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blog : blog0012 : the covid-19 relief fund

krishna bikram shah
april 30, 2020; thursday
23:45 nst (nepal standard time)

lockdown day #38 in kathmandu. the last time i wrote it was lockdown day #8 [ blog0011 : corona lockdown ]. but you know what... time has not stood still. i don't know how the last 30 days passed. was it fun? absolutely not. so i just dispelled the myth -- "time flies when you're having fun!" it seems like time flies regardless.

eat. sleep. wfh. repeat. that's all that i have been doing for the last 38 days. i am sure it's the same for you. and then lots and lots of video conferencing. still trying to figure out how to record google meet conferences. let me know if you have tips/tricks. you can email them to office@hostehainse.org.

many fronts to update you on. so let me jump right into it. if you have not read my last blog entry, please do so for context -- [ blog0011 : corona lockdown ].

the covid-19 relief fund

if you visit the hoste hainse splash page right now, you will be greeted with the following text up top:

Like you, we are closely monitoring the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on everyone across the globe. Our hearts go out to all who have been affected. As always, the health, safety and well-being of our communities, supporters and our employees is paramount. In a time of so much uncertainty, it is not easy to continue business-as-usual, but we are doing what we can under the circumstances.

Hoste Hainse is working with Global Compact Nepal on COVID-19 relief efforts, both immediate as well as long-term. Global Compact Nepal (GCN) is the local network of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). [ read more ]

that should pretty much summarize what we're up to. over many previous blog entries i had hinted at the fact that i personally wear multiple hats, my primary hat being the hoste hainse one. but i am also the e.d. pro bono at global compact nepal. during the last crisis, the 2015 earthquake relief efforts we ran through hoste hainse. now in 2020, as we find ourselves in another crisis, it made more sense to run the covid-19 relief efforts via global compact nepal, of which hoste hainse is a member, for a greater coordinated effort and wider outreach. 1 + 1 = 3. global compact nepal, the local network of the united nations global compact, a voluntary non-binding united nations pact to encourage businesses as well as organizations worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation, has far-reaching networks, a reach much farther than what hoste hainse has. hence, the decision.

covid-19 relief efforts are both immediate as well as long-term pandemic tackling. that's what has kept me busy throughout the lockdown, more or less. maybe that's why time is flying. instead of me re-writing/re-gurgitating everything that i already wrote on the hoste hainse as well as global compact nepal websites, allow me to point you to them:


GCN COVID-19 Relief Fund
www.hostehainse.org/covid-19


but here is a quick copy/paste from the covid-19 relief page:


Immediate Relief:

  • Distribution of everyday protective gear to health workers, security personnel and the general public.
    • Masks
    • Gloves
    • Sanitizer

  • Distribution of professional protective gear to health workers.
    • PPE's (Personal Protective Equipment)
    • N95 Masks

  • Distribution of food and water to communities/individuals affected by the lockdown.
Long-term pandemic tackling:

  • Upgrade and/or establish diagnostic laboratories to detect not only the COVID-19 virus, but also other diseases.

  • Upgrade and/or establish research laboratories to study not only the COVID-19 virus, but also other diseases, such as malaria, dengue and whatever else comes our way.

  • Distributing via...
    • GCN Secretariat
    • GCN Member Organizations
    • Partner Organizations
    • Volunteers

  • Collaborating with...
    • Government - Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Ministry of Health and Population, local municipalities.
    • Focus Groups/Chambers - Centre for Molecular Dynamics Nepal (CMDN), Biotechnology Society of Nepal (BSN), FNCCI, NBI, CNI.
    • GCN network - UN Agencies, private sector, etc.
    • Rotary - District 3292, Rotary Club of Patan West, other Rotary clubs.


so now you know what i mean by immediate relief vs. long-term pandemic tackling.

due to our involvement with covid-19 relief efforts, we were able to get a vehicle pass from the local government for movement during the lockdown. got this pass on lockdown day #16. after 17 days of not leaving the home, on lockdown day #18, i personally drove to bhaktapur with this vehicle pass to pick up masks from suppliers and deliver them to hospitals, i.e., patan hospital and blue cross hospital. since then, have been out one more time, that time to do a ppe (personal protective equipment) run -- pick up samples from sabah nepal and deliver them to hospitals. so, over the last 38 days i have been out twice, but i soon realized i can be more effective as a coordinator from home than driving around as a delivery boy, endangering both myself as well as others that i come in contact with.

