Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Directors Walk

When we returned to Nepal in July 2014 after our year in the UK it was for me (Dan) to take on a new role in a restructured leadership of KISC. It was decided to divide the top of the leadership tree into 3 and have 3 Directors running KISC. Each is equal in authority, reports to the governing board and has responsibility for different aspects.

As School Director I am responsible for the K-13 school and all academics. Khim Kandel is EQUIP Director and he is responsible for EQUIP, our teacher training branch, as well as government relations and legal status. Thirdly, Angus Douglas is Development Director, responsible for the Development of KISC and all non-academic stuff such as the site and support staff. All 3 of us have been at KISC for a few years before we took on these roles, and this fairly unique leadership structure.

Directors Selfie
We meet weekly to deal with day-to-day issues of running KISC and we each have our own teams that we lead. I lead the Academic Leadership Team, including directly managing the Principals of the Primary and Secondary Schools. As well as running the day-to-day we are also responsible for vision and leadership of KISC. But, as I’m sure most of you reading this will realise, the day-to-day often overtakes the bigger discussions we would like to have.

Therefore, early on in our time working together as leaders we decided to instigate a ‘Directors Walk’. We try to do this four times a year and block out the whole morning in our calendars. We usually go for breakfast at a local cafĂ© and then drive out into the surrounding hills and walk. This being the Himalayas, there is plenty of choice of good walks with great scenery. Often on these walks we stop to pray together, and always end up in a Tea-shop where we finish off with either Nepali style Masala tea or a cold coke, depending on the season, before heading back to KISC for an afternoon in the office.

Walking through the hills
As we walk we discuss the bigger ideas; the purpose and direction of KISC as an organisation, the more complex issues we want to tackle, or the new plans for something that in a regular meeting there often isn’t time to get into. Last week we headed out to the new site for the school and walked around the site discussing plans and then headed off into the valley adjacent to the school excited by the soon to be surroundings of KISC: hills, footpaths and streams rather than main roads and overcrowded developments.

These walks have been one of my favourite things about the role the past 2 and a half years, and have often been the source of some of our best ideas, or most creative solutions to problems. I would highly recommend them to others who work in teams responsible for leading, or developing vision and creative ideas. Try it and you might find it’s a good idea, although I doubt you’ll beat our scenery.  

Tuesday, 22 November 2016


Penalty Shootout underway
Last weekend I was invited to be a guest at the Ichtus Schools football competition. The Icthus schools are a group of Nepali schools in Kathmandu area that are of a similar ethos to KISC.

If you know me at all then you’ll know being invited to watch football is about the easiest thing in the word for me to say yes too. I seem to have passed on my love of football to my son as well, and so he was keen to join me for the afternoon.

Goal Mouth Action
The competition was taking place at the National Stadium, Nepal’s Wembley, although the resemblance is hard to spot. I was invited along for Sunday afternoon to watch the finals and help present trophies. The competition was a 2 day event and about half a dozen schools took part. We got to see the girls final, followed by the junior and then senior boys final.

All the teams were loudly supported by probably a hundred members of their respective schools complete with drums, flags and pitch invasions at the final whistle of each match. The most popular cry was “Goal Hanyo” literally translated – “Hit the Goal”

Lots of trophies
One particularly sporty school, decked out in their orange strip, made it into all 3 finals and although they lost the girls final on a penalty shootout, they were convincing winners in both boys finals. After the final there was the usual Nepali “Karyakram” (Program) which included a traditional folk dance, a few speeches and of course lots of medal and trophy presentations.

It was the first time I’d been to the national stadium for a few years, which is still under repairs from earthquake damage. They are in the process of putting a roof on the uncovered stands which you might be able to see part of in the photos.

When we signed up to come to Nepal, presenting winners medals in the National Stadium wasn’t on the expected things to do list, but here you go. You never quite know what you’ll end up doing I guess!
Fancy a medal?