In October Code for Nepal organized the “Digitizing Janakpur Workshop” in collaboration with Appan TV, Internet Market Today, SotryCycle and other stakeholders to digitize Janakpur using photos and videos so, that we can attract more tourist supporting the Nepal Government “Visit Nepal 2020” initiative and also launch Visit Janakpur (https://www.visitjanakpur.com) project in partnership with Nepal Tourism Board,  Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Environment of Province 2 and Janakpurdham Sub-Metropolitan City in Nepal. Here is the brief overview of what happened in the two and half days workshop.

Day 1

The workshop was hands on. It included many field visits. Hence we selected only 25 participants out of which 13 were young women. All of them checked-in and Nikesh Balami, Project Manager of Code for Nepal gave the name tag to everyone so it would be easier to remember their name during the time of the workshop. Ravi Nepal, Founder of Code of Nepal, welcomed the workshop participants and share about the aim of organizing the event, the kind of opportunities and the impact which can be made to create more jobs and attract more tourist in Janakpur.

Saurav Dhakal from StoryCycle shared a brief overview of what participants will be doing for the 2 and half days. Navin from Appan TV talks briefly about civic responsibility to promote local tourism, where he encouraged the youths to get involved in the community activities.

Sudhan Subedi from Nepal Tourism Board talked about digital tourism and the Visit Nepal 2020 initiative. He was joined by Roshan Ghimire form Code for Nepal, where he highlighted the importance of digitizing Janakpur and the type of impact the workshop can make by promoting the local collaboration and resource sharing.

The workshop was made special by the presence of Mr. Lal Kishor Sah, Mayor of Janakpurdham Sub Municipality. He joined the team to launch the Visit Janakpur project and also assured the long-term support from the Municipality side for its promotion. The participants were excited to hear about the work done by the Municipality to promote the tourism sector, preserve historic places and ongoing renovation in Janakpur Dham.

Soon Survar Dhakal started the session on “Mapping your Story“, where he first asked participant introduce his/her partner with the help of paper maps which were provided to them. They were asked to locate the location of the hometown, school, favorite hangout place of their partners. He also talked about using digital tools to map the stories so that it will make an impact and highlighted the importance of hazard mapping to save lives during the time of natural disasters like floods and earthquake. He also shared some examples of using the mapping for the development and promotion of places.

He was joined by Prijun Koirala, Web Developer of StoryCycle, where they talked about making the proper use of available equipment and applications like using Google Street View to capture 360 photos, Snapseed to edit photos from the mobile, which will help to make the stories attractive and beautiful.

The basic concept of Mobile Photography was shared by the Roshan Ghimire in a separate session, where he shared some tips and tricks to take good quality photos using smartphones. He discussed on focusing on the stories and photo angle, rather than clicking randomly for the fun. After the session on Mobile Photography, Sudhan Subedi joined the participants to talk about gathering accurate information, which can help tourists or grow sales of the existing business. He talked about discouraging incomplete or meaningless information and asked participants to publish the photos and stories they collected as a blog so that visitor will find a complete information online.

Amita Sharma, Teach of Nepal Fellow, led the discussion on “Digital Content Ethics” in the afternoon. She shared about Dos and Don’t of publishing and told participants to be very careful while publishing any kinds of content on the internet.

After all the session, participants were divided into a smaller group for a field visit to map Janakpur using photos and videos. Four group were made and briefed on how to collect the map coordinates and photos of the important places and were sent for the trial mapping session, accompanied by members of Code for Nepal and StoryCycle.

Day 2

On the second day, participants traveled parts of Janakpur to collect stories. Early morning in around 8 AM everyone gathered at the Monastic School and Ravi conducted a short recap session, where he asked the participant to share his/her first day experiences. Many of them requested to organize similar kinds of workshop and events frequently on a timely basis.

After the recap session and tea, Saurav divided the participants into 4 groups by making few changes in the day first group for the field mapping and assigned them with a task to cover and complete. All the four teams were accompanied by members of Code for Nepal and StoryCycle. Participants spent more than 3 hours in the field, collecting map coordinates, photos, and videos. Once they returned to the workshop venue, they were taught how to upload the collected photos and coordinates on Google Maps. The basic of Google Local Guide platform was also shared to encourage participants to continue their contribution after the workshop.

Then participants took some rest over lunch. Soon Mr. Sumit Shekhar Shah, a Digital Photography enthusiast, who has been working in Janakpur for the grassroots awareness joined the participants to talk about how they can promote the history of Janakpur by highlighting the culture, temples, foods etc. He told participants to reach out to him anytime for help.

Participants went to the field again. This time they were asked to focus on 360 photos and video stories. They identified the stories like the making of the Janakpur Lassi, Yummy Samosa, Mithal Arts etc. These videos will be published soon by StoryCycle.

Day 3

Like Day 2, participants gathered in the venue early in the morning and Ravi conducted the short review session. After the review, the team was dispatched again for the field mapping of parts of Janakpurdham.

At the end to the three and half days workshop, we built 542 map points, 55 plus 360-degree imageries and 12 video stories.

Mr. Ram Naresh Ray form Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Environment of Province 2 joined us. In his remarks, he congratulated all the participants and organizers for the hard work and said that the government is working to advance the tourism sector in Province 2.

Data, photos and videos collected from the workshop are still being processed. Some of them have been published http://visitjanakpur.com/

#VisitJanakpur #VisitNepal2020 #Code4Nepal