14 February 2022

Prix Pralong Stories: Mobilising Peace through Education in Nepal

During the summer of 2014, alumni Prakash Pathak (MIE, '15), Vivian Marcelino (MDEV, '15) and Taylor Clayton (MDEV, '15), created a multimedia learning centre and library in Shree Saraswati Higher Secondary School in rural Udiyachaur, Nepal.

Udiyachaur, Prakash Pathak's hometown, is a small, remote village located 160 miles West of Kathmandu, Nepal. Representative of people from all different castes, the village is home to 250 families, many living in extreme poverty and struggling to fulfil their basic needs. With generous funding from Le Prix Christophe Pralong and support from faculty and peers at the Graduate Institute to amplify their efforts, the trio installed computers, provided hundreds of books, and held technology training sessions for staff and students alike – some of whom had never used a computer before.

Today, the library and multimedia learning centre are in high demand, with a portion of the space dedicated to the youngest pupils. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, this room was filled with young learners throughout the entirety of the school day.

An important aspect of the project was ensuring long-term sustainability. Little by little, the school administration has procured additional computers and resources and has even established permanent internet access – a challenging feat in the remote, hilly region of Syangja, Nepal. Over the course of the past eight years, the project has enabled approximately 3,000 students from ages six to 18 to access educational materials in both English and Nepali, empowering them with increased confidence and equipping them with skills for the future.

At present, Prakash is completing his PhD in Economics at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, focussing on different domains of economic development in Nepal, namely schooling outcomes, environment, and political economy. Vivian has likewise returned to academia after several years working in the United Nations and as a management consultant in the field of innovation, to pursue a PhD in Management of Digital Transformation in Barcelona, Spain. Taylor resides in Geneva and works at the World Economic Forum on sustainability issues and the circular economy transition.

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