Rato Bangala Foundation seeks to ensure the right of all Nepali children to quality education. Since its inception in 2002, RBF has worked mainly as a training institute providing different types of training programmes to primary and some secondary school teachers. Working closely with the Bank Street College of Education in New York, and Kathmandu University in Nepal, the Foundation runs an in-service Primary Teacher Training Programme.
The RBF approach emphasizes the use of simple, low-cost teaching aids using largely local, indigenous materials. Participatory group learning exercises are emphasized by reorganizing classroom setting and furniture in such a way that no child is neglected, and all children help each other and learn from each other, with the teacher acting as a facilitator and guide.
The goal of RBF is to transform the large network of existing public schools that function poorly now into more child-centred, gender-sensitive, community-owned schools which provide quality basic education to children – especially girls - of ordinary families.
The strength of RBF's activities is that it works in partnership with the Government, both at the central and local levels, thus ensuring continuity, sustainability and ownership of the achievement by the country's education authorities. Parental involvement is actively encouraged, which further enhances the local community's ownership of the project.
Over the years, RBF has worked closely with the Nepal government's Ministry of Education, UNICEF, World Vision, Save the Children and German Nepalese Help Association to develop and apply this methodology successfully in nearly 600 schools in 22 districts of Nepal, training over 2200 teachers, orienting members of parent-teacher associations and school management committees, as well as community leaders. Encouraged by the positive feedback, RBF has taken on the challenge of introducing this methodology to all the public schools of a whole district- Dailekh - in a remote mountain region of Nepal.
To prove that this methodology is really replicable on a large scale in diverse settings throughout Nepal, RBF seeks to introduce the programme in a deprived area of another hilly district of Gulmi in western Nepal.
Established in 2002, the RBF is a Nepali not-for-profit, non-governmental organization registered with the Nepal government's Social Welfare Council.
The most direct stakeholders are the students whose overall (social and academic) well-being and development is the core aspect of RBF's work. In order to ensure that they get the quality of education they deserve, many factors have to be in place.
The school leaders must first create a vision of the school that is child friendly, caters to the developmental needs of each student, as well as the teachers and parents.
In order for schools to function well and best serve students, teachers must get equipped with the basic skills required for meaningful teaching. When teachers are empowered to create opportunities for parents to observe what and how the students are learning, parents become positive and supportive towards the school.
Parents who are welcome to schools learn to value their child's education, become more active in their child's learning, and ensure that their children do better in school and at home. As parents get the opportunity to share their skills and knowledge with others they feel good about themselves and, in the process, become active and constructive members of the community.
Thus, the whole school approach is a win-win situation where all the stake holders get more from it than the sum of its parts. When each member feels an inalienable part of the school, they feel empowered and willing to contribute to ensure further development of the school, thus ensuring a progressively better school for the student. This is, then, how community development is ensured.