2 Years with ACF

I finished my work in ACF after two years. I joined ACF for an integrated intervention for earthquake affected people in Nuwakot and Rasuwa districts. I was glad to be able to once again continue my career in a humanitarian sector after working few years in ICRC for the families of missing in an accompaniment/psychosocial support program. After seven months in Nuwakot Base, I moved to Kathmandu office as a roving programme manager to cover more districts like Saptari and Rautahat in addition to previous two districts.


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A mother and child in Rasuwa, where ACF was one of the main organizations in humanitarian response after earthquakes in 2015.

One of the best things that happened in ACF was that, in addition to my own sector of mental health and care practices, I had a chance to learn and work with colleagues from other sectors such as Nutrition, WASH, FSL and DRR. This enriched my whole experience and taught to take a look at programming from multi-sectorial perspectives to have more impact and long lasting results.

A field visit in a health post in Salme where trained ANM is helping a lactating mother.
A psychosocial worker meeting an adolescent mother to discuss about care practices.

It was nice to be part of two international conferences, one ACF organized in 2017 on Child’s Health and Development: Improving children’s lives, Maximizing their abilities and another one was International Mental Health Conference Nepal (IMHCN) 2018 as a executive member of the organizing committee in partnership with Government of Nepal, Ministry of Health, PHCRD.

Now, I have decided to take a break from humanitarian work for a while and am returning back to doing research.

Participation in International Mental Health Conference Nepal (2018) with colleagues.


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With ACF Colleagues, Care Practices Training in 2016. Thanks to all of them for their support & cooperation.

Some Key publications:

ACF_MHCP_in_Nepal.V7 (Overall ACF Programmes)

MHCP_Saptari_FINALIZED1 (Programme in Saptari)

Evaluation Report (2016-nepal-Nuwakot and Rasuwa Programme evaluation)

Other Institutional Resources:



New job in ACF

Last month I started a new job at Action Contre la Faim (ACF)- [Action against Hunger], as Mental Health and Care Practices Programme Manager covering Nuwakot and Rasuwa districts. ACF is working in those districts after the earthquakes and has remained one of the most active organizations for humanitarian response following the disaster last year.  Through its nutrition and mental health & care practices  programmes, ACF prevents, diagnoses and treats acute malnutrition in those most at risk, including young children and pregnant or breast-feeding/lactating women by integrating  nutrition and mental health aspects, emphasizing on strong mother-child bonding, increasing community sensitization about care practices for child development, and building capacity of staff of health facilities & teachers of schools of Nepal government in collaboration with District Health Office and District Education Office and reaching out to the community through local NGO partners.

img_4809Just got started, excited for this new adventure…

4 years 4 months


Finally, after 4 years 4 months, the time has come for me to close this circle and move on for the new one. I am very content to have my work successfully completed and I am looking forward for my new mission from next month.

Even before I joined ICRC, I was aware about the issue of disappearance in Nepal and the psychosocial aspects related to the families of the missing. In 2009, I had worked in a research project related to Missing persons and their families in Surkhet and I wrote about it on the occasion of Day of the Disappeared in 2010.

In 2012, when I joined ICRC, the pilot phase was coming to closure, and the first and second expansions were already rolling on. I worked for the first expansion districts covering three districts of Kathmandu Valley.


At the same time, we were also preparing for the launch of third expansion in 10 districts, I was engaged in assessment and the implementation of program in Dhading and Nuwakot in partnership with Nepal Red Cross Society district chapters.


In 2014, we finally rolled out the final/fourth expansion of the program, I was managing the program in Kavre, Sindhupalchwok and Ramechhap. I wrote about my experience after two years here.


After earthquakes in 2015, our team were engaged for psychological first aid response in affected districts both by training Red Cross Volunteers as well as providing services in the community.


In 2015, I was supported for my participation in 11th Mental Health in Complex Emergencies (MHCE) course, organized by Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA), Fordham University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Thanks to ICRC for that support.

Finally, this year, we have completed the program successfully and produced the dissemination materials. And at the last moment, we also had an opportunity to provide an brief orientation on psychosocial support for the staff of Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons of Nepal and we are hopeful they will consider the importance of psychosocial aspects while helping the families of the missing in their future work.

I would like to dedicate this photo book to my ICRC colleagues and working team (NRCS district focal persons, accompaniers, and program supervisors): ICRC-photo-memoirs.compressed and also would like to thank them all for their support and cooperation.


Dunant and Freud


Henry Dunant, the father of Red Cross movement and Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis are two great personalities who have inspired millions of people around the world. Unlike what the title of this post might look like, this is not the biographies or comparisons of two renowned persons in their respective fields of humanitarian action and human psychology, it is about my personal reflection regarding my work in ICRC and prior experience as a student of psychology. I picked it up as this title often came in my mind whenever I visited National Red Cross Society offices around the country which again reminded me of taking up psychology textbooks to see the pictures of Freud as a student.


