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Dipecho nepal contribution2 hfa final report nov 30 _2_


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Dipecho nepal contribution2 hfa final report nov 30 _2_

  1. 1. Final Draft The contribution of the DIPECHO Project to the Hyogo Framework for Action November 25, 2010 Kathmandu1 | P a g e   
  2. 2. AuthorDhruba Gautam, PhDNational Disaster Risk Reduction Centre NepalNDRC NepalEkantakuna, JawalakhelPhone: +0977-1-5000214, 5000219, 98510-95808Email:, ncdrnepal@yahoo.comSpecial contributorsP.V. Krishnan, Shyam Jnavaly and Ashok PokharelStudy organised byActionAid Nepal/DIPECHOP O Box 6257, Kathmandu, NepalTel: 977 1 4436477Fax: 977 1 4419718Website: The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ActionAid Nepal (AAN), other DIPECHO partners, or DG ECHO. AAN does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. For more information, please contact the author in one of the above addresses.2 | P a g e   
  3. 3. List of abbreviations and acronymsCA Constituent AssemblyCFUG Community forest user groupCCA Climate change adaptationDRR Disaster risk reductionDM Disaster managementDP Disaster preparednessDDRC District disaster relief committeeDMC Disaster management committeeDRM Disaster risk managementDN-CDMC District network of community DMCsDDRT District disaster response teamDoHM Department of Hydrology and MeteorologyDDC District development committeeEWS Early warning systemHFA Hyogo Framework of ActionHVCA Hazard, vulnerability and capacity assessmentISDR International Strategy for Disaster ReductionINGO International non-governmental organisationMoHA Ministry of Home AffairsMoLD Ministry of Local DevelopmentNSDRM National Strategy for Disaster Risk ManagementNRCS Nepal Red Cross SocietyNN-CDMC National network of community DMCsNCRA Natural Calamity Relief ActNEOC National Emergency Operation CentreNAPA Nepal’s National Adaptation Plan for ActionPVA Participatory Vulnerability AnalysisREFLECT Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community TechniquesRSLU Risk-sensitive land-use PlanningSMC School management committeeSOP Standard operating proceduresSWOLID Strengthening Women to Develop Leadership in DevelopmentTGDM Task group for disaster managementVDC Village development committeeVCA Vulnerability and capacity assessment3 | P a g e   
  4. 4. AcknowledgementWe would like to acknowledge the support of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aiddepartment, which helped to carry out this study.We would also like to acknowledge ActionAid Nepal’s DIPECHO team Mr. P.V. Krishnan, Mr. ShyamSundar Jnavaly, and Mr. Ashok Pokharel for providing us with useful comments and feedback on theconceptual framework of this research and on our draft report. The teams of other DIPECHO partners--Care Nepal, Danish Red Cross, Handicap International, Mercy Corps, Mission East, Oxfam GB andPractical Action--provided us with a wealth of information while producing this report. We areparticularly grateful to AAN’s district-level NGO partners namely UPCA (Sunsari), KVS (Saptari), NavaPrabhat (Udaypur), CDM (Nawalparasi), FSC (Rupandehi), BEE Group (Banke), RKJS (Bardiya) andNRCS and CSSD (Kailali).To collect primary information in the field, we interacted with local-, district- and national-levelstakeholders, including the members of district disaster risk coordination teams regarding various issueslaid out in the terms of reference. We are thankful to them for providing us with information and data.The members of various task forces, disaster management committees and networks served as valuableresource persons and fine company during our fieldwork.We are grateful to the communities of the DIPECHO projects for their patience in providing us with awealth of information and for being so cooperative during the study. We would further like to extendour sincere gratitude to all who helped make this study a success by contributing their time, feedbackand suggestions.Mr. Guna Raj Shrestha and Ms. Neeta Thapa, members of the DIPECHO Evaluation Team also deservespecial thanks for the field notes they developed. These notes were very useful to us. We are gratefulto ActionAid Nepal and to the project management team of DIPECHO for entrusting us to conduct thisinteresting and challenging study.Dhruba Gautam and Pravin RokayaNational Disaster Risk Reduction Centre NepalNDRC NepalEkantakuna, LalitpurNovember 20104 | P a g e   
  5. 5. Executive SummaryBackground: The problem and the studyThe increase in the frequency and magnitude of disasters in Nepal has made it very difficult for thegovernment to address the impacts of disasters adequately. It has now recognised that providing relief aloneis also insufficient. And that it is disaster risk reduction (DRR), a holistic, comprehensive, and strategicapproach to disasters, which is the need of the day to reduce the devastating impacts of disaster and to copewith increasing vulnerability. In recognition of Nepal’s need to tackle the problem of disaster risks andmitigate their impacts on peoples lives and livelihoods, the European Commission (DG ECHO) began toprovide financial assistance to Nepal when it released its First DRR Action Plan in 2003. On 15 June 2009DIPECHO launched its Fifth Action Plan, which emphasises the need for initiating a wide array ofcommunity-based disaster preparedness (DP) and DRR interventions, including developing a disastermanagement and risk reduction legal framework, implementing disaster education, constructing small-scalemitigative infrastructures, coordinating among agencies, conducting research, developing early warningsystems, and building capacity. The projects under DIPECHO’s Fifth Action Plan involve eight partners,cover 18 districts, and will run to 15 December 2010.The purpose of this study was to take stock of the progress that these eight partners have made towardsachieving the five priorities of the HFA in Nepal and to contribute to the global report on the achievementof the HFA. All the secondary information made available by the DIPECHO partners was thoroughlyreviewed. Then multiple instruments, including a range of participatory tools and techniques, were used tocollect and collate reliable primary information from DIPECHO project communities and districts. Holdinginteraction meetings and mini-workshops with local-level stakeholders helped deepen the team’sunderstandings of projects achievements. Also at the field level, separate interaction meetings were heldwith each implementing NGO partner in order to listen to its concerns and issues and to crosscheck thereliability of information collected. The key findings of this report were drawn from all these sets ofinformation. Many are illustrated with short case studies and direct quotations.Project achievementsThe fact that the project period for all DIPECHO projects was fixed at 15 months irrespective of the levelof activity, the capacity of the implementing partners (partner NGOs) and communities, the geographiclocation and remoteness of the communities, and the types of hazards to address put tremendous pressureon most of the communities and partner NGOs to complete the prescribed project activities within the settimeframe. Despite the pressure, however, the quality of work of each partner was good. In addition, theywere very much appreciated by the project communities and by DRR stakeholders at the local, district andnational levels.Despite the challenges they faced, DIPECHO projects helped to achieve the five priority actions and thethree strategic goals of the HFA. They facilitated the formation and strengthening of community-baseddisaster institutions, particularly DMCs, and of DM networks extending from the cluster to the nationallevel. All the institutions established worked to provide disaster-affected people with support and toadvocate and campaign to see them able to claim their rights. The project empowered people, making themaware of their rights and of the legal obligation of the government to protect them from disaster risks. Italso developed mechanisms that enable people to secure human and financial resources to deal with disasterand to increase their resiliency. Capacity-building initiatives filled and continue to fill knowledge gaps in DPand DRR; as a result, communities are gradually developing the knowledge and skills they need to reducetheir vulnerability. Schools and health facilities have planned and carried out disaster prevention andresponse measures, too.5 | P a g e   
  6. 6. Community-based early warning systems (EWS) have been modified in order to capitalise on peoplesindigenous knowledge; these EWS have helped identify, assess and monitor existing and potential disasterrisks. DIPECHO projects held dialogues and consultations to foster information sharing; technicalbackstopping; and resource, idea and experience sharing in order to encourage people to improve projectinitiatives. The DIPECHO projects successfully used knowledge, innovation and education to build a cultureof safety and resilience at all levels by managing information and exchange, imparting formal and informaleducation, raising public awareness, and making sure that safer schools play a greater role in DRR.Underlying risk factors have been identified so that their adverse impacts can be reduced. People are nowmore aware of what adaptation to a changing climate entails. They have undertaken initiatives that enhancefood security, provide socio-economic protection nets, and reduce poverty. Land-use planning efforts haveput degraded land to better use and building awareness about building codes has seen the construction ofsafer infrastructures. In order to reduce underlying risk factors, public facilities have been protected at thelocal level.DP has been strengthened and the response skills of communities have been enhanced and made moreeffective. The development of emergency response plans has made it easier to evacuate needy people toshelters (or to schools serving as shelters) along clearly marked and accessible evacuation routes. Refreshertrainings, drills and simulations have made sure that people retain the skills and knowledge they acquire, andgood coordination has enable communities to get support from duty bearers and civil society. The variousstakeholders concerned demonstrate a good understanding of DP and response.All the initiatives discussed above have made a significant contribution to the effective integration of disasterrisk considerations into sustainable development policies and planning and programming at all levels. Theyhave put special emphasis on disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness and vulnerability reduction.Moreover, DIPECHO projects helped develop and strengthen those institutions, mechanisms and capacitiesof all levels, in particular those at the community level, which