Empowering Science Through Citizen Participation: Barsha Gautam’s Inspiring Journey with S4W-Nepal

Citizen science offers the power of science to everyone, and the power of everyone to science.” -J. Shirk

Imagine a network of over 700 citizen scientists working together to bridge the water data gaps in Nepal. This ambitious effort by S4W-Nepal is brought to life through the unique and inspiring journeys of its citizen scientists. At the heart of this endeavor is the story of Ms. Barsha Gautam, a dedicated citizen scientist whose journey with S4W-Nepal exemplifies the transformative impact of citizen participation in scientific research.

Ms. Barsha Gautam is a resident of  Suryabinayak, Bhaktapur. Barsha is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Environmental Science at Khwopa College, Bhaktapur, and is working as an Environment Analyst at Himalayan Research Forum Nepal, Baneshwor, Kathmandu. Besides this, she is also an enthusiastic reader and nature explorer.

Ms. Barsha Gautam, S4W Rainfall Citizen Scientist

She has been associated with S4W-Nepal as a rainfall citizen scientist since 2021 and has been actively participating in the Monsoon Expedition ever since. Barsha discovered S4W-Nepal through her college seniors and decided to gain more information through our social media handles. She was fascinated by the idea of using smartphones and soda-bottle rain gauges to support monitoring, research, and sustainable water resource management. She describes her experience as fulfilling and notes that it has deepened her understanding of environmental monitoring and data collection. Despite her busy schedule, which includes college, work, studies, and various projects, knowing that her small contribution supports sustainable water resource management and research motivates her. Her family also understands the importance of environmental conservation and encourages her to follow her passion.

Ms. Barsha Gautam recording rainfall data using S4W-Nepal’s rain gauge and ODK- Collect application

Barsha recognizes that S4W-Nepal’s work encompasses more than just collecting rainfall data; it extends to monitoring groundwater, streamflow, and sediment concentration. As an environmental science student, she understands the complexities of groundwater management compared to surface water management. Intrigued by the potential for improving management practices through quality and level monitoring, she is eager to contribute to groundwater monitoring efforts in her community. Barsha is committed to continuing her journey with S4W-Nepal and encourages others, especially those interested in water-related studies, to join as Citizen Scientists.

Ms. Barsha Gautam (on the right) with fellow citizen scientists during the Citizen Scientists Celebration 2024

Looking ahead, she hopes for continued support and guidance from S4W-Nepal in her research initiative too. Furthermore, she suggested that S4W-Nepal should encourage young researchers often by conducting sessions and sharing resources. Lastly, she believes being a part of S4W-Nepal has enriched her experience, and she eagerly anticipates further learning and opportunities to contribute.

We congratulate her on her recent achievement of receiving the Chandra Gurung Memorial Fellowship 2023 from WWF Nepal! This achievement reaffirms her commitment to conservation and inspires her to contribute even more effectively in this field. We wish her continued success in her vision of making significant contributions to environmental conservation and sustainable practices.

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