Today I have completed the 2 years of service in ICRC Nepal as a field officer for Hateymalo program, comprehensive psychosocial support for the families of Missing in Nepal. It has been quite some time, time has gone so fast, everyday felt similar and just the routine at times but now when I look back I notice some many changes in my own life and of others with whom and for whom I have worked. I feel proud that the period of hard work has been worthy though I have mixed emotions regarding certain things.

As a student of psychology, I have worked and collaborated with a number of researchers from international universities since 2006. It was back in 2012, I was on a research trip to Taplejung to help a student of Conflict and Human Rights from Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Due to several reasons, the research project had to be dropped and we had to return back from the field. Upon returning, he decided to do his thesis on the different topic and then, we took our separate ways forward. Just after that, I received a message from Jamuna Maharjan Shrestha di (senior Nepali counselor) informing me about the vacancy in the ICRC and encouraged me to apply for it. I looked over the advertisement and I had an ‘aha’ feeling and thought I should definitely give it a try as it was vacancy for the comprehensive psychosocial program supporting the families of missing in Nepal. In 2009, I had worked with another Dutch student from Queen Margaret University, UK on the research topic ‘Psychosocial challenges and Coping Mechanisms of Families of the Disappeared in Surkhet, Nepal’. We had worked in Surkhet district for over three weeks doing field work, visiting families and exploring about their psychosocial wellbeing. They clearly were in need of psychosocial support and I wished so much that I could help them. I had hoped that some kind of intervention would result for the families from the research, and I felt bad as I knew it would not happen overnight as it takes quite some time to transform research into program. That is how I felt motivated to apply for work in ICRC. I had already been working in other thematic areas of political violence like use of child soldiers and other aspects of armed conflict in Nepal. I then requested my senior collaborator and mentor Brandon Kohrt for the recommendation letter. It proved to be the stepping stone in the process. I would like to thank Jamuna didi and Brandon for their support once again at this moment. The rest is the history now. As I look back I see the connecting dots and forming the line of my career. Coming back from Taplejung proved to be good coincidence. Had I been there for two months as we had planned initially, it would have been completely different story now and I surely would not have been writing this. You might have been reading completely different post right now which would be fascinating to imagine!


Two years in a program, I have worked through different phases with different people. I am glad to see the people with whom I have worked grow, become skilled and competent over time. That gives a sense of satisfaction and I have always emphasized that we are on the journey of learning and providing service to the families at the same time. But it has not been all rosy along the way; I have encountered a number of thorns and obstacles too which have taught important lessons. I have experienced competition, deceit, mistrust and lack of cooperation at times while enjoying friendship, sharing of knowledge, cooperation most of the times. I am also very happy to share that ICRC has started Hateymalo program in Surkhet district as well since 2013 for the families of missing.

Let me go back to being the student of psychology now that is how Freud comes in for this post. He is the rock star in field of psychology even today. He is one of the greatest psychologists in the history of psychology. In the survey that I had conducted in 2009 among university and college students, he topped the list of favorite psychologists. He is an inspiration to many but we know he focused too much upon the negativity and problems of human psychology. Now, after finishing my MA in psychology, I firmly believe we need to balance that perspective and we have to take side by side the study of psychological well-being too (which is taking place but is often overshadowed by focus upon problems). The teachings of Buddha, mindfulness and many scientific studies being undertaken (popular as positive psychology) are useful for to learn about positive aspects of human well-being and mental health.


My Interest in Psychology

What got you interested in psychology??

academicAs I meet and interact with new people, one of the most asked question is ‘ what got you interested in psychology?’ I have answered it many times and now thought about posting it in my blog too.

As far as I can remember, it was during my school days that I came across few books that drew my attention towards Psychology. I was reading about powers of human mind, about sub-conscious mind, ESP (extra sensory perceptions), telepathy and a lot about parapsychology. It felt so wonderful and fascinating!! It made me ponder about HUMAN POTENTIAL by virtue of having this mind which enable us to accomplish a lot what sounds like unbelievable feats. So, I trace back my interests in Psychology to fascination with human mind and potential.

As I continued reading books, I had a lot of questions about human behavior. Fortunately, towards the end of my school, I had realized that if I wanted to find answers to the questions I had about human mind then, Psychology was the subject for me. There after, I started studying it formally in college and university (started to get bit dull and boring; the pressure to learn for exams is not that exciting we all know) and a lot more by myself (in order to keep the learning spirit alive). Now, it has been about a decade that I started my study of Psychology. As I look back, times have changed and the areas of interest have also changed with time. However, the theme has remained the same, the core of my interest: Human potential and psychological well-being.

Human potential to act good, be good, be creative, be intrinsically motivated about something, be happy and moreover, and to live a good & meaningful life rather than simply unbelievable feats. That is what I am more passionate about now. Psychology is a discipline that is fascinating and also helpful for oneself and others. It is very rewarding when it helps ourselves and also enable us to help others in need as this could lead to living a life out to fullest potential we can reach.

So, it’s your turn now to share if you are willing: What got you interested in psychology??