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Sustainable Development Action Lab, Nepal Study Center
Using Interdisciplinary Problem Solving Tools from
Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities

Women Community
Art Therapy

Sustainable Development Action Lab Project Example

Health and Environmental Challenges in Urban Nepal
(Siddharthanagar Municipalty, Western Nepal)
Citizen Science Approach to Monitoring of Water quality, Air quality, and Urban Eco-systems
Danda Riparian  Range Photos









Fall 2017

Econ 395/595: Problem-based Learning: Health & Environment in Urban Nepal
(Analytical Approach to Problem Solving)


Question: What is a Sustainable Development Action Lab (SDAL)?

It is a three-step interdisciplinary learning process that is being developed as pilot experiments
[Fall 2016: Econ 451/551; Spring 2017: Econ 409 & Fall 2017: Econ 395/595] , where we analyze, deliberate, and come up with solutions.

Analyze: Analyzing the real-world data from the ground.

Deliberate: Collaboratively work with other students (graduate and undergraduate) in an interdisciplinary fashion to offer practical solutions:
sustainable technologies, awareness curricular interventions, citizen science methods, riparian habitat conservation designs or evidence-based public policy prescriptions.

Implement: If interested, help the student club/group in their effort to implement some of the solutions on the ground in collaboration with our international partners. Or join the Himalayan Study Abroad Program and travel to Nepal to implement it.

For SDAL Concept Brochure, Click heere


ECON 395/595 Course Flyer Click here
ECON 395/595 Course Syllabus Click here


STEM Bridge Initiative: Creating Collaborative Outreach across Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities

As a part of interdisciplinary approach to research, learning, and problem solving, SDAL is conducting four-part research workshop for the Fall 2017. These workshops aim to promote the concept of “problem-driven research, research driven solutions” to
aspiring undergraduate researchers. Doctoral Candidates from Department of Economics and faculty members from other departments will share their research motivation, and analytical techniques in various themes of natural and social sciences.

Graduate Mentoring Group: Rahman, Mandy, Aakrit, Soumi, Samrat, Adnan, & Niraj
Senior Undergraduate Mentors: DeShawn, Aaron, and Jesus

Monthly Workshop Schedule: Click here

Photos of Fall 2017 Sustainable Development Lab Group, Speakers, Workshop Presentations

SustainableLabFall2017GroupPhoto ClassPresentaion  
SpeakerGlobalOffice GradSpeaker  

Healthy Environment, Healthy Living: Help UNM Students Make a Lasting Difference in Nepal
by YOGDAN Student Volunteer Group

[Still under development.]
We, a group of University of New Mexico students (YOGDAN –Giving, a volunteer student group), have a unique opportunity to study abroad [ECON 395/595] and make a lasting impact for the people of Nepal. During the course, our goal is to extend the reach of successful New Mexican initiatives to develop and implement a citizen science program in Nepal to encourage Healthy Environment, Healthy Living. The city of Siddharthanagar, located in southern Nepal, serves as an important trading port with India and is the gateway to the old-world heritage site of Lumbini. The Danda River flows along Siddharthanagar and is an integral part of the city. Recent studies, however, have found the Danda River to contain number contaminants, from household and industrial sources, leading to detrimental health and biological impacts. Local industries have also reduced the air quality raising further concerns. Tentative appeal draft. Click here for detail.


A Winter-break UNM's Global Office Page: Himalayan Study Abroad Program
Program Brochure: Click here
Program Itenerary: Click here
Program Syllabus: Click here
Program Itenerary Map: click here

Summary Outline of the Two Main Objectives of the Study Abroad Program :
Objective A. Launching of a pilot Citizen Science Environmental Monitoring Program in urban town of Siddharthanagar, Nepal as a part of the community-engaged service and research learning:
1. Water quality monitoring (main focus, along the line of the New Mexico's BEMP project),
2. Air quality monitoring (trial run), and
3. Climate monitoring (rainfall, temperature, wind speed etc.)
4. Bio-diversity tracking: Setting the groundwork for an urban wildlife refuge concept by the Danda River (pilot exploration, along the line of Valle del Oro)
Objective B. Sustainable Development Tour of the surrounding hill communities. (Check the Program Itenerary)

The study abroad program is optional with a limited seating capacity. The program outline is tentative and still evolving. It is being developed in collaboration with our international local partner PNMF's
Lumbini Center for Sustainability (LCS). research platform.
Interested students should write to Professor Alok K. Bohara ( and/or the co-leader of the programn Michael Benjamin Goodwin (