can systematically contribute to buildingresilience to hazards. Continuous advocacy and campaigning resulted in the systematic incorporation of riskreduction approaches into the design and implementation of emergency preparedness, response andrecovery programmes during the reconstruction of disaster-affected communities.The way forwardGaps and areas for improvementWhile the efforts made by all DIPECHO partners to support the HFA are commendable and much has beenachieved, DIPECHO, their coverage, in terms of both area and people, is limited and the gaps, huge. If thecurrent levels of prioritisation of and funding for DRR are not increased, Nepal will not achieve the HFAgoals by 2015.In addition to DIPECHO partners, other stakeholders, including the government, are carrying out DRRinitiatives that directly or indirectly contribute to the HFA. Unfortunately, the scale of action is simply toolimited. So far, 67 districts have DP plans and district disaster relief committee (DDRCs) have beenempowered to carry them out. The remaining eight districts also need to be mobilised. The extent ofaction at the village level is much less promotion. Only 66 VDCs in Banke, Bardia, Chitwan and Nawalparasidistricts of over 3000 in the country have prepared DM plans, and only four of 58 municipalities have startedimplementing safe building construction practices. There is more need for the government and non-government organisations to enforce the national seismic safety standards effectively across the country.While it is encouraging that disaster risk management (DRM) and climate change adaption (CCA) are beinginstitutionalised in planning, the level of funding needed to carry out these plans has not been forthcoming.The current interim three-year plan (2010-2013) focuses on climate change and disaster resilient planning6 | P a g e   
  7. 7. and each sectoral strategy integrates comprehensive DRR and emergency response preparedness. Otherpositive planning efforts include the development of risk-sensitive land-use planning for KathmanduMetropolitan City and plan to extend it elsewhere Also promising is that the Ministry of Home Affairs(MoHA) has set up an emergency operation centre at the national level and intends to set up regionalcentres too. In addition, standard operating procedures for hospitals, security forces and local communitiesare being developed and there are national programmes and policies to make schools and health facilitiessafe in emergencies. Contingency plans, procedures and resources and financial arrangements are in placeto deal with major disasters, and methods and procedures to assess damage, loss and needs have beenadopted.Money to fund these initiatives is inadequate. Neither the national budget nor district budget have specificallocations for DRR and although some VDCs have started allocating separate funds for DRR, guidelines areinadequate and the process has not yet been institutionalised. In addition, no initiatives have beenundertaken to incorporate the costs and benefits of DRR into the planning of public investment or to investin reducing the risks vulnerable urban settlements face.The sharing of information is also problematic. The national forum, with representatives from civil societyorganisations, national planning institutions, and key economic and development sector organisations use anational multi-hazard risk assessment to inform planning and development decisions, but since disasterlosses are not systematically reported, monitored or analysed, it is not as effective as it could be. Nepalparticipates in regional and sub-regional DRR programmes to share its experiences, but ironically has nonational disaster information system publicly available. DRR is included in the national educational curriculumand is a public education campaign issue but is not included in the national scientific applied-research agendaor budget.Environments and societies do not yet receive sufficient protection either. There is no mechanism in placeto protect and restore regulatory ecosystem services and the social safety nets which do exist areinadequate to the challenge of increasing the resilience of risk-prone households and communities.Many initiatives have been taken up jointly by DRR stakeholders in Nepal, but most are not mature andsome are still in their nascent stages. In particular, a multi-hazard, integrated approach to DRR anddevelopment which considers gender perspectives, human security and social equity has been adopted andinstitutionalised; capacities for DRR and recovery have been identified and strengthened; and theengagement of and partnerships with non-governmental actors, civil society, and the private sector havebeen fostered at all levels. Now Nepal must build on these initiatives.RecommendationsSeveral key initiatives are needed in order to promote the HFA and to build the resilience of the Nepalipeople in the face of natural disaster: • Whenever possible, large-scale, nationwide, long-term multi-sector initiatives involving a wide array of actors, including the DRR Consortium and Five Flagships, and reflecting the national strategy should be carried out whenever the specific mandates and timeframes of DRR stakeholders allow for it. Such linkages have to be considered carefully so that they will have a demonstrated impact within the project lifespan. • Advocacy for gender inclusiveness and end to gender-based violence is urgent. • Global DRR global campaigns, particularly school and hospital safety, and safer cities, should be promoted. • The impacts of CCA should be clearly demonstrated and quantified and steps to address them taken up in improved DP and DRR strategies in a carefully considered fashion.7 | P a g e   
  8. 8. • Disaster risk consideration, including relief and rehabilitation should to be effectively integrated in policies, planning and programming for sustainable development at all levels, right from the proposal stage when their expected multiplier and long-term effects are considered. • An exit strategy should be prepared and capacity-building support provided for its execution so that good initiatives are sustained. • A DRR consortium which includes DIPECHO partners should be established in order to carry out policy advocacy at both the regional and national levels. • Institutions, mechanisms and capacities that can build resilience to hazard should be developed and strengthened at all levels, in particular at the community level. • Risk reduction approaches, including emergency preparedness, response and recovery, should be systematically incorporated into the design and implementation of reconstruction programmes for affected communities in order to increase their resilience and reduce their vulnerability.8 | P a g e   
  9. 9. Table of ContentsList of abbreviation and acronyms 3Acknowledgements 4Executive summary 51. Introduction 111.1 Background 111.2 The context 131.3 The Hyogo Framework of Action 131.4 Study objectives 141.5 Study methods 142. Major findings 152.1 Priority action 1: Governance 152.1.1 Frameworks and structures 152.1.2 Right to participation 192.1.3 Financial resources 202.1.4 Human resources 212.1.5 Schools and health facilities 232.2 Priority action 2: Risk assessment 232.2.1 Disaster risk assessments 232.2.2 Early warning systems 252.3 Priority action 3: Knowledge and education 282.3.1 Information management and exchange 282.3.2 Formal education 302.3.3 Public awareness and understanding 312.3.4 Informal education 312.3.5 School safety 322.4 Priority action 4: Risk management and vulnerability reduction 322.4.1 Environment and natural resource management 322.4.2 Adaptation to climate change 322.4.3 Food security 332.4.4 Social protection 332.4.5 Economic protection 342.4.6 Poverty reduction 342.4.7 Land-use planning 352.4.8 Building codes and standards 352.4.9 Protection of public facilities 362.5 Priority action 5: Disaster preparedness and response 372.5.1 Disaster preparedness and response 372.5.2 Response skills 392.5.3 Evacuation 402.5.4 Training drills and simulations 402.5.5 Emergency resources 419 | P a g e   
  10. 10. 2.5.6 Coordination and information exchange 41Chapter 3: Conclusion 423.1 The context: 423.2 The way forward 44References 4510 | P a g e   
  11. 11. The contribution of the DIPECHO Project to the Hyogo Framework for Action "More effective prevention strategies would save not only tens of billions of dollars, but save tens of thousands of lives. Funds currently spent on intervention and relief could be devoted to enhancing equitable and sustainable development instead, which would further reduce the risk for war and disaster. Building a culture of prevention is not easy. While the costs of prevention have to be paid in the present, its benefits lie in a distant future. Moreover, the benefits are not tangible; they are the disasters that did NOT happen. " Kofi Annan, “Facing the Humanitarian Challenge: Towards a Culture of Prevention”, UN General Assembly, A/54/11. Introduction1.3 BackgroundDisaster is not a new phenomenon but it is one that increasing in intensity and frequency. Every year, morethan 200 million people in the world are affected by different natural hazards, including droughts, floods,cyclones, earthquakes, wildfires, epidemics, avalanches, rock fall, landslides, mud and debris flows, and glacierlake outburst floods. A flash appeal launched by the UN in 2007 revealed that since the 1970s the annualnumber of natural disasters attributable to both climatic and non-climatic hazards has quadrupled and thatthe average number of people affected each year had increased from an average of 100 million to an averageof more than 250 million. While the reasons for the increase in disaster risks are many, the primary one isthe increasing exposure and vulnerability to weather and climate hazards and to environmental degradation.The rise in population density, global warming, and poverty all exacerbate the impacts of natural hazards.Climate change has impacted lives and livelihoods and has prevented millions of people from exercising theirfundamental rights.Disaster affects the entire globe without discrimination. From Indian Ocean tsunamis to South Asianearthquakes, from the devastation caused by hurricanes and cyclones in the United States, the Caribbeanand the Pacific to heavy flooding across Europe and Asia, hundreds of thousands of people have lost theirlives and millions have seen their livelihoods eroded by natural hazards. While natural hazards can affectanyone anywhere at any time, it is the poor; women, particularly those who are lactating or pregnant;children; the elderly; and persons with disabilities who suffer most from disaster as they lack theinformation, resources, capacities and social safety nets that could protect them. While many are well awareof the human misery and crippling economic losses resulting from disasters, few realise that the extent ofdevastation can be prevented or at least mitigated through people-led disaster risk reduction (DRR)initiatives.Nepal, like many developing countries in Asia and the Pacific, is situated in the world’s hazard belt and issubject to multiple hazards. It is periodically struck by major natural disasters due to climatic and seismicfactors. Though the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, which began in 1990, raisedawareness in Nepal, the number of deaths and the extent of property loss have increased drastically sincethen. Vulnerability to disasters has increased due to the lack of capacities and resources as well as theincreased aggregation of people in urban centres and insufficient planning and preparedness.Nepals Tarai, flat, low-lying land is the south, experiences annual flooding as rivers originating in the hillsoverflow their banks during the monsoon months of June to September. Both seasonal as well as flash floodshave devastated peoples lives and livelihoods. The hills, in contrast, because of the influence of topography,are more likely to be hit by landslides than floods. Human activities like deforestation, cultivation, andhaphazard construction destabilise the constitutionally fragile slopes. As a result of the combined actions of11 | P a g e   
