DIPECHO Newsletter NEPAL
“There is no need to wait for the doubt that there are indeed a number of obstacles
necessary changes to cascade “from the to a mobilization process.
top down.” Spontaneous initiatives from
DIPECHO program has given significant emphasis
“the bottom up” are vital… Ben Wisner”.
on mobilizing community and empowerment
through building inherent capacities and life
How do we empowers the people to take those
saving skills. The critical community based
vital steps from the bottom? How can community
approach of DIPHECO is based on efficient
act as critical catalysts to build a suitable policy
environment? How can community enjoy
protection and rights at all levels, at all times? DIPECHO partners in Nepal work in varied, multi-
hazard environment with heterogeneous
Community mobilization is a process whereby a
communities. Over the years, they have adopted
group of people have transcended their
interesting and innovative approaches to mobilize
differences to meet on equal terms in order to
people, from promoting volunteerism to
facilitate a participatory decision-making process.
strengthening inclusive approach on DRR to
In other words it can be viewed as a process
building on the rights based approach. The
which begins a dialogue among members of the
DIPECHO V in Nepal is recently launched, but
community to determine who, what, and how
there is enough experience that can possibly be of
issues are decided, and also to provide an avenue
huge learning for others.
for everyone to participate in decisions that affect
their lives. Practitioners of DRR will agree without Happy Reading!!!
DIPECHO Newsletter from Nepal is the periodic thematic bulletin produced by DIPECHO V partners in Nepal to share
their experiences and field practices with a wider audience. The theme for the current bulletin is COMMUNITY
MOBILIZATION APPROACHES TO DISASTER PREPAREDNESS. This bulletin is produced with financial support from
European Commission Humanitarian Aid department under the DIPECHO Fifth Action Plan for South Asia.
PEOPLE”S RALLY, ISDR DAY 2009, Kathmandu
People were mobilized from across Nepal to demand
for a comprehensive DRR policy framework
Mobilizing people for efficient Early Warning on Floods
On-time, effective and efficient Early Warning System Management Committee in project VDCs. Roles and
(EWS) is the key component of disaster risk reduction to responsibilities, mandates and operational procedures of
save lives and community people must be an active part DMC and its members were discussed and decided DMC.
of EWS rather than just being beneficiaries of the system. The project team facilitated them on these processes.
Practical Action has been focusing on development of These committees are inclusive of the communities along
people centred EWS in vulnerable communities and with ethnic, religious, linguistic, caste and political lines.
creating community-wide awareness and response
Community members have received orientation on key
capacity in flood prone areas.
terminologies used in Disaster Management, with risk and
At the initial phase of the project, the project focused on vulnerability mapping being undertaken in all
capacity building of project staff which help on rapport communities during Participatory Vulnerability Analysis
building with communities, sensitizing target (PVA). This helped them to map out hazard, available
communities to deliver the project activities to achieve resources and activities plan to make risk free
the objective targeted by the project. Inception communities.
workshops were conducted in project Village
Development Committee. The objective of the project,
detail activities laid out in project proposal and
importance of EWS were shared with communities.
Documentary on Early Warning: Saving Lives was also
shown during such inception to make understand on
EWS, its important and process of establishment. One of
the major achievements during these events is the
institutionalization of the community mobilization
process through the formation of VDC level Disaster PVA in process… Banke
Helping communities to help themselves
Oxfam takes right-based approach (RBA) The later will form activity implementation committee
to its development, humanitarian and (AIC) and joint procurement committee (JPC) with the
advocacy works and place communities at the centre of representation of 2/3 members from the respective V/
their own recovery and development, promoting their CDMC. The partner’s staff (Project Officer/ Social
right to be heard. Hence, Oxfam GB Nepal gives emphasis Mobilizer) will be the member of the AIC and both the
on helping communities to help themselves. All the 28 Oxfam and Partner’s staff will participate in the JPC.
communities in its three DIPECHO districts (Nawalparasi, These committees will be encouraged to conducting
Sarlahi and Saptari) will be capacitated to identify public audit during and after completion of the project
potential hazard, degree of vulnerability, support to activity. Hence, the community will be involved in the
generate their own analysis of existing risk, identify and entire project cycle-right from identification of gaps to
plan for specific adaptation and risk reduction measures the implementation of activities. The community will take
through Participatory Capacity and Vulnerability Analysis ownership and they will take the responsibility of
(PCVA). Based on the PCVA findings community will be maintenance after the phase over of the project.
facilitated to develop DRR plan (Community Disaster
Preparedness and Response Plan, CDPRP). Few
communities have their CDPRP developed. Oxfam will
support community in executing their CDPRP by assisting
them to explore resources, advocate for policy influence
and awareness raising for behaviour change.