A Visual Eco-adventure Tour Outline of the Himalayan Study Abroad Program:

Kathmandu capital city: Landing and departure and some sight seeing
Manakamana Hill: Cable car ride across the Trishuli Rive and up to a mountain top.
Siddharhanagar: Engage in citizen science pilot projects such as the long-term water and air quality monitoring; and scope out the future Urban Wildlife Refuge sites along the Danda River.
Lumbini and Kapilvastu: 650 BC World Heritage cultural sites visit (birthplace of Buddha).
Madhane Community Health Center: Explore sustainable development projects such as, health care and hygiene, organic farming experiments, and clean stove; Arubindo Ashram spiritual eco-adventure and bio-diversity tour and experience.
Tamghas Valley: Hill-top nature hike through singing forest.
Ridi: Kali Gandaki River valley and canyon trip.
Chitwan National Park: Elephant ride to observe rhinos and tigers, if lucky

Study Abroad Collaborator and the Citizen Science Project Platforms: A non-profit local organization PNMF, its college campus, and its international research platform LCS.


Hill Community

Undergraduate Research-related Resources

Crowdfunding Undergraduate Research: Click here
On-Campus Undergradute Research Funding Opportunities: UNM McNair Scholarships
Off-campus Undergraduate Research Funding Opportunities: NSF Research Experience for Undergraduate NSF-STEM

UNM STEM Programs: UNM STEM Programs and Activities
Council on Undergraduate Research: Click here

Service Learning Examples and Resources: EPA's resources UNM RSLP UNM LTER UNM Social Media Group
Citizen Science: Scientific American

Spring 2017

Econ 409: Groundwater Arsenic Hazard and Women’s Health in Two Villages in Nepal
Applied Econometrics
Instructor: Professor Alok K. Bohara; GA: Niraj Khatiwada

Original Arsenic Research Project Site Click here

Spring 2017 Undergraduate Research Highlights

Group 1: Awareness to Mitigation: The Impact of Public Awareness Initiatives on Water Filter Adoption
DeShawn Vaughan, Andrew McCants, and Wen Lee

Research Poster

Group 2: Arsenic Anticipation: A Perceived Problem and Preventive Solution
Nick Howard, Justin Richardson, and Yaowen Xu

Research Poster

Group 3: Arsenic Levels, Indoor Pollution, and Frequency of Hospital Visits in Nawalparasi and Rupandehi
Aaron Montano, Jesus Vazquez, and Samriti Jain

Research Poster

Group 4: Water Is Life but Leads to Arsenicosis: The Effect of Arsenic Found in Wells on Women’s Arsenicosis in Nepal
Maxwell Walla, Carrie Adair, and Jonathan Lee

Research Poster

Problem-driven research, research-driven solutions: Groundwater Arsenic and Women's Health

Econ 309 PhotoCeramicKanchanSono NawalparasiArsenicArea
Image Source: Ceramic, Kanchan, and Sono
FILTER SYSTEMS | WATER IS LIFE. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2017, from
Ngai, T., Dangol, B., Murcott, S., & Shrestha, R. R. (2006). Kanchan arsenic filter. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO), Kathmandu, Nepal. Retrieved from Schematic diagram of Sono filter. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2017, from

Fall 2016

Econ 451/551: Water Quality, Public Health, Sanitation, and Bio-diversity: Building a Long Term Citizen Science Program
Instructor: Dr. Alok K. Bohara
Graduate student mentors: Samrat Kunwar (TA), Soumi Roy Chowdhury, Siobhan Yilmaz, Muhammad Adnan Shahid, and Veeshan Rayamajhee (doctoral students)
Undergraduate students: Biraj Rawal (Engineering), Dianna Spilca (Biology & Political Science), May Souriyanyong (Economics), DeShawn Vaughan (Economics

Original Water Quality Research Project Site Click here

Fall 2016 Undergraduate Research Highlights
Final Research Report, Scientific Data Gathering Protocol: Click here

Problem-driven research, research-driven solutions: Waterborne Diseases, Public Awareness, Urban Eco-systems and Citizen Science

Econ 451/551 Photo WaterMonitering HandWashing Siddharthanagar
Image Source: Interventions Mopnitoring Water Quality and Hand Washing


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