  12. 12. natural factors, mostly heavy rainfall, and human-induced factors, as many as 12,000 landslides occur inNepal each year (ESCAP, 1995a). In addition, Nepal, particularly the areas in the Himalayan region, isvulnerable to seismic activities of varying intensity (ibid.).The increase in the frequency and magnitude of disasters in Nepal has made it impossible for thegovernment of any one to address the impacts of disaster adequately. Providing relief alone is alsoinsufficient. It is DRR, a holistic, comprehensive, and strategic approach, which is the need of the day toreduce the devastating impacts of disaster and to cope with increasing vulnerability. In recognition of Nepal’sneed to tackle the problem of disaster risks and mitigate their impacts on peoples lives and livelihood, theEuropean Commission (DG ECHO1) began to provide financial assistance to Nepal to implement DRR-focused interventions with the implementation of DIPECHO’s First Action Plan for South Asia in 2003.Over the last several years, there have been important changes in the legal framework for DP and DRR inNepal. Some were influenced by DIPECHO partners while others were the result of the internationaltrends. These changes have implications for all levels of interaction but what they are is currently unknownand the changes themselves are probably changing. The legal framework needs to be assessed in order to i)measure progress, ii) identify gaps, iii) adapt to the new rules and constraints, iv) focus on the remaininggaps.DIPECHO had a clear mandate: it focused on natural disasters, the implementation of pilot projects fordemonstrative purposes and with clear exit strategies, the replication and scaling up of projects,participation in larger DRR initiatives, and building local response capacities. It objectives in short are toreinforce the resilience and response capacity of communities and disaster management (DM) authorities,integrate DDR in humanitarianresponse, and intensify capacitybuilding, advocacy and coordination.DIPECHO was created in 1996 andsince 1998 has channelled more thanEUR 186 million to DRR projectsworldwide. DIPECHO covers nineregions at present. In South Asia,DIPECHO is working with 27partners in five countries, 38districts, and 730,000 directbeneficiaries. Since the First ActionPlan for South Asia was developed,both its budget and number ofpartners have increased significantly.  DIPECHO’s Fifth Action Plan wasinitiated in Nepal in June 2009. Thisplan emphasises the need for initiating a wide array of community-based disaster preparedness (DP) and riskreduction interventions, including the development of a disaster management and risk reduction legalframework, the implementation of disaster education, small-scale mitigative infrastructures, coordinationamong agencies, research, development of early warning systems, and capacity building.                                                            1 The activities of DG ECHO in the field of disaster preparedness are “to ensure preparedness for risks of natural disasters or comparablecircumstances and use a suitable rapid early-warning and intervention system”. The DIPECHO programme was set up in this context to improve thecapacities of communities at risk to better prepare and protect themselves against natural hazards. Until two or three years ago DG ECHO’s DRRactivities were more or less synonymous with those of DIPECHO, but now the focus of DG ECHOs DRR support include disaster preparedness(DIPECHO and DRR-targeted projects); mainstreaming DP and DRR in all of ECHO’s interventions; advocacy with regard to the other servicesprovided by commissions, donors, and stakeholders (LRRD); and developing additional funding lines (thematic funding and ad hoc decisions).  12 | P a g e   
  13. 13. 1.2 The contextIn Nepal, DIPECHO’s Fifth Action Plan has a budget of 31,40,397 Euro from eight international non-governmental organisations2 (INGOs): ActionAid Nepal, Care Nepal, Danish Red Cross, HandicapInternational, Mercy Corps, Mission East, Oxfam GB and Practical Action3. The main mandate of DIPECHOis to improve DRR initiatives in Nepal by supporting five areas: (i) local disaster management; (ii) institutionallinkages and advocacy; (iii) information, education, and communication; (iv) small-scale infrastructure andservices, and (v) the stockpiling of emergency and relief items. DIPECHO’s overall objective is to ‘reduce thevulnerability of Nepali populations living in areas most affected by natural disasters and its specific objectiveare to ‘support strategies that enable local communities and institutions to better prepare for, mitigate andrespond adequately to natural disasters by enhancing their capacities to cope and respond, therebyincreasing resilience and reducing vulnerability. The projects under DIPECHO’s Fifth Action Plan cover 18districts of Nepal. The programme is to run from 15 June 2009 to 15 December 20104.1.3 Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA)One of DIPECHO’s key roles is to assist Nepal in putting into action its commitment to the three strategicgoals and five priority actions of theHyogo Framework of Action (HFA) Box 1: The three strategic goals of HFA(see Box 1 and 2). Released by the • To more effectively integrate disaster risk considerations intoWorld Conference5 on Disaster sustainable development policies, planning and programming at allReduction, the HFA is a global levels, with a special emphasis on disaster prevention, mitigation,blueprint for DRR. It aims to preparedness, and vulnerability reduction;substantially reduce disaster losses, • To develop and strengthen at all levels, in particular the communitymeasured in terms of lives as well as level, those institutions, mechanisms and capacities thatthe social, economic, and systematically contribute to building resilience to hazards;environmental assets of communities • To systematically incorporate risk reduction approaches into theand countries, by 2015. The HFA design and implementation of emergency preparedness, responsesupports the efforts of nations and and recovery programs in the reconstruction of affectedcommunities to become more communitiesresilient to and cope better with thehazards that threaten their development gains.As part of its HFA commitment, Box 2: HFAs key priorities for actionNepal is in the final stages of • Governance: Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a nationalapproving the Disaster Management priority with a strong institutional basis for implementationBill of 2007, which will replace theNatural Calamity Relief Act of 1982. • Risk assessment: Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks andIt also adopted the National Strategy enhance early warningfor Disaster Risk Management • Knowledge and education: Use knowledge, innovation and(NSDRM) in October 2009 and has education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levelscarried out various projects and • Risk management and vulnerability reduction: Reduceprogrammes to achieve the priority underlying risk factorsactions of HFA. These include those • Disaster preparedness and response: Strengthen disasterprojects which were designed by preparedness for effective responseDIPECHO. All these initiatives are                                                            2 They are known as DIPECHO partners in Nepal.3 In addition to Nepal, DIPECHO’s Fifth Action Plan applies to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.4 Though the starting and ending dates of some of the DIPECHO partner vary, the duration was originally fixed at 15 months.5 This conference was held January 18-22, 2005, in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. The 168 governments in attendance adopted a 10-year plan (2005-2015) to make the world safer from natural hazards by building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters.13 | P a g e   
  14. 14. set within an enabling national policy context which emphasises the role of people and their participation incommunity preparedness. The government’s Tenth Five-Year Plan6 (1996-2006) and Three-Year InterimPlan7 (2007-2010) both stress the active role of community people in disaster management. The objectivesof the government’s long-term plans are consistent with DIPECHO’s overall objectives, mission and vision.Though this study was commissioned by ActionAid Nepal, the contributions of all eight DIPECHO partnersare duly reflected as they have worked cooperatively to achieve the key mandates of HFA.1.4 Study objectivesThe purpose of this study is to take stock of the progress the eight DIPECHO partners in Nepal have madetowards achieving the five priorities of the HFA in Nepal and to contribute to the global report on theachievement of the HFA. Specifically, the objectives of the study are to: • Identify the progress made in the implementation of the HFA at the local level, • Collect evidence of the progress made in achieving Nepal’s NSDRM and the priority actions of the HFA, and • Document that progress so that it can be feed into the national-level review of HFA achievements.1.5 Study methodsMultiple instruments were used to collate primary information from DIPECHO project communities anddistricts. Before setting foot in the field, however, the study team first identified the scope of the study andthe keys areas. In order to develop a comprehensive checklist, all the secondary information made availableby all DIPECHO partners was thoroughly reviewed. Then, using the checklist, the team held consultationmeetings