ActionAid Nepal-DIPECHO IV Project<br />(Surakshit Samudaya: Building Safe Community through Disaster Management Initiatives)<br />GOOD PRACTICES<br />ABSTRACTS<br />ActionAid implemented DIPECHO IV project in five disaster vulnerable districts of Nepal for the period of 16 months starting November 2007 in association with five local NGO partners. The beneficiaries of the project were 135,000 persons, poor and vulnerable groups expose to disasters. The project areas are deprived of socio-economic development with recurring natural disaster. <br />The project aimed to build safer communities enabling communities towards disaster management through awareness, empowerment and enhanced capacity of accountable stakeholders. The results sought by the project were: increased awareness and capacity of communities and stakeholders to cope with disasters; establish functional network of disaster management committees and stakeholders; ensure protected sites through small scale mitigation for disaster preparedness; and increased access to locally available resources through accountable and responsible stakeholders.<br />Through project evaluation by external expert and community appraisal; it was found that project was highly effective in terms of achieving its intended results and objectives. The communities' confidence and self awareness boosted by trained volunteers, enhanced people's awareness and knowledge in disaster preparedness and risk reduction, changed attitude and practices is one of the major outcomes of the project. The paradigm shift from working individual into collective efforts to tackle with any consequences of disaster is noteworthy. Some innovative ideas were come into practice like sound planning system, sleek and catchy reporting, effective monitoring systems, as well as pioneering way of doing the project activities. The planning system includes setting milestone and results, critical path ways and yearly planning. Risk of the communities were mitigated through low cost model mitigation works like constructing barrier free shelter, embankment, school retrofitting, and elevated tube wells etc. Local resource mobilization was par above the target, because of enhanced relationship with communities and local government.<br />BACKGROUND INFORMATION<br />Theme:The title of the project was Surakshit Samudaya: "
Building Safe Community through Disaster Management"
. The term Surakshit Samudaya indicates safe community.<br />Funding agency: European Commission through its Humanitarian Aid department<br />Country: Nepal<br />Districts: The project districts are 5 districts of Nepal i.e. Sunsari, Udayapur, Sarlahi, Makawanpur and Rupendehi. The districts are from Eastern zone, Mid-zone and Western zone of Nepal<br />Name of the partner/institutions involved:<br />NGO partners were selected for each district hence, there were 5 partner NGOs namely UPCA Sunsari, NPSSP Udayapur, WCDF Makawanpur, Prerana Sarlahi and FSCN Rupendehi districts.<br />INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND<br />Background of project areas<br />In Nepal, every year, one or more types of natural disasters occur causing heavy loss of life, property and infrastructure which affect mainly Terai plains and some of the areas in hills and mountains. The topographical feature of Nepal allows for flash flood during the rainy season. Each year during the monsoon season minor or major types flood affect a large area of agricultural land, and leads to a colossal loss of various types of crops. All the project districts, namely Sunsari, Udayapur, Sarlahi, Makwanpur and Rupendehi are highly prone to various natural hazards.<br />The project districts are prone to various forms of natural and manmade hazards. Landslides, floods, earthquakes, fire, riverbank cutting, river shifting, debris flow, hailstorms, windstorms, thunderstorms, droughts, and pests and diseases are the common hazards that occur in these areas. More than 88 % of the total loss is from water-induced disasters and fire, which include landslides, floods, riverbank cutting, river shifting, debris flow, fire and hailstorms. <br />Udayapur and Sunsari districts are located in Eastern Terai. Udayapur is an inner Terai situated between two hill ranges and is very ruinous and frail due to its weak geology. Sunsari also falls on the eastern Terai Belt with Udayapur to its west and is surrounded by hill ranges. Sunsari and Udayapur are both earthquake and flood prone. In 2001, in Dharan Municipality, 40 houses were destroyed and 551 persons were affected by the flood. Udayapur district was the epidemic of earthquake that came in 1988 and the impact of it was largely shown in Dharan. During, monsoon, flood soil erosion, land-slides and wind storm are common phenomenon in both districts. In August 2, 2008, Koshi flood displaced some 50,000 peoples in Sunsari districts. <br />Sarlahi, Makwanpur and Rupandehi districts are among the 62 districts which were hit by the floods and landslides, during June-September 2004. Flash flood out brusted in 1993 which resulted into out-bursting of Kulekhani Hydro Electricity Dam in Makwanpur and subsequent breakage of Bagmati barrages (that claimed over 1336 death and 17,113 collapsed houses). In fact, this incidence was a lesson for the importance of Disaster Preparedness and Management in Nepal. Currently, Makwanpur and Sarlahi districts are among the top 7 high alert districts ranked by Ministry of Home Affairs for water induced disaster in Nepal for 2005. <br />PROJECT INFORMATION<br />Project Overview<br />The ActionAid-DIPECHO project IV aims at building safer communities in the project areas by applying disaster preparedness measures in collaboration with government and other key stakeholders. Capacity Building, information dissemination, networking and linkages are the primary thrust areas, while building small scale mitigation measures will demonstrate the need for such safety measures. <br />The DIPECHO IV project is building on the experiences assimilated from DIPECHO III, expanding the project coverage and venturing into addressing URBAN vulnerabilities. Of the 14 project locations, 12 are urban and 2 are rural. In addition, refresher activities on training and capacity building have been included for 8 project locations covered by the DIPECHO III project. The project is being implemented by five local partners of ActionAid Nepal, with ActionAid providing overall guidance as well as technical, managerial and monitoring support to the partners. ActionAid is also working closely with other DIPECHO partners in the country, so as to ensure cross learning, resource optimisation and collective advocacy.