ICIMOD observes third open house day

Against the backdrop of celebrating the UN International Year of Forests 2011, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) organised its third annual ICIMOD Open House Day at its premises in Khumaltar on Saturday, 12 March 2011. The Centre opened its doors to welcome its partners, the development community, the private sector, and the public at large to an exciting knowledge-rich and fun-filled event which attracted more than 2,500 visitors.  

An array of activities such as programme guided tours, a photo exhibition, technology demonstrations, documentary shows, a street drama, a mountain quiz, stalls showcasing knowledge and products, and games and food stalls created a festival-like ambience at the open house. 

Visitors viewed the ICIMOD facilities talked to programme staff in a series of guided tours. People were fascinated to learn about the different ways mountain people can make a living; about climate change and the effects on water, glaciers, and farming; issues of gender and governance in the mountains; the importance of biodiversity in ecosystem and for livelihoods; the use of remote sensing and GIS; and to see many publications, slide shows, and many other demonstrations.

The photo exhibition drew attention to human activities threatening the sustenance of forest cover, depicted various goods and services, proposed sustainable forest management options, and finally identified institutional and governance mechanisms to ensure sustainable management.    

The ‘Tree of Hope’ was a popular activity. Some of the messages showed much awareness and interest on the visitors’ part: ‘If one baby born, plant two baby plants’, another said, ‘Save the green. Save the energies. Then save yourself.’

Over forty stalls by partners showcased knowledge/information and good practices, different environmentally friendly and organic products, mountain resources-based products and services, demonstration of simple technologies such as solar powered devices, and school herbal garden initiative among others, which provided visitors with an educational, attractive, and relevant show. 

The Yuva Chautari presented the ten winning posters from the ‘Youth Corner on Climate Change Adaptation’ competition held earlier. This corner aimed to highlight the critical roles youth can play to advocate for the mountain agenda and climate change adaptation. The Chautari also presented a drama ‘Bodh’ on climate change awareness by Ram Babu Regmi, a British Council International Climate Champion.  A student of Bright Future School, Satdobato, 14-year-old Bibek Ghimire noted, “I learned that garbage can be made into compost manure and if we use it, it will increase vegetable production.”

A demonstration put on by ICIMOD showed the process of ice melting under direct sun exposure, with and without debris cover, and under shaded. ICIMOD staff and climate change expert, Dr Arun Bhakta Shrestha summarised, “The demonstration made viewers see how separate conditions such as direction of sunlight, shade, and debris cover, can make a difference in the melting process and how it contributes to meltwater generation.” 

The documentary-cum-mountain quiz corner was another big draw. The movie shows were jam-packed throughout the screenings. The ‘Know Your Mountain’ quiz focussing on mountains, mountain biodiversity, mountain culture, and mountain issues, was a big hit among students. 

All Photos by: Nabin Baral
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