with projects stakeholders at the central, district and community levels. At the central level, theteam met with the DIPECHO project team, government officials and key networks members while at thedistrict level, it met the members of district disaster relief committees (DDRC) and other DRR players. Inall interactions, the goal was to ascertain their overall impression about the key achievements made byDIPECHO partners in Nepal at the national, district and community levels.During its field investigation in DIPECHO project areas, the team used participatory tools and techniques tocollect reliable information. To familiarise itself with the key visible achievements which helped reducedisaster risks, the team conducted transect walks with key knowledgeable people. In addition, it conductedin-depth informant interviews and focus group discussions to validate the information gathered from varioussources. Holding interaction meetings and mini workshops with local level stakeholders also helped deepenthe team’s understandings of projects achievements. At the field level, separation interaction meetings wereheld with each implementing NGO partner in order to listen to their concerns and issues and to cross-check the reliability of other information collected. The key findings of this report were drawn from all thesets of information. Many of the key findings are illustrated in the report with small case studies and directquotations.Because there was so little time (just two weeks for field work and more two weeks for writing) to conductthe study, it was not possible for the study team to visit the project areas of Mission East and the DanishRed Cross. To compensate for this gap, the secondary information of both organisations was extrathoroughly analysed and the key evaluation findings they contained have been duly incorporated.                                                            6  Disaster risk reduction (DRR) has become a national priority for sustainable development. The 10th five year plan (2002-2007) underscoredthat the main objective of DRR as to contribute substantially to make the public life secure by managing the natural and man-made disastersystematically and effectively. 7  The 3-year interim plan (2008-2010) also emphasized that DRR is an integral component of sustainable development and accorded priority topre-disaster preparedness. 14 | P a g e   
  15. 15. 2. Major findingsIn keeping with the international framework for DRR and the HFA, the DIPECHO partners in Nepalformulated ideas and resources designed to contribute towards the achievement of the five priority actionsand three strategic goals of the HFA. The key findings in terms of the achievements made under eachpriority action are discussed below.2.1 Priority action 1, Governance: Ensure that DRR is a national priority with a stronginstitutional basis for implementationThe achievements in governance are discussed in terms of five areas: frameworks and structures, the rightto participation, financial resources, human resources, and schools and health facilities.2.1.1 Frameworks and structuresWell-organised institutions, groups and committees capable of deciding what to do in the case of a disasterand how to overcome associated disaster risks exist and are functional in DIPECHO projects area. In fact,four tiers of institutions have been formed to respond the disaster: (i) a task force at the thematic level; (ii)disaster management committees8 (DMCs) at the community/VDC level9; (iii) district networks of DMC(DN-CDMC10) at the district level; and, (iv) a national network of DMC (NN-CDMC11) at the central level.The former two are engaged mostly at the project implementation level whereas the latter two contributemostly to policy advocacy and campaigning.At the community/hamlet level, disaster task forces12 (or thematic-level sub-committees in the nomenclatureof some DIPECHO partners) have been established to mobilise disaster-affected people based on theirinterests and the special skills they can contribute. The goal of DIPECHO is to mobilise task force membersinstantly without having them duplicate their roles. The early warning system (EWS) taskforces workparticularly well and trust among the members of communities is growing. Monthly meetings of task forcesprovide a good platform to discuss disaster and other social issues collectively, to come up with ideas toaddress them, and to review their plans of action as per evolving needs. In this regard, Mr Ramdev Yadav,Secretary, DN-CDMC Saptari, had this to say: Previously we all operated individually and did not engage in collective action and efforts. Though we did have plenty of skills and knowledge to carry out DRR, we only realised recently that we, as a community, are skilful in DRR because we were so dispersed before and because our actions were almost non- existent. However, after working with the DIPECHO project, we were surprised to discover that local actions are a fundamental part of successful DRR. Because we are involved in the various task forces, our roles are defined; as a result, our actions are prompt. There is a kind of healthy competition among task force members. I am confident that we will do even better in the future as we are committed to improving.Like Ramdev, many opined that DRR taskforces perform well as members are able to translate skills andknowledge acquired from trainings, orientations, and interactions into practice. The majority of taskforcemembers interviewed have a clear understanding of their jobs and duties. Even those who are not taskforce                                                            8 The terminology used by the eight DIPECHO partners varies for disaster committee at community/VDC level: the Danish Red Cross uses ‘DPUnit’; Mercy Corps, DPC; Oxfam, CDMC; ActionAid, DMC; Practical Action, DRRC; and Care Nepal, VDMC.9 They are lowest administrative unit of the government of Nepal.10 Though DN-CDMCs exist in 22 districts, they are still nascent and the processes they will adopt and the guidelines which will govern them havenot yet been finalized.11 The NN-CDMC was formed in 2008. In order to serve as a multi-stakeholders platform to mainstream DRR in national-level development policyand action.12 Task forces include search and rescue, food and water, shelter and non-food items, communication and coordination, EWS, and health andsanitation.15 | P a g e   
  16. 16. members are familiar with the roles and functions of the task forces. However, in some cases, there areinstitutional gaps as not all task force coordinators are members of the local DMC. As a result, it is difficultfor the DMC to its plans and programmes and to make sure that task force members carry out theirassigned roles and duties during emergencies. In the project areas of ActionAid and Oxfam, REFLECT13circles and Strengthening Women To Develop Leadership in Development (SWOLID), which function at astill more local level, have been formed at the community level. In Sunsari District, musibat bahas kendra(REFLECT circle) are the major forums for discussion, assessment and action with respect to reducingdisaster risks.DMCs have been formed at the community and VDC levels to look after disaster-related activities. Thearchitecture of the DMC is designed in such a way that each is linked with a VDC and with district-levelgovernment structures. In particular, DMCs are involved in the periodic planning processes of both DDCsand VDCs; as a result, their issues find a place in the resultant plans. DMCs are effective social platformswhich serve a dual function: to steer all taskforces and to coordinate DP and response work. However,DMCs will not be registered and thus legally bound until the Disaster Management Act is fully enacted bythe Constitutional Assembly. There is a concern that the current level of interest and the quality of DMCsmay decline before then. As their role is seasonal (they are most active during the hazard-prone monsoonseason), it may be difficult to imbue them with the same spirit and institutional strength year-round. Not allDMCs have fully internalised the idea that they should perform tasks from preparedness to mitigation andrelief to response throughout the year.DMC members14 focus their discussions on disaster-related Box 3: Four fundamental questions toissues and vulnerability reduction and hold regular meetings ask in order to ensure social inclusionto plan, design, and implement action plans. The Danish Red • Which people in the community are mostCross has provided DMCs with furniture, cupboards, and affected by disasters?relief and rescue materials in order to promote the • Who will be the most vulnerable people inestablishment of offices, which are generally housed in local the community if a disaster occurs in thepublic buildings, schools or local clubs. Because DMCs are near future?well-informed and their actions well-coordinated their efforts • Who needs more skills, information andare appreciated by local level stakeholders. DMCs are gender- knowledge related to disasterand socially-inclusive though to varying degrees: not only do preparedness?their members come from all ethnic, religious, linguistic, caste • Which people in the community are mostand political groups but they have inculcated the culture of marginalised and excluded fromlistening to the voices of the previously voiceless. In the development endeavours?establishment of a DMC, four fundamental questions (see Box3) are kept in mind. People are aware that it is essential that women, the elderly, persons with disabilitiesand other marginalised groups participate in DP efforts. In many project areas, women had assumed keyleadership positions; in Bhajani, Kailali, for example, there are women bhalmansha15. The role bhalmanshaplay in Tharu communities has been strengthened because one key project strategy is to foster local cultureand practices. Mr Hiru Lal Chaudhary, bhalmansha of Thapapur-2, Kailali expressed this opinion about howDMCs were able to capitalise on the local cultural context: DMCs act as parental organizations. During the decade-long armed conflict, the socio-cultural values of Tharu society largely collapsed. With the emergence of DMCs, however, our cultural values have been                                                            13 REFLECT (Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques) is an approach to literacy and social change which fusesthe political philosophy of Paolo Freire with the methodologies of participatory rural appraisal. Reflect centers are located in public places, sheltersor schools where the members of DMCs and task forces as well as other men and women can easily access them.14 Each DMC is representative of the members of the community from which it is derived. Thus, it includes a variety of people, including teachers,farmers, nurses, youth club members, women, PwDs, children, the elderly, water and forest user group member, the poor, and the marginalized.15 The first level warning was to alert the villagers of the incoming flood. Second level warning was for the people to act on the first warning and tocollect important document and dry foods. Third level warning was to get people to safe places in the higher grounds with their family members,livestock and important belongings.16 | P a g e   