Community will be involved directly in implementing
activities to support their CDPRP. Oxfam GB Nepal and its
district partners will facilitate Village/Community Disaster
Management Committees (V/CDMCs) to lead the activity.
From Lab to Land - Building local leadership
Mission East and its partner KIRDARC have been newly requires having separate focus group discussion in order
engaged into DRR in Humla District under the recent to understand possible conflicting situation between
DIPECHO fifth phase. As new project, both for the target different groups. We planned to approach community
communities and for our organisations, our community from gender, cast, age and special needs perspective.
mobilisation approach is based on ME experience from Focus group discussion will help to have people
another country and shared experiences with other representation of their role and capacity in a disaster
DIPECHO partners and DRR stakeholders. Such theoretical management process which can be then exposed to the
approach will be adapted from our field practices and community as a whole during preparedness planning
lesson learnt during the course of the project. Our exercise. We still have to evaluate how time consuming
approach to efficiently mobilise the community is can be this approach but we believe it is essential to give
articulated around 4 main pillars as described hereafter: voice to different groups, especially those that are usually
the most vulnerable (women, low cast, youth, PWD) and
A preliminary participatory hazard and social mapping is
who may have difficulties to raise their concern in front of
conducted in each of our pre-selected communities. Such
the others during joined discussion.
risk assessment is conducted by professional geologists,
disaster risk expert and social workers in order to produce Cluster approach for the Village Disaster Preparedness
a risk mapping that will be not only serve further Planning. In mountainous area, apart from large scale
community DRR planning purpose but also be disasters such as drought and earthquake that affect a
acknowledge by local government and included in further whole region, disasters such as avalanche, rock fall,
disaster preparedness planning at district level. If the landslide, mud/debris flow affect one village and usually
primary goal is to cartography the risk level in order to leave neighbour villages intact. Nevertheless, villages
select target groups, a secondary and very important located in a shared watershed can be all concerned by an
objective is to engage community into a first level of upstream or downstream event that may further affect
reflection on their surrounding hazard, and their accessibility, quality of soil and water for the whole area.
capacities and vulnerability to cope with. In that Moreover, it is likely that the affected village will not
perspective, the exercise will already modify people’s receive any external assistance due to remote distance
attitude in front of disasters, from a belief that a disaster and only the neighbour villages can rapidly provide help.
is to be passively accepted as an act of God to a more pro- Linking neighbour villages into a unique mechanism of
active thinking that disaster can be managed in order to preparedness planning will increase solidarity between
reduce its impact. It is an essential step of our community villages and generate saving in the implementation of
mobilisation process. A successful participatory risk preparedness measure since shelter, equipment,
assessment will pave the way for the rest of the project. mitigation measures and resource persons can benefit
more than one village at a time. Identifying cluster is part
Creation of Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG)
of the risk assessment. Mobilising a group of villages
with representatives of different sectors of the village
under a unique preparedness mechanism may have
development such as education (teachers), agriculture
obstacles such as walking distance, tension between
and livestock (farmers), health and social (nurse, youth
communities for resources sharing, and ME is aware of
club, women, PWD), water (water user group),
the potential difficulties this approach may have, but we
environment and forestry (community forestry group),
believe this can bring major benefit to the concerned
security and emergency intervention (local Red Cross,
communities on the long run.
police forces), etc... As disaster is not a daily concern for
villagers and have seasonal peak, we will rather create an Participatory Risk Assessment in Vitagaun, Jaira VDC,
informal group constituted by representatives of all
development sectors in order to ensure mainstreaming of
DRR into development as an ultimate and relevant goal
for mountainous environment. Linking LDMG to VDC and
district level structure will complete the architecture of
the community mechanism and mobilisation for pre and
post disaster situation.
