Strengthening Governance and Consolidating Successes
Prisoners’ Assistance Mission (PAM) initiated in 1991 by the prominent Human Rights Activist and famous Literary Person the late Bishnu Kumari Waiba “Parijat” has gone through various upheavals, and competitions and challenges. Because of which Women Acting Together for Change (WATCH) took over its management from 2004 but it has its own Board and members. Slowly it has been able to establish itself as an organization with possibilities. In this Endeavour WATCH has been supported by the GLS Treehaund (Future Foundation for Development) a German based NGO and some other independent organizations and individuals. PAM houses 31 prisoners’ children, has a building with capacity to house about 30 children and seven staff and three regular volunteers, one public library and four ropanis of land for agricultural activities. Water and space for children are some of the problems still being faced, which needs addressing. PAM children are known Judo players in Nepal and abroad. Judo has made children quite disciplined so focusing more on exercises and judo training PAM has abandoned its activities related to teaching of agricultural activities to children. There is also positive response from Central and District level Child Welfare Committees because they have started recommending and sending the prisoners’ children to PAM.
Some of the achievements of PAM
From 2004, after WATCH has taken over the management the following achievements were made:
1. Rescued 15 children from the PAM home by paying almost Rs. one million due and transferred them to the Nestling Home.
2. Completed almost 75% only built Nestling Home with support from various organizations.
3. From 2001 PAM had not done auditing and the renewal of organization with the CDO and SWC. All of these were done to start smooth operation of the organization.
4. Contacted to the previous donors of which GLS Treehaund became interested to support and started supporting PAM which is continued until now.
5. The number of children to be housed at the Nestling Home was set as 30 which is still continuing to be around.
6. Membership renewal, annual and general assemblies, auditing and renewal, etc. are done continuously on time.
7. Proposal writing and reporting are also done regularly.
8. Earthquake of 2015 had partially affected even destroyed some sections of the building which has been repaired and made earthquake resistant with support from the GLS Treehaund Foundation.
9. As children became unruly and undisciplined which almost destroyed PAM’s name, decision was made to start judo training from 2009 which is being continued.
10. PAM children have been taking part in judo training and have been able to participate in Championship Matches in Nepal and abroad. In Nepal they are always collecting almost 50% of medals, have been able to be Champions and the Best players.
11. Being Judo hall small with support from GLS it was expanded because community children and Tibetan Refugee’s children wanted to be trained and they were accommodated.
12. A public library was started with support from Yamada Nobue San.
13. A 20000 liter tank is made for water collection.
14. Water from two systems is bought but they give only two hours each of water supply a week.
15. Nine children have completed High School with good marks and are studying in the higher levels.
16. All the children are going to the public school “Bal Vikas Secondary School” and relationship between PAM and School is very cordial and supportive.
17. Avocado, pears, guava, grape, pomegranate, etc. fruits are planted and have started giving fruits.
18. Organic agriculture especially seasonal vegetables, corn, paddy, etc. are grown every year and fed to the children.
19. Chickens are raised and fed to the children. Mushroom is also grown sometimes. Children and staff have learned such skills.
20. Wall Magazine is being published regularly every three months, Children themselves write or draw and edit them by the Editorial Board.
21. Children are supported to take part in the social and cultural activities and they are usually invited by the communities.
22. PAM is known to be visiting place for Nepali and Foreign visitors and children also engaging with them in a friendly manner,
23. Office and system is established.
Some of the weaknesses in PAM:
1. Water is a problem which has not been solved yet.
2. Because of frequent construction works agricultural works are disrupted very often.
3. PAM Board has not been that active and involved in management.
4. Frequent changes in staffing has created problem in stability and staff training.
5. Dependency on Dr. Narayan Kaji Shrestha is also creating problem because he himself is quite busy with other organizations, being old over 75 and loosing memory, also having his own family problems.