  17. 17. restored. The role of the bhalmansha is a much respected one in society. Assigning bhalmasha to serve as DMC chairpersons maintained social harmony and the accepted protocols of the community. Pleased by their new, expanded role, the bhalmanshas of 19 communities in Thapapur, Kailal District, federated so that they can address large disaster events through a socially harmonious relationship. I think DRR endeavours will never peter out and die as DMCs are connected with to local culture and no one can break cultural ties.DMC have full authority to plan, design and implement local-level preparedness and mitigation work, andtheir authority extends to the procurement of materials. Through various trainings, they have beenstrengthened so that they can act as local-level advocates, mobilise internal resources, and claim their rightsto external resources for DRR activities. Each DMC the study team consulted has a DP and a contingencyplan to respond to disasters. Since VDC secretaries have to approve community/VDC-level plans, there is astrong link between DMCs and VDC. However, DMCs formed at the community level often find it difficultto access resources from the VDC. As the majority of VDC secretaries are not locals, they may be temptedto use VDC resources for purposes other than disaster works. In addition, while DDCs have, as per theconditions of the NSDRM, circulated a directive to VDCs to from a VDC-level DMC, this directive will notbe legally binding document until a new act is formulated. The DMC of Prata-5, Udayapur District, is anexception: it has prepared it a stature and is in the process of legally registering at the district administrationoffice.The training and materials provided to each DMC helped them serve their intended functions. To illustrate,they were trained in light search, rescue and evacuation operations and now have the knowledge and skillsthey need to search for and rescue missing people after a disaster as well as to evacuate children, theelderly, persons with disabilities and pregnant women first using rescue and relief materials appropriately.Each DMC includes volunteers trained in first aid and an emergency kit at the ready. However, because theseasonal migration of youths and men to India to earn their livelihood is very high in some communities,targeting training at these groups may simply be a waste of resources. In Doti District, first aid training andkits are especially beneficial because people have to walk at least three hours (in some instances) to reachthe nearest sub-health post. DMCs have also established local-level protocols. In Bhajani, Kailali District, forexample, children are prohibited from swimming when rivers are in full spate as there is too much risk ofsnake bite and of being carried away by the current. DMCs have been instrumental in replacing people’spreviously passive and fatalistic attitude with a “we-can-do” outlook. Mr. Nabanandan Mourya, the DMCchairperson of Nawajigaun of Banke, highlighted the role of training and life-saving equipment: DMCs impart skills that we need. We can trust DMCs because their structure is based on the principles of gender empowerment and social inclusion. DMCs have received various types of life-saving equipment which helps members translated the knowledge they have acquired into action. Sometimes I wonder why no agency was able to provide us with such materials in the past, especially as their cost is very low compared to the benefits they provide. To achieve true empowerment, training alone does not make an impact. Similarly, the distribution of materials without training is also ineffective. We are grateful that DIPECHO managed to provide us with both materials and training. With a boat in the community, a first aid box at the school, and rope and buckets in individual houses, we have been able to reduce the risks of disasters considerably.Each DMC sends two representatives, one male and one female, to the DN-CDMC. Each DN-CDMC inturn is successful in coordinating with district-level stakeholders, sharing resources, and advocating for therights of disaster-affected families. The DP Units promoted by the Danish Red Cross have federated withthe existing network16 of the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) and district disaster response teams(DDRTs) have been established to respond at the district level. These DDRTs are effective. For example,                                                            16 NRCS has 75 district chapters, one in each district, and over 1000 sub-chapters.17 | P a g e   
  18. 18. when there was a fire in a VDC in Sarlahi District, the DN-CDMC easily coordinated relief and response; inthe past, however, such an effort—even on a small scale--would have taken several days to months toimplement. Because of the DN-CDMCs, some mitigation measures have received government support.District soil conservation offices, for instance, have provided gabion boxes and sacks to control erosion anddistrict forest offices have supplied seedlings and timber. These inputs are only a few of the many examplesof government action.A 19-member NN-CDMC17 comprised of DN-CDMCs representatives from each development region—one male, one female to achieve gender balance--has been formed at the central level. Its roles are alsosimilar to those of the DN-CDMCs but the activities it conducts are done at the central level. Both districtand the national network have prepared protocols18 for resource allocation. They are an effective means oflinking the people to the government structure so that their voices can be heard and also of makinggovernment officials more responsive and accountable to the people. As DMCs themselves are not fullyinstitutionalised, however, it will be difficult to fully institutionalise the networks which they constitute.Networks have played a crucial role as pressure groups capable of alerting the national and district disasterrelief committee of the need for mitigation and preparedness. Their continuous policy advocacy saw manypositive developments: the NSDRM was enforced19; the commitment of government officials and constituentassembly members to enact the proposed Disaster Management Act has been increased; concerned lineministries and line agencies have appointed disaster focal persons; VDC secretaries in project districts havebeen trained in DRR; and disaster risks management stakeholders were jointly engaged in making a DRRtool kit20. The multi-agency DRR tool kit initiative was facilitated by ActionAid. It was designed to informand sensitise Constituent Assembly (CA) members of Nepal so that they would be able and willing tostrengthen the country’s DRR framework. ActionAid, together with other DIPECHO partners, has usedadvocacy to create an enabling DRR policy environment. At the central level, DIPECHO partners jointlyorganised activities on the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR21) Day, Earthquake SafetyDay22, and World Environment Day in order to sensitise people and stakeholders about the importance ofDRR. About the usefulness of networks, Mr Hanuman Godiya, DMC Treasurer of Gangapur, Banke sharedthis opinion: We are very happy that, two members of our DMC, Namanandan Mourya and Ali Ahamad Mukeri, are represented in the NN-CDMC. Because they represent our area, they have shared our concerns and issues to policymakers and high-level governmental officials. Our voices are now loud enough to reach the level of policymakers and project designers. Networks enabled us to get many resources for both community development and risk reduction initiatives.Because they understand the crucial role local plans play in responding to disaster, DIPECHO partnersfacilitated the preparation of community-based disaster risk management (DRM) plans at the VDC andmunicipality levels. ActionAid also strengthened the National Platform Strategy in close partnership with theMoHA. The social structures to make great strides in achieving DRR are in place. Whether or not the                                                            17 AINTGDM (Oxfam, ActionAid, World Vision, UMN, LWF) initiated this mission at the national level with the support of other DIPECHO partnersand DRR stakeholders. The NN-CDMC has organised and represented disaster-affected people from 22 flood and landslide affected districtsrepresenting all over the country. It ensures that their voices are heard by all stakeholders and policy makers at the national level.18 DN-CDMCs have begun to collect data on the existing DMCs with support from Oxfam, ActionAid, Lutheran, CIDA, the Centre for DisasterManagement (CDM), and the Koshi Victims Society, as well as from DDCs. They collect Rs. 250 from each DMC as a membership fee. Of the total,50% goes to the VDC-level network, 30% to the DN-CDMC, and 20% to the NN-CDMC.19 UNDP DIPECHO provided technical support to develop the NSDRM along with other DRR stakeholders.20 A DDR tool kit, or information package, was developed for the DRR stakeholders in Nepal with the joint input of 16 organisations and networks,including INGOs, the United Nations, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and NGOs. Initially, just one thousand copies were prepared for CA members;later, they were widely distributed.21 In October 2009, the DIPECHO partners provided the NN-CDMC with the support it needed to mark the UN’s ISDR Day.22 The DIPECHO partners provided support to the National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET) to organise Earthquake Safety Day inKathmandu. The activities included raising awareness about the risk of earthquakes in Nepal and advocating for the government and otherstakeholders to adopt measures to mitigate and prepare for this risk.18 | P a g e   