<br />Objective of Initiative<br />To enable communities towards disaster management initiatives through awareness, empowerment and enhanced capacity of accountable stakeholders<br />Target Group <br />The direct beneficiaries of the project are estimated as 135,000 from 5 disaster vulnerable districts of Nepal. Criteria for selection of target groups: (1) Poor and vulnerable groups (to disaster) (2) Relevancy and effectiveness to achieve the operation objectives; and (3) Priorities of DIPECHO.<br />Presence and work experience in the local community, work at the national level, linkages with the key stakeholders, consultation at all levels helped identify the beneficiaries and the geographical areas of AAN and its partners. <br />Main criteria for location selection were: (1) Long term programme area of ActionAid, which is disaster prone; (2) Already existing program areas of ActionAid and it's partners in terms of disaster preparedness (3) Accessibility and feasibility in the given post conflict scenario; (4) Intensity and frequency of disaster occurrence (5) Priority of DIPECHO; and (6) No duplication by other INGOs or donors. <br />OUTCOME/IMPACT OF THE PROJECT<br />Gained self-confidence through awareness and capacity-building initiatives<br />Through various capacity-building initiatives, more than 150 youth volunteers, disaster management committee members, task force groups, teachers, REFLECT facilitators and people are trained and developed as local resource persons. They have been mobilized during emergencies by being equipped with skills and inputs. They have been developed in such a way they can efficiently and effectively act as planners, designers and potential responders to any kinds of disaster. <br />Case 1: Volunteering During Koshi Calamity<br />Koshi river outburst on 18 August, 2008 made a 3 km breach in the embankment, displacing over 50,000 people within few hours. The resultant flood created one of the largest humanitarian crises in the country. DIPECHO project area in Sunsari district was spared with minor damages. Nearby wards, and their people have to flee home from the rampaging waters.<br />Over 30 trained DMC members and youth from Sunsari project areas were joined the camps and offered various services. It ranged from post disaster counseling, mobilizing affected people, food distribution, first aid camps and many other assorted services. Backed by training and experienced in mobilization, the volunteers brought order into the camps, calming the rising tempers and organizing the people to participate in the overall work. All has appreciated their services. It was huge learning experience for volunteers too. <br />DIPECHO project proved that people capacitated by the project initiatives were handy and efficient in relief operations. Life skill training and organizing capacities proved to be helpful to other affected people.<br />Disaster management committees' synergize efforts<br />Disaster Management Committees formed under the project are given due recognition in the community, village and government. DMCs are able to mobilize community, local fund and government resources. The fund mobilization from outside the project was almost double which is par above the expected.<br />Case 2: Resource Mobilization of Disaster Management Committee<br />DMCs have become flag bearers of the society, leading the community initiatives to advocate with relevant stakeholders and government. They are informed about issues related to disasters and disaster preparedness. They are aware of their rights. They have become responsible to the community. There are many initiatives that have led to DMC sourcing government support. In the small scale mitigation initiatives, DMC members visited government offices regularly and sought for government support. This resulted in sourcing government resources of over Rs. 2.6 million to the small scale initiatives, whereas the project invested only Rs. 1.4 million rupees.<br />****<br />In Sarlahi, the DMCs in the municipality and district were networked by the project, leading to a district level network of DMCs. The project extended training and strategic support workshop for the DMC to increase their capacities. This resulted in a strong network of people led organizations of disaster vulnerable people. Even the local administration was encouraged by this initiative and started involving the DMC in decision making process. In January 2009, the DMC network promoted by the AAN DIPECHO project received a contract from the district administration to conduct VDC level plans through PVA process in 17 VDCs in the district. This is a landmark achievement in the history of people led movement in Nepal, proving the worth and capacity of people to undertake disaster preparedness initiatives. DDRC in the district has made the district DMC network a special invitee to their meetings.