but there was something else as well. i look back at the 2015 earthquake relief efforts and think about the immediate relief efforts vs. the long term ones we were involved in then. blogs 0001 through 0006 were all about rebuilding a government school in sindhupalchowk. and that we did @ thulo dhading, sindhupalchowk. and i am very happy we did that in addition to the immediate relief then of handing out food and medicine. in hindsight, if we had just stuck to immediate relief efforts, it would definitely not have been enough. same mindset is kicking in now too with the covid-19 crisis.

i have written many emails regarding our covid-19 relief efforts. instead of re-writing everything in this blog entry, here's a copy/paste of an email i wrote to the global compact nepal board pitching our long term relief effort:



    Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2020 15:11:49 +0545
    To: Global Compact Nepal Board
    From: Krishna Shah
    Subject: [gcn: board/advisors] GCN COVID-19 Relief Fund
    Cc: Global Compact Nepal Office, Hoste Hainse Office (GCN Secretariat)

    dear global compact nepal board & advisors:

    as promised in my last email, this email re: the covid-19 relief fund.

    i have informally talked to quite a few of you about this already, but here is the official email.

    as you know, we decided as a group to start the covid-19 relief fund during the april 3 online board meeting. that was the basis to reach out to all gcn members for pledges. the pledges that have come in so far [...] have been highlighted on our website:

    www.globalcompactnepal.org/covid-19

    in addition to pledges, a lot of relief efforts have also been happening on the side via our own organizations and/or networks that we are affiliated with, mostly the well-needed immediate relief efforts. to highlight what we have been doing under our gcn umbrella (either individually or in collaboration), i have also started a "running log" section on the covid-19 relief fund page that captures these efforts. kindly send me snippets (one sentence each) of efforts that i can copy/paste onto the website along with your organization's name. the idea is to show what we are collectively doing under our gcn umbrella, to fuel further support. 1 + 1 = 3.

    www.globalcompactnepal.org/covid-19 --> scroll down to "running log"

    i have broken down the covid-19 relief fund page into 2 main sections:

    1.) immediate relief
    2.) long-term pandemic tackling

    (1.) immediate relief is what we are already doing (and we will continue to do). so, we may not need to do anything more here, as opposed to constantly highlight our collective efforts. this will help add fuel to to the fire for (2.):

    (2.) the long-term pandemic tackling endeavor is the big ticket item, and something that may become our legacy. picture this -- a state of the art research as well as diagnostics laboratory operating in a ppp (public-private partnership) model that in the immediate future becomes the de-facto covid-19 detection/confirmation facility, and in the long-term future becomes an international-level research centre that will be able to collaborate with other countries on any other virus that we have yet to see.

    corona is here to stay. dengue is already here. at this rate, malaria may also come back.

    in 2-3 years from now, no one will remember the sacks of rice we gave out or the masks we distributed, but if we start something tangible now, which resonates with the need of the hour, we may be able to etch our name (global compact nepal) into a flagship initiative that will end up becoming our legacy.

    you might debate -- this is something that the government SHOULD do, or perhaps IS already doing. i used the word "debate," as this is something debatable, but we can probably all agree that a lot of good establishments have been started in a ppp model. and along with the fncci, nbi, and perhaps cni, we (gcn) are also a viable force to bring about this public-private partnership. the current network of the 24 gcn members may be enough to get this venture jump-started.

    kindly pardon me, as i get ahead of myself by saying the government entity i propose working with at this point in time is ronast, the academy of science and technology, as while still a government entity, it is also an autonomous body directly under the prime minister. under the centre of excellence, it has the mandate to execute such endeavors, and is open to working with the private sector. if we can get our foot in the door, it would also open up other opportunities such as -- for example, manufacturing rapid test kits right here in nepal. we have pharmaceutical companies under our umbrella already (ctl and vijayadeep). while it may be difficult to go after such ventures solo, as a collective with government backing, it may be very possible.

    kindly pardon me once again, as i have yet another instance of me getting ahead of myself, by sharing with you, i have already facilitated a high-level concept-sharing video conference with the vice-chancellor of ronast via my father, rishi shah, academician at ronast, in which an 8-member biotechnology committee of academicians and scientists (inclusive of the vice-chancellor) sounded very interested in this idea. so, we already have the initial blessing from ronast.

