Nepal students lead climate action: Kopila Valley named a finalist for the 2023 Zayed Sustainability Prize

Sunita Bhandari, Sustainability Coordinator at BlinkNow Foundation

Kopila Valley School has again earned the nomination of Finalist for the 2023 Zayed Sustainability Prize in the Global High Schools category. Two students and one staff person traveled to Abu Dhabi for the award ceremony and the IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) youth forum during the annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January.

The Zayed Sustainability Prize is awarded annually to honor excellence in sustainable development. The 10 winners were announced at an awards ceremony in January during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. Every year, the Opening Ceremony and the Zayed Sustainability Prize Awards Ceremony initiates four days of debate, discussion and cooperation.

Attended by over 3,400 delegates – from world leaders and policymakers to business leaders, scientists and academics – it brings the world’s sustainability community together.

Why was Kopila Valley nominated?

Finalists were chosen for a wide variety of student-led projects to address environmental problems and empower local communities to take action. Kopila Valley students proposed a composting project, which they will use to research types of composting and teach composting to the broader community in Surkhet. Sustainability and environmental education are built into the curriculum at Kopila Valley School, so this prize opportunity is a natural fit.

Students at Kopila Valley School participate in gardening, composting, and permaculture training throughout the course of their education. The Kopila Valley students who created the project say, “We hope our project inspires students, community members, other schools, and the local government to work together to reduce or eliminate all organic waste that goes to landfills, and to reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers and imported vegetables.”

The students and educators who attended Sustainability Week had the opportunity to network with schools and organizational representatives from around the world, sharing passions to solve problems at the grassroots level through their sustainability initiatives. Students learned and shared about their schools, sustainability projects, and their cultures.

Sustainability Coordinator Sunita Bhandari said, “With the honor of being named a finalist, we feel even more inspired to continue our sustainability efforts every day. We put sustainability at the heart of everything we do, teaching it in the classroom and practicing it in our lives.”

What is the market offering of Kopila Valley?

Kopila Valley School (KVS) is a project of the BlinkNow Foundation. KVS is a non-profit school offering world-class, completely free schooling to marginalized students in the region, many of whom otherwise would not be able to attend school. Kopila Valley School offers the best education through an innovative place-based active learning program, a leading-edge, sustainable “green” school campus, and comprehensive, ongoing training of local teachers.

The BlinkNow Foundation provides an education and a loving, caring home for orphaned, impoverished and at-risk children. The BlinkNow Foundation also provides community outreach to reduce poverty, empower women, improve health, and encourage sustainability and social justice – it fulfills its mission by providing financial support and management oversight to the Kopila Valley Children’s Home and Kopila Valley School in Surkhet, Nepal.

Kopila Valley also runs a Health & Wellness program, Women’s Center, Home for At-Risk Students, Futures Career Readiness Program, and integrated Sustainability Program.