Separate focus group consultation but joined decision-
making process. Once the community DRR structure is
established, catching the concerns of the community
Fostering Gender and Social Inclusion through
The geophysical situation, land characteristics, multiplicity project will facilitate to share the priorities of
of rivers and the monsoon climate render the target area communities related to contingency plans and physical
supported under the Kailali Disaster Risk Reduction infrastructure with the local government and incorporate
Initiatives II (KDRRI) highly vulnerable to flood. The those in the government plans.
consequences of such hazard and the resulting
Conducting VCAs prior to formation of DPCs allows the
environmental degradation pose a serious threat to the
communities to identify the most capable community
economic development of the areas and causes untold
members to deal with the identified problems and to
miseries to the communities in large. Twice this year the
carry the DP Plans forward. The project will advocate for
flood has come to the communities in Kailali supported
representatives from all groups, and specifically from
Mercy Corps and its partner the Nepal Red Cross Society
minority and vulnerable groups (religious, ethnic, socially
Kailali Chapter as part of the DIPECHO 5 Action Plan. This
disadvantaged and differently-abled), to be selected for
fact strongly underlines the importance of mobilizing the
the DPCs. DPCs will be composed for at least 1/3rd by
local communities to be better prepared and to respond
women and will have 11 members each. This activity is a
to such recurrent events.
component of the community organising process. The
The project believes that fostering gender and social project staff and Sub Chapter volunteers will be
inclusion is community empowerment essential for responsible for further strengthening and sensitising
strengthening the local capacity. Thus this approach is community organising processes in communities. The
reflected in all activities and interventions. Specifically DPCs will function as a community-based disaster
community mobilization interventions will revolve around management organization, they will be instrumental in
establishment of inclusive Disaster Preparedness taking initiatives ahead and they will be encouraged to
Committees and sub-committees in each of the 16 target register as formal institution after the phasing out of the
communities enhancing the awareness and capacity of project to ensure continuity.
community and committee members and foster a sense
Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR)
of collective responsibilty to recognize and act on various
trainings in each community are ongoing with the overall
flood risk measures.
objective of increasing knowledge on DRR aspects and to
Using a community to community approach, target create further awareness on hazards, preparedness and
communities from the first phase of the KDRRI assisted by possible DRR interventions. Project impact is being
project staff and NRCS volunteers - have facilitated a one assessed through a pre and posts Knowledge, Attitude
day orientation program for each of the target and Practice (KAP) assessment and DPC Capacity Index.
communities. Community members, government
Finally Mercy Corps find it essential to advocate for
representatives of that VDC, and other stakeholders
changing practices for disaster risk reduction through
(CBOs, NGOs) working in the same locality attended these
incorporating disaster resilient features in schools,
meetings. Street dramas performed in each of the target
mobilizing students and teacher for DRR interventions
communities by a team of youth members trained under
and formation of Young Rescuer Clubs. Thus, the more
the previous KDRRI project have further raised awareness
than 11,000 students children and young students
and inspired community members for joint actions for
included in the project can be an effective media to
preparedness and DRR interventions.
educate communities often using creative means such as
Importantly the communities have identified the needed awareness campaigns and street drama.
disaster risk reduction interventions in their communities
through community led Vulnerability and Capacity
Assessments (VCA) which are being translated into
Community Disaster Plans (DP). The process of
conducting VCAs together with the DP planning promote
community self-reliance and resilience by sharing of local
coping mechanisms and knowledge to take collective
actions for short, medium and long-term priorities for
making the communities safer. The VCA and DP planning
is only the beginning for the people to take decisions
collectively towards reducing their risk from floods and
adopting a longer-term hazard-resilient development. The
Building community resilience to disasters, in an inclusive way
Community mobilization engages men, women, with disabilities to their own disaster related issues. Gaja Youth Club
or not, the youth and the elderly, in a community-wide effort to (GYC) is a nongovernmental organization working in
address all issues including disaster, in an inclusive way.