  19. 19. innovations thus far implemented will be sustainable or not will now depend on the functionality of theinstitutions in the long run.2.1.2 Right to participationAfter conducting a thorough analysis of the level of understanding of disaster-affected people and DMCmembers, the study team concluded that people are aware of their fundamental rights and of the legalobligation of government to provide them with protection from disaster risks. In a series of interactions andcapacity-building initiatives, DIPECHO partners shared with people the basic norms and standards of therelief and response system laid out in the Natural Calamity Relief Act (NCRA) of 1982. Mr. Khalil Mansuri,the DMC chairperson of Inarwara-6, Khikharipatti, Sunsari, said this about the response norms: Before the DIPECHO projects, we had a very limited idea about our fundamental rights and the response package we are entitled to. We believed that relief materials were provided merely out of compassion on the part of the organisations involved. Now, because of information shared, we know that the government must provide Rs. 25,000 to the family of every person who dies. Injured persons are entitled to treatment and to a transportation allowance to return home. Seriously injured people should be airlifted to a well-equipped hospital. Those whose houses are destroyed are entitled to Rs. 10,000. If a disaster threatens or if a house is temporarily unsafe to live in, then up to Rs. 5000 shall be provided to arrange for temporary accommodations. We found out about such things because the projects emphasise people’s right of participation.It must be acknowledged, however, that not all people are as aware about response norms as Khalil is. Theright of participation of the deprived and marginalised sections of the society was reinforced by the advocacyof DMCs, task forces and networks. ActionAid, Oxfam and Handicap International employ a rights-basedapproach to their development, humanitarian and advocacy works which ensures the right of participationto disaster- affected people focusing inclusive DRR.While in the past, people assumed that the right to participate was an act of mercy bestowed upon them,now they understand that it is a right they are entitled to and have begun to advocate that duty bearers fulfiltheir rights. A series of interactions and advocacy initiatives have enabled them to learn-- in varying degrees--about multi-sectoral policies, plans, rules, regulations, and disaster legislation. Community mobilisation inDRR ensures that both communities and volunteers will participate actively. This participatory approach isjust one of many ways that has helped secure people’s right to participate. Participation has made a valuablecontribution to community efforts in reducing vulnerability and ensuring human security by demonstrating toall that all are entitled to secure their fundamental rights through legal and policy instruments as well ascultural codes. Sometimes harmony among people and organisations collapses and it is not possible forpeople to secure their rights, but since the basic norms of a value-based approach are in place, people’srights are not violated if the environment is harmonious.By adopting a gender- and socially-inclusive approach, one that puts the last first, DIPECHO partners haveensured that everyone has the right to participate in planning for and implementing DRR. Even persons withdisabilities and the elderly, traditionally among the most neglected groups, are given due and equalimportance in the DRR process. The success of sensitising individuals with disabilities and their neighboursabout their rights and duties with respect to participation in DRR interventions has been enhanced by thedistribution of assistive devices (through the support of Handicap International) that enable persons withdisabilities to participate. Initiatives by the DIPECHO partners, such as including systematically a person withdisability into the DMCs and other DRR related committees and facilitating their acceptance, recognitionand active participation have enabled to give a practical application of the right to participate.19 | P a g e   
  20. 20. 2.1.3 Financial resourcesDIPECHO project communities have accessed financial and material resources from local governmentbodies in order to reduce the impact of disasters and to recover from disasters. Local people have helped toraise financial resources by establishing emergency funds, collecting grains, making cash collection throughmonthly saving and credit programmes, and carrying out “fistful of rice” campaigns in which contributions inkind are collected.The communities in all DIPECHO project area have established emergency funds. In ActionAid’s projectarea, 19 DMCs have raised more than NRs 555,000. They have also prepared guidelines for the best use ofemergency funds to carry out actions which they themselves have prioritised clearly. In Myagdi District, thecommunities of Aula and Torakhet raised NRs 147,000 and NRs 48,000 respectively in just one year. Inmost areas, funds are collected monthly as part of a savings scheme. Recognising the relevance of emergencyfunds, the DDRC chairperson (Chief District Officer) in Myagdi has proposed that all district-levelstakeholders establish a similar sort of fund for mobilisation in line with local needs. Some DIPECHOpartners have given each DMC a seed grant varying in amount from NRs 5000 (Danish Red Cross) to NRs50,000 (ActionAid) to encourage members to add to the revolving fund.Some DMC members collect grains after every harvest. When the bins are full, they sell the grain anddeposit the proceeds in their emergency fund. During emergencies, “fast foods” such as beaten rice, salt,biscuits, noodles and sugar were procured using the emergency fund so that there would be no delay inproviding relief. DMCs do not give out cash except in the case medical treatment is required. Thisrestriction ensures that resources are not misused. Mr Khum Bahadur Khadka, Bhajani-1 Rajwara, Kailaliopinion about grain collection is typical: With small contributions, we have been successful in exploiting financial resources at the local level. We simply systematise the use of things that we already have. We have passed a rule that after each harvest, each family has to raise 1 paseri (2.5 kg) paddy. Because this amount is very small, every family can afford to contribute, yet if all the contributions are added, the volume is quite large. This year, when some houses in Kushumghat of Kailali burnt down, we immediately provided them with grain from the emergency fund. In Lalbhoji, Kailali District, schools also established emergency funds, raising NRs 5 from each student so that the schools could be equipped with first aid kits. The value of a first aid kit to a school is well worth the NRs 5 per month students pay. What is really important is how to use collective action to make things easier. Until a few years ago, we used to spend NRs 2500 to get materials worth NRs 250 from Dhangadhi (District headquarters of Kailali District). The most important thing we have learned is that VDC officials are our friends, not our enemies. We are quite happy that VDCs have contributed a lot in terms of implementing small-scale mitigation initiatives and providing money for our emergency funds.Besides monthly savings programmes and “fistful of rice”, DIPECHO relied on community contributions,volunteer labour, and youth mobilisation in order to raise materials resources.In some areas, emergency funds are channelled into entrepreneurial and household uses using a savings-and-credit or other modality23. Although money is used in non-humanitarian sectors, a minimum amount isalways maintained in the balance in order to ensure that sufficient money is available for any emergency thatarises. Some communities have given the needy loans from their emergency funds. However, as not all thevulnerable households of any given community are involved in raising cash through saving schemes, it is oftendifficult to maintain a balance between savers and non-savers, and sometimes this disparity forms the seed ofdisputes.                                                            23  In Doti District, for example, NRs 11,000 was collected for an emergency fund through the efforts of two cooperatives which were establishedwith financial assistance from the Lutheran World Foundation for some 5-7 years back. 20 | P a g e   
  21. 21. DMCs are able to leverage resources from local and district governments for DRR. In some instances, theadvocacy of DMCs has had very positive results: VDCs allocate budget explicitly to serve as emergencyfunds. Kamdi VDC in Banke District has the impressive allocation--NRs.350,000—while Narshingh VDC ofSunsari allocated NRs. 30,000 and Matehiya and Gangapur VDCs of Banke District have allocated NRs.19,000 each. In Kailali District, the VDCs of Narayanpur and Dhansingpur have allocated about one-third oftheir total budgets (roughly eight to nine hundred thousand rupees) for DRR activities, particularly small-scale mitigation works. Even where money has not been allocated, government and other stakeholders areinformed about and support the endeavours of DMCs. The Home Affairs and Local Development ministrieswork together with DIPECHO partners, DDCs and the Department of Water-Induced Disaster Preventiontogether made bio-dykes to protect river banks, and VDCs allocated resources to execute VDC-levelcontingency plans. Because DIPECHO projects are transparent, district governments are very willing toprovide co- or parallel funding for low-cost mitigation work. The Kamdi DMC of Banke District was evenable to get resources from the contractors who sell sand, stone and boulders from the river bank abuttingtheir community. However, they spent these resources more on mitigation and response work than onpreparedness initiatives.In cases where projects clusters are found only in a limited number of wards within a VDC, however, it isoften difficult to channel VDCs funds to DRR activities. Another problem is that project wards aremarginalised in terms of getting other community development work implemented because VDCs believethat the big project, meaning DIPECHO, will look after their emerging needs. Learning reflected that it isbetter to include an entire VDC within any given project area to ensure that VDC resources will bemobilised and that initiatives will be sustainable.2.1.4 Human resourcesDIPECHO project communities have far more trained human resources than non-DIPECHO project areas.Representatives of each project community are provided with training in how to reduce risks and how torespond to disaster. In fact, realising the important role that trained human resources can play in DRR andimmediate disaster response initiatives, all DIPECHO partners have made capacity building a key componentof their efforts. Teachers; media personnel; the members of DMCs, task forces, child and youth clubs, andwomen’s groups; volunteers; local NGO staff; and people in the private sector were among those involvedin capacity-building initiatives. Trainings and orientations have been designed so that the strengths, capacities,and resources available in communities and institutions can be effectively mobilised to reduce disaster risks.Capacity building aims to strengthen community cohesion and social bonds, increase people’s ability to makeinformed choices regarding their wellbeing, and enhance self-confidence through involvement in decision-making processes among other goals. Most of the trainings used a cascade model, in which DMC members,teachers and students are trained to serve as lead trainers and local resource persons who can later sharetheir knowledge with their peers and other people. The emphasis is on translating the knowledge acquiredinto action. Learning from the Mid-and Far-West development regions demonstrate that it is wise to includewomen and children in capacity-building initiatives because many men migrate to India and are absent fromthe village during the peak emergency period in the monsoon24.The process of developing trained human resources began with assessing the knowledge, attitudes andpractices of communities with respect to DP and DRR using a baseline study. Based on ParticipatoryVulnerability Analysis (PVA) and Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) tools, hazards andvulnerability were mapped; such assessment tools were able to gauge the existing level of information, skillsand knowledge and identify the gaps that needed to be filled in order to carry out DRR successfully and todesign an appropriate curriculum. Capacity-building initiatives focused on arming people with the skills and                                                            24 Once paddy is transplanted in mid or late July, men migrate to India only to return at harvest time in November. Some, however, stay the entireyear and return only in July to support paddy transplantation. Migrants are not at home during August and September, which are the most flood-prone months.21 | P a g e   
