The Empowering Local Communities through Local Language Education and Skill-Based Training (LLEST) project addresses two critical educational challenges in Nepal: the scarcity of learning materials in local languages for early childhood education and the lack of quality resources for skill-based training in rural areas. This initiative aims to enrich early learning with interactive stories in various local languages while enhancing accessibility to vocational training through digital courses, focusing on bridging educational gaps in underserved communities. In 2024, our primary focus is on researching, designing, and developing 10 skills-based courses. Additionally, we are in the process of creating a personalized learning platform that integrates all our digital resources into a mobile-friendly format.

As we navigate through the first half of 2024, our commitment to empowering local communities through education remains steadfast and proactive. The LLEST project has achieved significant milestones and laid crucial groundwork for the successful implementation of the project.

Laying the Foundation: We officially signed the project agreement with ONGD-FNEL in January, marking a pivotal moment that initiated project activities. A representative from ONGD-FNEL visited our office in Sanepa, Lalitpur, further solidifying our partnership. Throughout the subsequent months, our focus turned to meticulous planning and preparation:

  • Project Review and Goal Setting: We conducted a thorough review of project activities and refined our goals to align with community needs and educational priorities.
  • Strategic Agreements: Finalizing agreements with local governments in key project areas—Lo Ghekar Rural Municipality (Mustang), Dolpo Buddha Rural Municipality (Dolpa), Lalitpur Metropolitan City, Janakpurdham Sub-Metropolitan City, and Dhangadimai Municipality—ensured collaborative efforts and community engagement at every level. This involved visits and consultations with elected representatives and school administrators, underscoring our commitment to inclusive educational access.
  • Documentation and Approvals: Our efforts included preparing essential documentation for Social Welfare Council (SWC) Approval and crafting detailed Terms of Reference (TORs) to guide our dedicated project team.

Progress and Momentum: From April to June, momentum grew as we transitioned from planning to implementation:

  • Team Formation and Project Kickoff: With our team in place, we embarked on team formation and orientation activities to foster cohesion and collaboration. The official project kickoff on May 2nd brought together organizational stakeholders and team members to strategize and synchronize efforts.
  • School Partnerships: We have identified and finalized partnerships with schools in Mustang and Dolpo in a collaborative effort involving extensive consultations with local authorities and school administrators. Similar processes are underway in Lalitpur, Janakpurdham, and Dhangadimai.
  • SWC Approval: We successfully obtained SWC approval in June, allowing us to proceed with the full implementation of the project.
  • Enhancing Educational Platforms: We conducted detailed assessments of our existing learning platforms such as Hamro Ramailo Kathaharu (HRK), E-Paath, and E-Pustakalaya. These assessments inform the seamless integration of educational resources into our learning platform, enhancing user experience and accessibility.

Building for Impact: Central to our efforts is the development of Version 1 of the personalized learning platform, designed to integrate all digital learning resources into a single, mobile-friendly, and enhanced learning experience:

  • UI/UX Development: Milestones achieved include the completion of initial UI/UX designs for critical functionalities like Login/Signup and homepage navigation. Ongoing enhancements for E-Pustakalaya, E-Paath, and HRK views are progressing, with anticipated completion by August.
  • Preparing for Field Activities: Rigorous preparation for field activities involved developing tailored student and teacher surveys, deploying a mobile application for data collection, and planning co-design workshops. These initiatives aim to gather insights, refine educational strategies, and foster community engagement.

Looking Ahead (July - December 2024): The upcoming months are poised for further action and impact:

  • Field Testing and Deployment: We anticipate completing Version 1 of the learning platform for comprehensive field testing, alongside finalizing procurement for offline servers and tablets to support educational activities in project schools.
  • Community Engagement: September marks the beginning of field activities at schools in Mustang and Dolpo, focusing on implementation and feedback collection. In subsequent months, activities will expand to Lalitpur, Janakpurdham, and Dhangadimai, ensuring comprehensive field engagement.
  • Course Development: Following field activities, the design and development of ten skill-based courses will commence, fostering practical learning opportunities aligned with community needs.

We are grateful to all members of the LLEST project team, OLE Nepal's larger team, elected and school representatives from different local levels, and ONGD-FNEL for their continued support in kickstarting this ambitious project. The progress made in the first half of 2024 sets a robust foundation for our ongoing efforts to empower local communities through education.

Join us on this journey to transform education and empower communities. Together, we can build a brighter future, one empowered learner at a time.

Click here to learn more about the project.