Baglung District in community development and a long-
The purpose of our Community Mobilization activities is term partner of Handicap
to facilitate community engagement to promote the International on other
capacity of vulnerable groups (children, pregnant women, projects. GYC implemented
people with disabilities and elderly people). Community previous DIPECHO IV with HI
Mobilization harnesses the energy, resources, and and will also participate in
passion of every person to create a community which DIPECHO V. GYC organized 7
proudly supports every member. It brings together policy shows of street dramas in
makers and opinion leaders, local, state, and federal their working area and
governments, professional groups, religious groups, covered a large number of
businesses, and individuals including men, women, elder, community people including
youth and children. all sectors of population including children, women, men,
Dalit, PwDs, elderly. Before the drama, the local actors
People with disabilities (PwDs) are likely to feel the
and script writer were sensitized on disaster and disability
negative impact of any disaster, be it human-made or
to get more accurate information. The main theme of the
natural, more than other citizens. Anecdotal evidence
drama was the rights of PwDs in a disaster situation and
from emergencies suggests that they suffer particularly
their proper evacuation. After this street drama,
high rates of mortality. PwDs have not only specific
community people realized that it is essential to consider
needs but also abilities, therefore disability inclusive
people living with disabilities and for PwDs to participate
disaster risk reduction (DRR) considers how the needs of
in all levels of disaster planning and management.
PwDs can be addressed and how they can contribute to
DRR and disaster management. Understanding disability Mock drills are another important tool to mobilize the
and how PwDs can be included is therefore an important community to make contingency planning for
part of mobilizing a community for DRR. preparedness. PRERANA is a long term partner of HI
working in Sarlahi district. PRERANA was a partner in
DIPECHO IV and again in DIPECHO V. Towards the end of
the project, after many awareness campaigns and
capacity building activities, they organized a mock drill.
The drill was organized in local government school
premises in Malangawa and simulated an earthquake
situation. In the earthquake, many students were injured
including students with disabilities. Different task force
groups from the community were mobilized for rescue.
They were able to rescue all of the students. This
simulation had a real impact on the audience with some
Street drama is a powerful tool for community awareness members of the audience even feeling that it was so real
and mobilization. Different partner organizations have that they jumped in to help. That is real community
demonstrated street drama in the community according mobilization!
‘SAFE’ through Community Mobilization
Community Mobilization is inevitable for effective and two most hazard prone and inaccessible districts, Myagdi
successful implementation of any programme that and Okhaldunga.
intends to achieve sustainable result. With this realization
SAFE focuses on developing individuals and community-
Danish Red Cross (DRC) emphasizes on the community
level support strategies and increasing community hazard
mobilization process while implementing the DIPECHO risk reduction capacity. Regardless of the nature of
supported hazard risk reduction project - SAFE in disaster, it is critically important for community recovery
partnership with Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) - in the that people are provided with the tools necessary to stay
connected and strengthened. The project aims at risk activities like folk song has been widely accepted among
reduction of the poor & vulnerable and creating safer the communities even it is just the beginning. The folk
communities that focus on ways in which communities songs cover DRR & disaster preparedness messages for
are the key in disaster management initiative. The awareness building across the communities. Activities
community mobilization process through SAFE is about have been designed in a manner that communities get
strengthening community capacities and working DRR messages, raise voice concerning their vulnerabilities
together to make life better and safer. It involves more to multiple hazards, at the same time find means of
people being able to influence decisions about their entertainment.
communities, and more people taking responsibility to
The Hazard Mapping and VCA at the grassroots is not only
mitigate disaster, rather than expecting external support
the stepping-stone in to the array of community led DRR,
time and again.
but it is eye opener to realize the threshold of risks the
Community meeting in Bigutaar VDC, Okhaldunga communities are living in.
