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Green Revolution through click of a mouse
How a environment scientist uses the Internet to help environment
Interview With Nepalnet

Vibek Raj Maurya, the coordinator, programmer and web designer of EnvironmentNEPAL shares us the story of one of the first environmental portal of Nepal.

EnvironmentNEPAL started as a closed room project in late 2000. At those days, the team envisaged to develop a portal that would exclusively deal with environmental stories from Nepal. Mr. Maurya did the programming part, and the others complied the stories and material for the site. Later Clean Energy Nepal helped in promoting the site. The site was officially launched in June, 2002. Now, they have expanded their work besides website and working as an independent organization, focusing on various environment fields.

During last month I had chance to interview him. In the interview, he talked about his experience with EnvironmentNEPAL. Please email any comments at

Q. How did the idea of the EnvironmentNEPAL started?

Vibek Raj Maurya:

Soon I graduated from Kathmandu University back in 1999, I joined Nepal Network (Satyam Online Nepal) where I basically worked with web designing and programming. As I came from environment science background, I was kind of hunted with the fact that I was not working for this field. My friends would cajole me pointing out I was lucky to pursue my career in IT, but I really wanted to get back to environment.

It was in mid 2000, when I proposed Anil K Raut, with whom I had done numerous activities during my college days, about idea of maintaining an environmental portal, where we would achieve news and articles, instantly he agreed to implement the idea. Then we started working on it, in November 2000, we launched the first version of EnvironmentNEPAL. The site was known to limited friends of ours who would provide us feedback and guide us to make it make more managed. I am grateful to all my friends whom we pushed hard to go through the site to provide us with new insights. After this initial test, we had to expand our team, so we summed up with my friends from Kathmandu University - Sudhir Bajimaya, Janak Pathak and Prashanna Man Pradhan in late 2000. We started compiling the resources and data more with much intense interest and spirit. We were stable and running smooth since mid 2000. Later we were again joined by Shrada Upadhyay, Shristi Rajbhandari and Ganesh Ghimire.

In June 2002, Bhushan Tuladhar and Clean Energy Nepal (CEN), Kathmandu based NGO, helped in promoting the website. CEN even provided us with financial support to incur the cost of web space for a year. On the eve of World Environment Day 2001 (June 4, 2001), we were officially launched. Now we are independent organization located at Patan Dhoka we have extended our fields beyond maintaining website - we work on various environmental field incorporation with different organizations.

Q .One year after website's launch, what challenges are you and your group facing to maintain and further develop the website? How are you dealing with those challenges?


Well, organization as our which runs with the spirit of volunteerism does have challenges and hurdles in every next activities. At the beginning, we had to convince ourselves that we are striding with some purpose which would ultimately be shared in the society. Since the project initiation we have been facing financial crisis. We had lobbied with potential institutions for the partial funds but we were made disappointed. Yet, the work was on. Specifically, talking about our website, due to technical and financial limitation we may not have attained the goal that we had dreamt, but still we believe that there is always a room for improvement.

As I noted earlier that we have outgrown ourselves beyond maintaining a website. We now work on various environmental fields. Perhaps it has minimized the monetary constrains that we used to have earlier.

Q. Are there any plans for major future changes to the website?


We had envisaged EnvironmentNEPAL's website to be massive portal under which you get nearly all the information on Nepal's environmental domains. We are still aspiring for that.

In fact, we need add-ons on our existing architecture. The next change would be a database of wildlife, at first we would post the profile of birds found in Nepal, subsequently we would add other wildlife then.

We are looking for potentiality to post audio and video programs telecasted in radio and TV for live streaming. With the development of Nepali Unicode system, we are now inspired to maintain a Nepali section of our site too, so that who can just read Nepali could enjoy going through our site.

These are potential changes that are to amend in near future.

Q. Beside the website, has your group done any other kind of outreach program?


To say it bluntly we haven't been out yet. However, last year in association with CEN we conducted "Eco-career workshop" to help fresh gradates to pursue better career in environment science. Besides, we are conducting a couple of research which deals with water right issues and environmentalism in Nepal. Well, we have been participating in the programs like World Environment Day we still need to penetrate into the society much deeper.

Q. Any suggestions you want to give to other special interest groups like yours on the pros and cons of creating and maintaining a website?


I think I haven't yet traveled the stretch to suggest people on pros and cons. I have seen many encouraging sites with a special interest. Yet there is lot more to be done. I am sure more efforts would be put to publish contemporary issues from Nepal in the days to come.

However, one should bear in mind that if one is working for a social cause then he/she shouldn't aspire for instant achievement. It definitely takes time for your efforts to get recognized. One should realize at the initial stage, it's the spirit of volunteerism which drives.

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