    the best research/diagnostics lab in the country is currently run by the guys at cmdn/intrepid. but since they are non-profit/private, they do not have enough momentum or the mandate to get to the next level. sadly, on the government front, while there are a few good people, history has shown us (most recently with the earthquake) that crisis opportunities like these make corrupt people rich via commissions during procurement, and the procured items (on taxpayers money) ultimately rot away without proper oversight. hence, a ppp model is needed. this is where i would like to propose the guys at cmdn/intrepid.

    but as you know, everything costs money. a simple biotechnology research/diagnostics laboratory costs about npr 50 lakhs. a state-of-the-art one perhaps at least double or triple that depending upon what we want to achieve. but with the networks that we have and combined fundraising and matching efforts (when covid-19 related available help is paramount), i believe this is within reach.

    for example, a rotary club global grant can fetch us usd 30,000 - usd 50,000. if we raise about usd 20,000 (about npr 25 lakhs) locally from within our network, we should be able to double that via rotary. then, we have seed funding of npr 50 lakhs. with this seed funding, we can approach ronast and ask them to put in another npr 50 lakhs or perhaps even npr 1 crore.

    then, for instance, we have a npr 1.5 crores available for our endeavor, more than enough to get this project kick-started.

    i know this may sound like a moonshine plan at this point, but if you break it down, the immediate pressure point on our side is to only raise the first npr 25 lakhs, which we can grow by matching. through our recent national anthem event, we saw how good our networking is (under nitisha's leadership at least) and this has given me more motivation to drive this forward under the global compact nepal umbrella.

    ok; this email is getting long, but i think i have made my point. please let me know your feedback and/or thoughts/comments. if calling is easier, here is my mobile number: 98080-65300.

    cheers,
    krishna


moonshine plan indeed. i sometimes ask myself, "what the heck am i getting myself into?" but then again i tell myself, "if you aim for the stars, you will get to the moon." but i think the real saying is something else, right? ;) either way, you get the idea. this indeed is a huge undertaking, but if we can pull it off, maybe it is the beginning to something that we can proud of in times to come, and more importantly something that will be important for generations to come.

i have been pitching it left and right amongst all my circles. here's a snapshot of the rotary club of patan west online meeting that happened earlier today in which this idea was pitched and discussed for an entire 45 minutes:


2020-04-30_RCPW_Online_Meeting_1196.jpg
2020/04/30 Rotary Club of Patan West Weekly Online Meeting #1196


if it's not me pitching, it's one of the girls in the secretariat doing so. at the iucn nnc video conference, it was rashmi who pitched the gcn covid-19 relief fund:


2020-04-24_IUCN_NNC_Video_Conference.jpg
2020/04/24 IUCN NNC Video Conference


can you tell we've been doing nothing but video conferencing throughout the lockdown? :) but i think i should stop here on the covid-19 relief efforts and more importantly the covid-19 relief fund. if you would like to be part of it, here is the url once again: www.globalcompactnepal.org/covid-19. and this is a good segue into a related topic i want to quickly write about...

the covid-19 national anthem "thank you" campaign

in addition to running relief efforts in light of the global coronavirus pandemic, we have also been running covid-19 awareness campaigns under the global compact nepal banner. one of those campaigns was a "thank you" initiative that we coincided with nepali new year 2077, which fell on april 13, 2020. by the way, happy nepali new year 2077! just like candles were lit in india (and some in nepal too), we wanted to do something simple yet effective and let social media do its magic. the idea was to bring solidarity in the nation and take the opportunity to salute and appreciate all the front line workers, who have been working tirelessly to combat, contain and help the nation in this difficult period. so, under global compact nepal board member nitisha shrestha's leadership, the gcn secretariat came up with the covid-19 national anthem "thank you" campaign:


2020/04/13 COVID-19 National Anthem Thank You Campaign
2020/04/13 COVID-19 National Anthem "Thank You" Campaign


up to the morning of april 12, 2020, the campaign was just another social media campaign, but then at around 5:30pm, this happened:


Prime Minister Tweet
twitter.com/kpsharmaoli/status/1249305433132548097


yes, believe it or not, the prime minister of nepal tweeted about our event on his official twitter handle. what started as a simple social media campaign ended up being a nationwide directive. this catapulted global compact nepal into the limelight and gave us even more motivation to work on the gcn covid-19 relief fund.