Gradually acceptance to the project intervention is
increasing as the marginalized, neglected and the so
called lower castes getting proper space for involvement
in planning, implementation and monitoring. Further,
among others the people with disabilities and elderly are
given due & equal importance to get them involved in the
Formation of Disaster Preparedness units following a
process of participatory selection with the involvement of
key community members and other stakeholders at the
Several activities have been designed in the project in a VDC level accentuates the community mobilization
manner that helps facilitating the community initiative to greater extent.
mobilization process, at the same time the activities The communities most deserving of European
themselves bring impact on the targeted communities. Commission and DRC’s / NRCS’s assistance through this
Awareness generation on disaster preparedness and risk project, then, are those with the least amount of power,
reduction through local cultural activities, Vulnerability resources and capacity to withstand disasters. DRC
and Capacity Analysis (VCA), Hazard Mapping, formation believes that “if we genuinely want to empower them, we
of Disaster Preparedness units, establishment of revolving must do it in such a way that they become independent
fund for emergencies and so on are major activities of our continuous assistance, that they become self
which strengthen the community mobilization process at reliant, that they can sustain their own development
the ground. without our support and able to”.
Despite of the difficult geographical positioning DRC’s
SAFE programme envisages to bringing the scattered
communities together to enhance their capacities and
cohesiveness so that they are able to withstand disasters.
With a multi cultural diversified gamut mobilizing the
communities even for common cause and larger interest
is challenging. But the carefully designed and initiated
activities that underscore the community led approach is
in fact making the venture promising.
In the remote hills of western and eastern region where
there is limited option for entertainment, the awareness
building on disaster risk reduction (DRR) through cultural Folk song competition on DRR in Pulachour VDC, Myagdi
DRC believes that…
If we genuinely want to empower the community, we must do it in such a way that they
become independent of our continuous assistance, that they become self reliant, that they
can sustain their own development without our support and able to”.
Building a self motivated community
Kailali is the one of the flood affected plantation at the edge of Karnali River to reduce the
districts of Nepal, where flood occurs every vulnerability from soil erosion. The community people
year. Narayanpur VDC is located in the eastern part of the brainstormed on a feasible action plan and had
district. For the community people of Mahadev tole flood discussions with the landholders at the periphery of
is a regular phenomenon, but they have suffered more Karnali River to take the plantation work forward. They
this year than the previous years. also decided to go ahead with the plantation and at the
same time, agreed to assign responsibility of preservation
of the plantation work by landowners themselves. It was
also decided to appoint a Chaukidar (Caretaker) from
December this year to preserve the plantation works of
the public lands.
Mahadev community managed to have around 1200
seedlings/plants of different varieties (Ashok, Sisaw,
Narkat, Bed, Liptis etc. – with an approximate net value of
Nrs 7000) after coordinating with Satti Karnali Community
Forest. The 62 households arranged the plants with free
of cost and did the plantation work by mobilizing the
community people. They have already started collecting a
saving of Rs. 5 every month from each household to
manage the money for Chaukidar wages. Ms Goma
Conscious Society for Social Development (CSSD) Kailali, a
Dhungana, FCHV, believes that the current/flow of Karnali
partner of CARE-Nepal, organized a community meeting
in the process of VCA training and discussed about the River will be controlled in the village in coming years as a
vulnerabilities involved and available capacities with the result of plantation work. By this small effort, people of
locals of Mahadev community. The community members Mahadev tole have demonstrated an example of self
realized the vulnerabilities and developed a plan for motivation and effective local resource mobilization.
REFLECT ing strengths, capacities
Sonbarsa of Ward no. 8, Gangapur VDC, Banke district is a ActionAid believes that community has to find its own
highly flood prone area where poor people from different solution to issues and problems. The significance of
social strata live along river Rapti that causes significant REFLECT as a key catalyst can be seen here. Through
threat every year. ActionAid Nepal started working with REFLECT, the project gave more focus on engaging the
the community in Sonbarsa under DIPECHO V project, people find solutions to problems than adding to
with an aim of building community resilience to recurrent problems. People are motivated to target the issue in
disasters. However, when the process of formation of hand than dealing with groups and personalities. The
local disaster management committee started, problems reflect circle will invariably arrive at solutions to common
arose. The people, divided over religious, caste and issues. Local leadership will emerge.
economic status are not able to arrive at a consensus.