<br />Identified the vulnerable and risk areas for local action<br /> The series-wise risks and vulnerability mapping has equipped the local people with sufficient knowledge and skills to assess potential hazards, vulnerability for immediate action through action planning. Each and every project communities do have vulnerability maps from which they discuss, and design their works. Risks and vulnerability zoning is also done based on priority order. The zoning work has made it easy to convince the local people and local/district-level stakeholders to generate resources. This has added value for overall risk reduction at community level. <br />Risk minimized through small-scale mitigation<br /> With the construction of school retrofitting for making them earthquake-proof (2), elevated hand pumps (14), culvert (2), emergency shelters (1), safe exits (1), people have been protected from risks. Similarly, protection work, retention wall, plantation area have contributed to save roughly 15000 sq. m area and more than 135000 population. The construction of culverts has helped to minimize risks while crossing rivers during torrents, while the construction of emergency shelters (2) has made the population safe during disasters. The retrofitting of two school buildings has made around 2,400 students safer. With the installation of raised hand pumps, drinking water facilities have been made available for 2,100 people for six days during inundations. The incidence of water-borne diseases during monsoon has reduced. Inspired by these benefits, the people are becoming increasingly willing to replicate these initiatives. <br />Change in beliefs and understanding<br /> The project's comprehensive design was successful in changing the perceptions and mindset of communities who used to interpret disasters as divine cause. People have now realized that the Disaster is due to natural hazards and Human behaviors, and its risk can be reduced. Clearer understanding has now resulted in small scale mitigation initiatives in terms of preparedness on people’s part to reduce the effects of possible disasters.<br />Innovation in the Project<br />The project has done very good practice of planning, reporting, reviewing and monitoring systems. The project provided space to partners to come up with their own ideas. Few initiatives were done that were not designed in the project. For example: Regular weekly sanitation campaigns were held in all the project areas and campaign for toilet construction begun. Saving collection for risk mitigation was held. <br />Case 3: One Rupee Saving for Relief (Ward no 3, Inaruwa Municipality, Sunsari District)<br />During any disaster, the affected people themselves are the first respondents. However, due to their poverty, people are left with no resources to fend for themselves. Inaruwa ward no 3 has the same story. 40 families living in this area lead hands to mouth life. Every year, floods and fire, post flood illness and loss of livelihood threaten life. Every year, no supports come forward.<br />In 2007, DIPECHO was launched in the area. Based in right based approach, people were mobilized, REFLECT circles were started and process of empowerment initiated. Soon, discussing their own vulnerabilities and capacities, people understood that they have to find solutions to their own problems. They should be responsible for their own lives. They are poor. From where they can find resources. During one brainstorming session, someone proposed a brilliant idea. Save one rupee a day for the community. Though people were unconvinced, they decided to launch the campaign to save a rupee a day. Thus, piggy banks were installed in houses, 1 for each 5 families. There were 8 piggy banks installed. Piggy banks were opened once in a month in DMC meeting. They have been regularly saving the fund, and project also contributed some money.<br />During flood inundation in 2008, community used Rs. 13,000 to feed and extend support to their own families and nearby families who were affected. A year ago, the same people were seeking help from others. Today, the community is convinced that they can do better. They are motivated and have understood that any idea is worth trying. They have made plans to approach the government with schemes for their development; and were able to mobilize fund for culvert and gravel road.<br />LESSON LEARNED<br />Some of the good practices of the DIPECHO project that could be taken as lessons to be replicated at local, national and international level<br />At local level, the modality of the DMC networks, Disaster management and contingency planning, fistful of rice campaign, school safety net approach through retrofitting as some of the good examples that could be used for wider replication. The Participatory Vulnerability Analysis for in-depth vulnerability analysis and immediate action, mainstreaming the PWD in the DRR and the REFLECT approach for community empowerment were other good practices. The REFLECT approach is already being replicated by the Danish Red Cross in Katari, Udayapur. Some of these good practices are gradually being replicated in neighboring villages. For instance, in Inaruwa 3, Sunsari, observing the changes made by project activities, the people of another cluster has formed new DMC in their own initiatives called 'Latimai Prakop Byabasthapan Samitttee' to carry out similar types of initiatives. They also initiated savings for the emergency purpose. <br />At national level, apart from the good practices at local level, joint celebration of EQ Safety and ISDR days, publication of thematic bulletin, joint IEC materials development and joint training for the DIPECHO projects in Nepal through collaborative approach are some good practices. The pre- and post-monsoon workshops, orientation to teachers and political leaders on DDR and HFA, collaborative approach with Disaster Preparedness Network (DPNet), Disaster Management Networks and NSET are other good practices that could be replicated by other institutions. Apart from the national-level initiatives, the coordination mechanism among the DIPECHO partners for resource sharing and synergy could be replicated at international level. <br />CONSTRAINTS AND LIMITATIONS<br />Due to the time bound nature of project, intervention was limited to the project areas. Sometime, disaster unexpectedly strikes in the neighborhood community; and project limitations contracted in the support beyond the project area. Similarly, the need for mass media campaign could not suffice to disseminate the proper information at the local level, but the national media does not reach to the community due to language barrier, that limits the DRR mass conscentisation (awareness education) efforts) of the program. <br />