ok, time to move away from global compact nepal and return to ground zero - hoste hainse...

plant for education

last month i wrote about our cancelled (due to covid-19) movie premiere fundraiser (james bond - no time to die). this month i am going to write about yet another program (which would ultimately turn into a fundraiser) that we needed to cancel due to the pandemic - our annual brikcha ropan (tree planting) program. bipasha had already designed the flyer and all:


Plant for Education
www.hostehainse.org/plant


this is what the website read:

Hoste Hainse plants 100 trees in Dukuchhap (DC) every year. We invite people to come and plant trees one day of the year, and then we take care of them for the rest of the year. In 2020, we find ourselves in our 4th year of Brikcha Ropan (Tree Plantation), in which 100 more trees will be planted making the total count of Hoste Hainse Brikcha Ropan trees 400. Please read the "History" section below to see how it all started.

The expenses for this project are borne 100% by Hoste Hainse Executive Director Pro Bono, Krishna Shah. Hence, this project adds 0% overhead to Hoste Hainse.

two words -- oh well. but the least we can do is remain optimistic and hope that we can reschedule it to some time in the future before the rainy season is over so that the newly planted trees will survive. but will the pandemic end before the rainy season is over this year? that's another question altogether.

since we coincide the tree planting with hoste hainse founding advisor, rishi shah's birthday, we went ahead and planted just one tree at our own home on his 74th birthday:


2020/04/29 Brikcha Ropan at Home
2020/04/29 Brikcha Ropan at Home


yeah, we live in an extended family household. ;)

project 3k

i need to write about project 3k, as with all of our other fundraisers cancelled due to covid-19, this is the only fundraiser that is still operational as it depends upon crowdfunding. am not going to repeat everything all over again, stuff that i wrote last month [ blog0011 : corona lockdown ], but i can't stress on it enough -- if you have not already done so, kindly support us via project 3k...

www.hostehainse.org/3k project 3k
more info @
www.hostehainse.org/3k

around this time our new academic year would have already started and i personally would have been in sarlahi taking class pictures and individual student pictures for the 2077 project 3k registration forms. we would have started a new cycle of records and reports. but now... everything is on hold... i hope for not too long, as i can't wait to get started again and hit the ground running!

recycle/reuse for education

our other sustainable ventures have come to a grinding halt thanks to the lockdown due to the covid-19 pandemic. again, let's hope for not too long...

Hoste Hainse Fundraiser - Recycle For Education     Hoste Hainse Fundraiser - Reuse For Education

i hope you're not throwing away your recyclables and/or your old clothes and household items. call us once the lockdown is over and we'll come to pick them up. call us at 01-5550700 or email us at [ office@hostehainse.org ].

prakrity sessions

what's a blog entry without me writing about my weekly uplifting electronic music radio show which is a fundraiser for hoste hainse, right? :) don't know about it? well, only one way to find out more... take a listen...


prakrity sessions 458 (april 4, 2020)


prakrity sessions 460 (april 18, 2020)


a fundraiser for the education of underprivileged children in nepal
more info @ www.prakrity.com


wrap-up

oh, it's getting late. almost midnight already. tomorrow's friday already. unbelievable. and that's how time flies during a lockdown.

the last time i wrote, we were at 800,000+ cases worldwide, with 40,000+ deaths. as of this writing, we're at 3.2 million+ cases worldwide, with almost 230,000 deaths. all that in just 30 days. by the time you read this, the numbers will be higher. i will write it again -- my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected as well as everyone working on the front lines. this is one bad pandemic.

2020-04-30_COVID-19_Dashboard_at_Johns_Hopkins_University.jpg
2020/04/30 COVID-19 Dashboard at Johns Hopkins University


there were lots of references to previous blog entries and in case you have not read those and would like to, here are the links for you:

  • [ blog0011 : corona lockdown ] - march 31, 2020
  • [ blog0010 : german ambassador sarlahi visit ] - february 29, 2020
  • [ blog0009 : hh blog reloaded (again) ] - january 15, 2020

as always, thanks for reading, and please take care as well as stay safe during these uncertain times. if you have any questions or comments on anything that i wrote about, please feel free to reach out: [ office@hostehainse.org ].

write/talk to you next month.

cheers,
krishna

this page is directly accessible via the following url: [ www.hostehainse.org/blog/0012 ].






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