HITT Initiative in Nepal

The SNV Netherlands Development Organisation has been involved in efforts to promote development in Nepal since 1980, and has been a leader in pro-poor tourism development from the outset. Building on the success of initiatives such as The Great Himalaya Trail Programme, the SNV’s High Impact Tourism Training programme (HITT) seeks to bring about market-led vocational trading in two sectors within the tourism industry: hospitality and trekking.

Initial groundwork revealed seven occupations in four sectors that were highly demanded by the private sector, and would directly affect the target groups of the programme. These included:

– Hospitality sector: assistant cook, waiter, and housekeeping

– Trekking sector: trekking guides, and homestay/lodge operators

– Travel and tours sector: online marketing staff

– Transportation sector: rickshaw pullers

After considerations taking into account the existence of beneficiaries, the potential for real improvement, and the resources available to the team, the decision was taken to focus the initiative on appealing to the five occupations that make up the first two sectors.

Achieving tangible results in line with the programme’s aims – to enable informal workers to capitalise on tourism opportunities through providing relevant, market-oriented vocational training and stronger links to the industry – is made possible through cooperation with a variety of key stakeholders.

Reception and Outcomes

So far, HITT has fostered successful and productive partnerships that have helped to achieve our aims. The reception has been positive across all levels, from the international organisations worked with, such as the UIAA, to the beneficiaries receiving vocational training that will allow them to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the tourism industry. Below are some opinions expressed by different people impacted by the work of HITT:

Zimba Zabnu Sherpa, President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, declared, ‘Collaboration with HITT will definitely serve to enhance the services of the trekking industry’.

Ratna, a trekking guide who participated in the Training of Trainers course for Mountain Leaders last January, said, ‘We learnt that one can learn while having fun. We learnt about trekking safety, first aid, rope techniques, navigation, leadership… and now I feel ready to teach this’.

HITT Nepal has enjoyed success through carefully designing and implementing the process that will bring our aims to completion. From the inception of the programme, both private and government stakeholders were involved and consulted with, and the mutual benefit of their involvement was clearly communicated. Plenty of time was allowed for the development of training material, integrating feedback from a trial run into the final product. During this time, there was close communication between the trainers and the content writers.

Partners

The section below summarises the partners we work with. It is split into our two focus-fields: hospitality, and trekking.

Hospitality:

Training Institute for Technical Instruction (TITI)

TITI aims to improve the quality of technical and vocational training in Nepal; their involvement was prominent in the inception phase, as they assisted the production of the analysis report.

Council of Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT)

Established in 1989, CTEVT is a national autonomous organisation that aims to produce technically skilled human resources to contribute to Nepal’s economy. HITT Nepal has been able to collaborate closely with CTEVT over the curricula for 390 hour courses for the occupation of Assistant Cook, Room Attendant and Waiter. Young and energetic officers were given the opportunity to be involved in the curriculum development process.

Employment Fund Secretariat (EFS)

With the aim of providing young unemployed men and women with relevant training for work in the private sector, EFS has proved a valuable partner in the implementation of 390 hour courses in the occupations of Assistant Cook, Room Attendant and Waiter, aiming to train 1000 beneficiaries by the end of 2013. Furthermore, EFS intends to use HITT training materials in their own course in the far-west of Nepal.

Fast-food Association of Nepal (Fast-fan)

Set up in 2005, now with 93 members, Fast-fan endeavours to increase the capacity of its members, as well as encouraging the production of quality products and services. Funded mainly by membership fees and donations, Fast-fan operates a cooperative saving and credit facility for its members. HITT Nepal is working with Fast-fan to implement training in ‘Service Excellence and Hygiene’ which will involve the training of 200 beneficiaries through on-the-ground experience in member restaurants. Hygiene standards will be submitted to the government for endorsement and accreditation.

Hospitality Solutions (HS)

Hospitality Solutions is a private consultancy company providing services used by HITT. HS experts are well connected and have proven to be effective in drafting training materials for the Homestay and Small Lodge Operating occupation, Waiter and Room Attendants in Nepalese Context, Assistant Cook, and Service Excellence and Hygiene. It is also directly involved in the implementation of Service Excellence and Hygiene and Homestay and Small Lodge Operating training.

Trekking:

Himalayan Academy of Tourism Training (HATT)

HATT, not to be confused with HITT, is the training wing of a trekking and travel company in Nepal. It has had an integral role in the training process, from the writing of curriculum materials, to the training of trainers, to the selection and training of beneficiaries in the Manaslu area.

Empowering Women of Nepal (EWN)

Empowering Women of Nepal is a non-profit organisation established in 1999 to assist Nepali women through providing education and basic rights, developing confidence and leadership skills, and preparing these women for work in trekking and tourism-related professions. During the inception phase of the programme (January-December 2011), EWN contributed significantly to the production of the Inception Phase Analysis Report, which helped to determine the specific occupations that the programme would focus on. More recently, EWN has conducted training for Homestay and Rural Lodge Operators, as well as Mountain Leaders.

Great Himalaya Trail Development Project (GHTDP)

Another project of SNV Nepal, funded by DFID, the GHTDP has worked with HITT to fund the publishing of training materials for the Homestay and Small Lodge Operators scheme. Furthermore, it has been directly involved in training, and aims to train 270 beneficiaries by June 2013.

Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA)

Established in 1983, this organisation seeks to promote and regulate mountaineering in Nepal, and has a well established and internationally recognised programme for training mountain guides. HITT seeks to replicate this success for trekking guides, with the NMA scheduled to train 50 independent guides according to the HITT learning approach model.

Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN)

HITT has worked with this umbrella organisation of trekking companies to train 45 in-company trainers in the HITT learning approach. These trainers will in turn provide basic mountain leadership training to their informal/seasonal staff, including guides, porters and sirdars (Sherpa group leaders).

Petzl Foundation

The Petzl Foundation has been training mountain leaders in Nepal since 2005, providing resources, trainers and equipment, and working in collaboration with the Nepal Mountaineering Association. The plan is to merge the Petzl and HITT mountain leader training programmes to form a single training scheme for Mountain Leaders, accredited by the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation. In doing so, resources (financial, human, and knowledge), and the best of both programmes will be taken. The HITT learning approach will be used during the training, forming the content of the trainer’s manual designed for the course. The outcome will be professionally trained staff, increased employability and income for mountain leaders, and increased safety for the trekking sector.

International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA)

Though HITT has no formal partnership with the UIAA, we have sought to meet the UIAA standards with the mountain leader training courses, in order to gain international recognition for these. To this end, a UIAA representative monitored the training of beneficiaries in January 2013, which led to an interest from the UIAA in using HITT material for their trainers in their 96 other member countries.