We have been working in Solukhumbu for ten years and have built up relationships with local communities across the region. We listen to local stakeholders and work with them to develop answers to local problems. When we agree on a project or programme, the local community makes a significant contribution in cash or in kind that demonstrates the shared nature of the initiative. If the local community has a stake in success, they commit to achieving a result and work harder to deliver it.
Our baseline survey delves deep into the fabric of the local community, the strengths and weaknesses of educational participation and attainment. We do primary research, often through our excellent group of interns, to make quantitative and qualitative analysis of the issues and possible solutions.
Our community consultation engages with all of the major stakeholders: parents, teachers, students, school governors, and local education authorities. By canvassing all opinions, we seek to build a shared sense of the problems and possible solutions, and build a consensus around which local stakeholders make tangible commitments towards the project alongside Stay At School contributions.
For example, Stay At School has worked with local communities to identify the serious problem of high drop-out rates in dispersed mountain communities. Although primary schools are numerous and local to most students, the step up to senior school often involves long travel distances. Parents, children and teachers all believe that spending many hours each day walking to school is detrimental to learning, especially in the senior years when preparation for national exams is so important. We work with schools to identify students most susceptible to dropping out due to travel distances and build and operate weekly accommodation near the school.