  22. 22. knowledge they need in order to increase their resilience and be able to withstand even large disasters.They also enhanced the skills of both individuals and communities as a whole so that people takeresponsibility for mitigating disaster risks, rather than expecting and waiting for external support. In otherwords, capacity building emphasises what communities themselves can do rather than on what they wouldlike others to do for them.Under the capacity-building component, DIPECHO partners facilitated a range of trainings at different levels,including refresher trainings. Some of these trainings and their outcomes are presented in Box 4. Box 4: Some of important trainings and their outcome • Community-based DRR trainings increased knowledge about DRR and heightened awareness about hazards and risk reduction strategies. • Trainings in and simulations of light search and rescue developed people’s skills in searching for and rescuing missing people. • Emergency response trainings improved the skills needed to manage emergency responses using local resources. • Trainings in basic first aid accompanied by the provision of kits enabled people to provide immediate medical attention before transporting the injured to health posts or hospitals for further treatment if needed. • Health and hygiene trainings helped teach vulnerable populations how to stay healthy during and after disasters. • Leadership and community mobilisation trainings have improved peoples confidence to deal with disaster events. • Gender and social inclusion trainings have ensured that DMCs, task forces and networks are socially inclusive and have developed a culture of listening to the voice of those who used to be voiceless. • Nursery management and bio-dyke trainings have enhanced using indigenous knowledge and skills in using locally available materials and resources for riverbank protection. • Community-based EWS trainings have reduced the vulnerability of flood-prone communities by developing a communication that enables people to prepare in advance. • Inclusive DRR trainings have updated recent innovations in DRR, in particular, introducing a disability legislative framework and facilitating techniques to ensure the meaningful participation of persons with di bili iOverall, capacity-building initiatives are highly instrumental (see box 5) in preparing communities and schools Box 5: New initiative in capacity building ActionAid has successfully used national-level policy advocacy to build capacity. With other civil society organisations, it has mobilised national-level stakeholders by organising a series of awareness campaigns, rallies, and mass demonstrations and by raising DRR and climate adaptation issues at different forums for debate. In particular, it worked with concerned ministers and CA members to advocate that they adopt a strong DRR policy framework. The DRR Tool Kit and Sensitisation Workshop it held for CA members were milestone in the area of policy advocacy for DRR: CA members are now committed to passing the Disaster Management Bill. More than 100 of the 400 CA members and political leaders approached participated in the orientation on DRR issues, the first such interaction with elected representatives in the country. Regional administrators, chief district officers, and local development officers were also oriented to DRR and DP in three of Nepal’s five regions: the Far-West, Mid- West, and Eastern regions. A total of 216 participants attended these orientation workshops and more than 123 VDC secretaries of the three flood-prone districts of Sunsari, Udaypur and Banke were trained in DRR planning process. VDC secretaries were also trained in mainstreaming DRR into development by DIPECHO partner Practical participate voluntarily in DDR and to build institutional capacity to carry out DRR. They also increasepeople’s understanding of the problems they face and help to recommend suitable actions that will serve as22 | P a g e   
  23. 23. steps forward in a continual process of empowerment. Training programmes are short—just three to fivedays--so that people can easily spare the time to participate. Training guidelines have been distributed toserve as reference materials in the future and basic equipment has been distributed so that people can putthe skills and knowledge they acquire into action. By conducting refresher trainings, DIPECHO partnershave further sharpened people’s skills and knowledge.2.1.5 Schools and health facilitiesSo that they will be able to provide prompt services, schools and hospitals established committees to planand carry out disaster prevention measures as well as to prepare for responding to disasters. For the mostpart, these committees function well.It was easy to carry out DRR-related activities at schools and in their vicinity because each school inDIPECHO project areas has a school-level DMC which has formulated a DP and contingency plan focusingon a range of activities, including mitigation activities. Students, teachers and school management committee(SMC) members have not only increased their skills and knowledge by participating in trainings in DP, lightsearch and rescue, and first aid but have also taken action. For example, they pruned or cut down tall treeswithin school grounds, built compound walls to keep livestock out, and levelled school compounds toreduce accidents. Many schools built railings on stairs and around verandas. Other initiatives includedplantation and protection work, like the construction of spurs and bio-dykes, in order to control soilerosion. Under the leadership of child clubs and school DMCs and with the support of community-levelDMCs, small wooden river crossings were built to facilitate the movement of children to and from schoolduring the monsoon season.DMCs were also formed at the sub-health post level. Local health personnel are included in community firstaid task forces so that they will assume responsibility for providing health services during disasters.DIPECHO also arranged to re-supply first aid kits after medicines and other materials ran out. Ms SunitaChaudhary, DMC Member, Rampura, Nawalparasi praised the mobilisation of health personnel underDIPECHO projects: Health post personnel have made a significant contribution to raising awareness about why drinking water needs to be purified and how to avoid the emergence of water-borne epidemic during and after floods. We benefited a lot from the many awareness-raising campaigns. Even simple steps for making clean drinking water available deserve commendation. As inundation often continues for day, the aftermath of flooding has a big impact on us: the incidence of water-borne diseases increase and many large livestock die. After we addressed drinking water, our next initiative was how to destroy dead livestock timely and appropriately. Because of simple initiatives, floods are not as devastating as they used to be. 2.2 Priority action 2: Risk assessment: Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhanceearly warningThe achievements in risk assessment are discussed in terms of two areas: disaster risks assessment and earlywarning system.2.2.1 Disaster risk assessmentsDIPECHO partners initially held meetings with representatives of all segments of the community, includingwomen and vulnerable groups, in order to assess the existing disaster risks. Since then, periodic community-level meetings of task forces and DMCs have been held to assess developments in mitigating disaster risks.DIPECHO partners used participatory approaches like PVA, VCA and Hazard, Vulnerability and CapacityAssessment (HVCA) to identify potential hazards and the vulnerabilities and capacities of communities and23 | P a g e   
