An early day today at the ministry. Often Nepali people don’t mind setting up meetings at 8 in the morning... They are awake from 5 o clock in the morning anyway (Most Nepali go to bed around 9 in the evening!). This morning me and my section chief had a meeting with the World Bank at 8 o’clock about girls scholarship. We were with about 10 others sitting in a room with air-conditioning on full speed. The discussion is diverse: how do we target these girls? How do we combine new scholarships for girls with the old and existing ones? And we also have to look at how quality in the classroom could be improved. The World Bank and the ministry have strong opinions, but it is impressive to see how both parties look for common ground in this aspect. I agree on writing up a document with input from everybody on good practices in what works in keeping girls at school.
At 10 o’clock I walk into my office. I show my colleagues some pics of my trip to Chitwan National Park. At 10:15 my colleagues mention another meeting I should definitely join them in going to: about the policy guidelines and budget. Deeraai important! The general secretary and ministry of Finance will also be there. We walk up and I walk into a room full with Nepali men aged between 40 and 60. Except for my female colleague (who takes a seat in the back instead of at the table) there are no other females around but me. I decided to sit next to my colleague and realize this meeting is (again) in Nepali. In the mean time my female colleague goes around with the ‘present’-list... My Nepali is not yet developed on a professional level, so I quickly give up trying to understand. My other colleague presses me that it’s very important to be there and maybe I could just read the people’s faces to understand them (?!). After 15 minutes I decide I have shown my white face around and excuse myself with a lot of namaste’s.
In my cubicle I read an email from Worldbank and start up a document on successful practices in girls schooling. At twelve o'clock load shedding kicks in, no light or electricity for now, so it's time for lunch! My only Dutch colleague from another section joins me for some samosa’s and yoghurt in the canteen. At the lunch table we catch up with some people from Unicef. Back in the office I get an update on the Nepali spoken meeting from my colleague. After that my Dutch colleague and me sit together to discuss a report we start writing together on finance in education.
Back in the cubicle its 14:30. Plenty of time for a blog and checking for good practices on keeping girls at school. One of those good practices appears to be to have more focus on Math and Science in the classroom. Where did I hear that one before? ;)