Counselling Services Department
About the publication
- Published: December 2016
- Series: --
- Type: NGO reviews
- Carried out by: Dr. Stephen Coulter
- Commissioned by: Digni / HimalPartner
- Country: Nepal
- Theme: Health
- Pages: 32
- Serial number: --
- ISBN: --
- ISSN: --
- Organization: Digni / HimalPartner
- Local partner: Higher Ground Community Development Nepal (HGCDN)
In 2010 Higher Ground established, a non-governmental organization (NGO), Higher Ground Community Development Nepal (HGCDN) as a Christian Nepali non-profit organization under the auspices of the Higher Ground Nepal (HGN) group of organizations. HGCDN works to promote awareness of human rights issues, gives training in health, parenting and life skills and provides counselling services to abuse, trafficking and trauma victims.
The businesses provide the women and young people with opportunities for a better life, but for some a job and an income are not sufficient for recovery from very traumatic experiences. Therefore, Higher Ground saw the need for a Counselling Department, which could provide care, counselling, therapy, and help to boost self-esteem.
This final evaluation has been commissioned by HimalPartner in line with their normal practice of monitoring and timely review of their funded projects. The evaluation includes consideration of the resignation of the project’s staff, effective from 31 December 2016 and options for the ‘fifth year’ which inevitably will be very different than originally envisioned.
This evaluation is based on: reading of project document and reports to the funder, interviews with key stakeholders in the Higher Ground Counselling Project, and feedback from a dissemination workshop for the stakeholders.
- The Higher Ground Counselling Department is currently staffed by 2 dedicated and increasingly well trained (in relevant disciplines) and experienced counsellors.
- The project objective has been met to the extent that women working in HG businesses have become more stable and are better able to manage their job, although the staff of the HG businesses has not been the primary users of the counselling service and the range of project’s activities has far exceeded this objective.
- The project goal has been met in that more and more people have been coming to HG Counselling department because of the growing positive reputations of the department through its direct counselling work and the trainings provided to local churches and other NGOs.
- The general context in Nepal is not an easy one in which to establish a ’professional’ counselling service. The lack of understanding of what ‘counselling’ is and the churches reluctance to pay viable rates for training have been challenging aspects in the development of the Higher Ground Counselling Department’s services.
- Due to the nature of the main clientele (poor young women who have suffered trafficking and/or sexual exploitation and church groups) it has not been possible to make much progress on supporting the counselling department through fees.
- There are only rather vague records of the work completed to date so it is not possible to easily to accurately determine how many sessions of what type (individual, couple, family, training etc.) involving how many people have been provided in each year.
- The Counselling department staff now feel that the future development of their service would be best served by becoming independent of the Higher Ground NGO.
- It is clear that the current counsellors are ready to operate with a broader remit and I support their decision to work independently. I recommend the social enterprise model to them.
- The counsellors need to develop an attractive brochure for their services and target INGOs and NGOS and other agencies that can pay a ‘going rate’ for trainings and counselling services received, in order to establish a client base that can sustain their needs.
- The counsellors should give time to developing a standardised and consistent recording system for their work so that they can monitor the various types of work in which they will be involved along with accompanying financial accounts. Incorporation of a psychometric measure of change for their counselling would be a bonus and put them in a lead position in Nepal.
- HGCDN and HimalPartner should consider how to maintain a service to the original target group for the project. There appear to be a number of options available. I understand that HGCDN would be open to an application for a loan (of between 2000-3000 USD) or be willing to pay for 50% of the costs of counselling for their clients.