REFLECT (REgenerated Freirean Literacy through
Each group wants its say in the DMC. The debates
Empowering Community Techniques) emerged as an
centered on who will represent from which group than approach to literacy and social change, which fuses the
who can efficiently represent the people through an political philosophy of Paolo Freire with the
inclusive, balanced approach. DMC formation came to a methodologies of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA).
Though it started as a literacy movement in early ’90s,
REFLECT has evolved into a powerful empowerment tool
The challenge is how to tackle such issues comes in the that links people’s knowledge, capacities, social
institutions, movements and contest for rights through
project area very often, without losing the spirit of
critical reflection and review. AAN has been using Reflect
volunteerism and ownership. The significance of as a tool for empowerment at the grass root level.
community mobilization on DRR lies here…..
Transect Walk in Narsing… participatory assessment is representative participation, good governance,
accountability and peaceful change for a sustained
difference in their lives and livelihood.
Community Mobilization is both a theory and a practice
of community action that is geared for developing the
grassroots institutional capacities and communication
through critical reflection
processes through an
Association, Involvement inclusive approach. The
Inclusion, Decision Making process encompasses formal
and informal transmission of
knowledge and engagement
The DIPECHO project of ActionAid in Nepal is using COMMUNITY of people in identifying
REFLECT as a key community empowerment tool, coupled MOBILIZATION hazards so as to formulate
by the PVA methods that emphasizes on participatory
feasible actions to reduce
understanding of critical issues, vulnerabilities and own
risks. It involves public
capacities. REFLECT and PVA is thus acting as a powerful PVA discourses involving the
social mobilization, empowerment and educational tool Information, Assessment people, media, academics
for the people, helping them to find ways and means to Analysis, Problem Solving
Planning, Advocacy and polity. It is a collective
build their own capacities and thus reduce vulnerabilities.
learning process and is
It is an integral catalyst in the community to recognize its
implemented on the basis of a certain commitment to the
strength, ensure participation, engage in collective
popular sectors by those who take part. Consequently,
advocacy, build relations, foster leadership, ignite
Community Mobilization is also based on the
creativity and develop personal consciousness.
participation of the popular sectors in the planning and
Community mobilization will also expedite the legal and
implementation of actions collective decided.
socio-political aspect of risk reduction by creating an
enabling policy environment to realize people’s rights. The PVA approach offers a valuable contribution to the
community efforts for reducing vulnerability and ensuring
Participatory Vulnerability Analysis (PVA) is a process
that enables communities to analyze the causes of their human security. It builds on the recognition that
vulnerability and helps them to identify the resources everyone has to secure fundamental rights through legal
and external assistance they need to reduce their and policy instruments as well as cultural codes It also
vulnerability considers obligations, responsibilities and future actions.
Thus, community mobilization allows people to reach
For ActionAid, Community Mobilization on DRR is the
new levels of preparedness through the process of solving
process of engaging communities to ensure rights to
actual needs on all components of the DRR cycle –
human security. It includes identifying the priorities,
Rescue, Relief, Recovery, Reduction, Resilience and
resources, needs and solutions in such a way as to
promote right to life and dignity. It focuses on building
people’s capacity to play a proactive role in reducing the …. The community of Sonbarsa definitely came to a
disaster risk and supporting vulnerable people to solution, through their own efforts, guided by the REFLECT
withstand impact of such events. Underlining the process and PVA processes.
This thematic newsletter has been produced by DIPECHO projects in Nepal with support from European
Commission under its Humanitarian Aid department. The contents and information has been provided by
ActionAid; CARE Nepal; Danish Red Cross; Handicap International; Mercy Corps; Mission East Nepal; Oxfam GB
and Practical Action. This issue is edited and circulated by ActionAid on behalf of DIPECHO partners in Nepal. To
know more about DIPECHO projects, please contact Samuel Marie Fanon for DG ECHO/DIPECHO at
firstname.lastname@example.org and respective project managers at email@example.com (ActionAid),
firstname.lastname@example.org (CARE), email@example.com (Danish Red Cross), firstname.lastname@example.org (Handicap
International), email@example.com (Mercy Corps), Christophe.firstname.lastname@example.org (Mission East-
Nepal), email@example.com (Oxfam) and firstname.lastname@example.org (Practical Action).