Next Phase Proposal:
The coming phase will last for five years. During this time PAM will be independent of WATCH. Its Board, staff will be able to function independently, however, two organizations will have good and supporting relationships. PAM has made substantial achievements which need to be consolidated and made sustainable. There are still some weaknesses which need to be minimized or solved. PAM has also plans to build a Judo Hall, a library and a gym, and make them functioning and self-sustaining, It also has to become a training, demonstration and service centre for agriculture and small ruminants productions. Thus, through these initiatives provide services to communities make some income from services and develop good relationships with schools and communities.
Goal and Objectives:
The goal of this phase of program is to consolidate achievements, minimize or mitigate visible weaknesses and let PAM function smoothly, transparently, with good governance and in participatory and accountable way.
The above goal will be achieved with the following objectives fulfilled:
A. Continue supporting 30-35 prisoners’ children for quality education, healthy living, and with holistic development.
B. Develop independent system of management by having qualified and trained staff, and selecting/electing committed Board with responsibilities and accountability.
C. Develop PAM as a community hub or as a service centre for the communities and their children.
To achieve the objective “a” the following activities will be done:
A1. Manage the Nestling Home for the Well Being of the 30+Prisoners’ Children with spacious, ventilated and safe rooms and bedding; clean attached bathrooms and toilets with 24 hours running water; nutritious food including super flour, regular meat and eggs, green vegetables, legumes, etc. PAM will try to try a deep boring on the contour line its neighbor who is having water pumped out. For the time being PAM will negotiate with the neighbor to use available water from his side.
A2. Arrange Physical, Social and Mental Development Activities for holistic development of the children
Regular use of gym, morning exercises; evening judo training, etc. are done for physical well-being. Inviting community children for judo, gym, taking part in community activities and providing agricultural services are some of the activities for social responsibility. Regular publication of wall magazines, regular library use, computer and internet users are planned for mental development.
B1. Initiate process of changes in the charter to suite the present situation, Organize General Assembly with new membership and bring in committed and responsible Board Members with specific responsibilities assigned each of them. Provide the Board training on the board responsibilities and management. Provide cascade training to the staff on children’s rights, home management, cooking, cleanliness and hygiene, and agricultural skills.
C1. The area was originally an agricultural area. The original people (Tamangs) do some agricultural activities but in a very small scale. After city planning there are houses all over with a little land available for agriculture. So there is need for developing organic agricultural activities which are possible in the roof top, flower pots or small patches of land. PAM will demonstrate some of these in its premises and provide training to those interacted and supply seeds, seedlings, mushrooms, one-month old chickens and quail, etc. Bee keeping is also a possibility.
One manager cum judo teacher
One accountant cum counselor
One house mother with agricultural responsibilities
One librarian cum computer trainer
Two support staff for cooking/cleaning and agricultural activities.
Volunteers, intern with helping children in schooling or a part time teacher
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring tools and record keeping tools are already developed but they are not regularly used. One staff from PAM will be responsible for this who will report once a month. Results of monitoring and use of accounts will be shared with children and staff every month. Their feedback will also be sought for improvement and further planning.
PAM is slowly moving for sustainability. It has accumulated some funds through income generation, 5% children’s fund, and individual donors. It has not done any fund rising yet. PAM will have its own website and plan for fund raising. As there is no provision for investment and the SWC does not encourage it, it will be accumulated in the “Muddati Khata”. Within five years PAM should aim for having additional Rs. 100 Lakh in the PAM Fund. It is also necessary to make decisions whether PAM should remain as separate organization and should merge with WATCH. In the first situation WATCH should help PAM to have its own structure and management, and develop their capabilities so that they can operate independently. In this case, PAM also needs to start thinking of expanding its sphere of activities. If taken the second option both WATCH and PAM Boards have to think and make decisions and initiate a process of merging. This is the preferred option.
PAM has not done much of publicity. Nepali brochure is published and distributed in Nepal. This time it will publish in English. Through its website and social media also it will start publicizing and letting people know about it. Right now people are confused with PAM and PA Nepal which is started by one of its old staff. PAM has to aggressively work on fund raising.
Another aspect which is not touched in this proposal is the the construction of judo hall, gym, library and their operations. They have to be not only self-sustaining but even raise fund for PAM.