing approximately 1,000 patients every month.
At present, 64 Korean volunteers are working in various fields across the 13 districts of Nepal, helping build the societal and developmental changes.
But priorities have been shifting and KOICA has been extending the ambit of volunteering.
“They were really instrumental and useful and kind, dedicated to the job. Locals in Pokhara and the surrounding areas are getting benefits out of their outstanding jobs,” said Guru Baral, a mid-career political activist from the Kaski district, where eight KOICA volunteers are currently working.
He has personally witnessed many programs carried out by volunteers in his district.
Initially, volunteers confined themselves to education, health and social sectors. But, they have expanded these days, adding more sectors and giving fresh impetus to Nepal’s development endeavors. ” Anil Giri is a contributing writer for The Korea Times.