  24. 24. to plan for specific adaptation and risk reduction measures. Participation not only helped individuals,households and communities to recognise their weaknesses and capacities in terms of addressing theimpacts of hazards but also prepared them to reduce their vulnerabilities through local-level efforts. MsRekha Nepali, SMC member of Rastriya Lower Secondary School, Dhansinghpur of Kailali lauded thebenefits of these participatory tools and techniques: In the past we did not know how to respond to disasters in order to reduce their impacts. We did not even know how to initiate the process of disaster response. We learned about the importance of disaster risk assessment for the very first time when DIPECHO started its projects. At informal meetings and discussions, we prepared many mappings (I’ve forgotten their names) which clearly identified disaster- prone areas, settlements, existing infrastructures and institutions, disaster-sensitive months, what to do and what not to do, and other topics. We also explored what basic works we can carry out to reduce our vulnerability to disaster and allocated roles and responsibilities for coping with disaster.During a disaster risks assessment, information is collected, collated and analysed. The particular tasksundertaken include the following. • Prepare hazard, risk, and vulnerability maps and share them with relevant stakeholders to assess their reliability and validity • Correct and update those maps and share them with relevant stakeholders and duty bearers and communities so that natural and related hazards, vulnerabilities and disaster impacts can be forecasted • Identify the most-at-risk-populations and places of society, emerging risks and their nature • Prioritise risks • Analyse25 the information derived from these process • Prepare both short- and long-term community-based DRM plans taking into account capacity, the extent of the problems identified, and their impacts—all information derived from the participatory exercises • Develop community-agreed indicators of disaster risk and vulnerability for use in periodic monitoring of progress as part of a self-evaluation process • Follow up on disaster-stricken areas regularly in order to enhance preparedness activities • Assess the impact of projects using pre- and post-project evaluations of knowledge, attitude and practice. • Mercy Corps carried out a DMC Capacity Index study as part of impact assessment.Participatory assessment at the community level has some flaws. Because people do not have adequatetechnical knowledge about the geology of the hills or the geo-hydrology of the rivers in the Tarai, it is oftendifficult to assess the level of risk and hazards with precision. As a result, the design of structural mitigationworks is often poor and, as a result, so is their performance. Despite this problem, communities have, infact, used participatory disaster risk assessments to identify disaster risks and develop community-baseddisaster risks management plans (under whatever name the different DIPECHO partners gave them). Theywere then able to use those plans to influence policy and to raise awareness about changing behaviours inorder to create safer societies.Considering the nature of different hazards, DIPECHO partners carried out different approaches. As part ofdisaster risks assessment, Care Nepal carried out action research on landslides in Doti District and assessedthe causes, effects and appropriate community-level solutions for landslide hazards. Its assessment wasinstrumental in designing appropriate actions for responding to the landslides. In Humla District, MissionEast carried out a comparative risk assessment to help mountain communities respond to disaster risks.                                                            25   The analysis comprised four steps: (i) situation analysis of community vulnerability, (ii) analysis of the causes and effects of that vulnerability, (iii)analysis of community action (existing coping mechanisms), and (iv) drawing up a community action plan based on that analysis. 24 | P a g e   
  25. 25. Practical Action developed, published and disseminated a community-based DRM planning guideline basedon comprehensive disaster risks assessment. Mercy Corps carried out a cost-benefits analysis based on itsdisaster risk assessment and educated people about the reasons for investing in mitigating flood-induceddisasters. All these initiatives have helped increase the peoples understanding about disaster risks and howto cope with them, but whether or not they will be continued will depend on how well DMCs and theirnetworks function.2.2.2 Early warning systemsDIPECHO project communities have developed EWS to raise awareness about potential risks. Forgenerations, people living in the rural areas of Nepal have drawn upon indigenous knowledge systems toforecast floods. The EWS adopted enhanced and built upon the strengths of those systems. Some of theforecasting systems that people rely on are described briefly in Box 6: Box 6: Some of the forecasting systems that people rely on • Clouds: Stationary black clouds in the east suggest there will be heavy rain within the hour. If clouds turn yellow at the time of sunset, then there is a possibility of rain at night. • Rainfall: If there is heavy rainfall in the upper catchment and the Churia Hills, then the possibility of flooding increases. • Mobility of ants: If a heavy rainfall is imminent, a colony of ants living in the earth will take their eggs and climb trees or the walls of houses, seeking safer place. • Abnormal fly bites: If flies do not bite in the ordinary way, there is a possibility of a heavy rain. • Abnormal crying of animals, birds and insects: Abnormally loud or long cries by frogs, jackals, swans, and cicada suggest that there will be a heavy rainfall. The abnormal howling of jackals at night is considered a bad omen. • Storms: If thunderstorms come from the southeast or if wind blows from east to west, there is a possibility of a heavy rain. If the wind suddenly stops blowing in the evening, there may be a cloudburst • Stars: If the stars twinkle differently, people predict a heavy rain. • Heat: If, all of a sudden, the temperature suddenly rises, people expect a heavy rainfall. • Rivers: The strange sounds of torrents, a muddy smell, water bubbles on the surface, and rising water levels are all sign of an imminent flood.In the Tharu communities of Kailali District, efforts in DRR build on the existing cultural milieu and valuesystem: aghariya26 assumed the responsibility for monitoring floods as assigned by bhalmasha27. In Dhunganasettlement of Thapapur VDC, a tower constructed by the Dolphin Conservation Centre is used to monitorflooding, as are wooden posts and elevated machan28.Indigenous EWS have been modified and re-introduced in order to build the capacity of disaster-affectedpeople. DIPECHO partners, particularly Practical Action, ActionAid and Mercy Corps, have establishedcommunity-based EWS to address flood hazards in vulnerable communities and to build community-wideawareness and response capacity in flood-prone areas. These EWS put people, not just technology, at theircentre. To popularise the concept of community-based EWS two slogans--“purbasuchana: sabai ka lagi sabaimarphat (“early warning for all from all”) and “purbasuchana ko bistar: jokhim nyunikaran ko aadhar” (“thepromotion of early warning: the basis for reducing risk”)—were introduced through FM radio and produceIEC materials.                                                            26 An agharia is an assistant to a bhalmasha who circulates messages to local people as instructed by that bhalmasha. 27  The first level warning was to alert the villagers of the incoming flood. Second level warning was for the people to act on the first warning andto collect important document and dry foods. Third level warning was to get people to safe places in the higher grounds with their familymembers, livestock and important belongings.28 A raised tower made up of wood or bamboo and used to look out for marauding elephants. It is now also used for flood monitoring. 25 | P a g e   
  26. 26. River gauge readers in upstream communities notified the coordinators of the EWS task force when riversapproached flood levels. The coordinators then verified the situation by observing downstream gaugemeters themselves and informed the community by using large loudspeakers and hand mikes so that theywould have sufficient warning time to be well prepared. Mr Dil Bahadur Chaudhary, the coordinator of thecommunity FM Radio in Tikapur, Kailali, said that Tikapur’s community-based EWS was very effective: The project provided ropes, sticks and torches to promoter individual safety and prepare us to evacuate to shelters safely. Persons with disabilities, pregnant women, children, and the elderly in particular are prepared to face disasters; their resilience has increased significantly. The most important aspect of EWS is that it has given us more time to prepare by informing us in advance. For example, to move from Chisapani to Narayanpur, flood waters take five-and-a-half hours; this time is enough to gather important belongings towards safer places or shelters. In the past, such facilities did not exist.Though the installation of gauges is akin to engineering work, DIPECHO projects made sure to simplify theiruse so that communities learned how to measure average water levels and to determine higher, warninglevels. In addition to flood and rain gauges, local-level flood observation posts marking high, medium, andlow flow with different colours (red, yellow and green respectively29 to mark no danger, caution and dangerrequiring evacuation) were installed as they are easy to interpret and readily alert communities. The levelswere based on the last ten years of experience of the local people, both those up and downstream, atinteractive meetings. However, it is possible that the bed levels of the rivers might have changed significantlyand that the flood levels observed in the past no longer accurately represents the present time and that theywill not do for the future. Since annual sedimentation rates in Nepal are very high, it would be best to verifythe flood-level markings after determining the rise in river bed levels due to sedimentation. In OxfamDIPECHO programme areas, a system of colour-coded flags is used to notify the hearing impaired. HandicapInternational also has designed a people-centred EWS which includes all members of the community,especially those who are most vulnerable and most-at-risk of not acknowledging the warning. In doing so, itgot all segments of the population, including persons with disabilities, to participate and set up community-based communication networks.When water levels rise to dangerous levels, people are alerted through hand mikes, sirens, and telephones30;the entire community gets the message. Where there are no sirens or hand mikes, traditional musicalinstruments like the percussive dhol31 and madal32 are used to inform people. In this way, local people areinformed about the possibility of heavy flooding. In addition, the project mobilised local FM stations todisseminate emergency news, weather-related bulletins, and DRR-related jingles in local dialects.Life-saving equipment, including first aid kits, life jackets, boats, ropes, tubes, torch lights and stretchers havebeen provided to each EWS task force so that they can also carry out rescues. The equipment is in verygood condition and has been put to use well. Many task forces have prepared protocols prescribing the bestuse of the equipment. Since a blanket approach was used in the distribution of materials some EWS taskforces have ended up with equipment they rarely use, like life jackets and tubes among hill groups.The approach to alerting communities to landslide in the hills is different. The Danish Red Cross, along withcommunity people, developed the following indicators for landslide-based EWS which they use to determinewhen to adopt precautionary measures:                                                             30 The telephone numbers of various actors at early information flow and flood measurement stations were pasted in public places for easy access byall community members. Local people have now started to communicate river-level readings obtained from gauge reader to downstream communitymembers via telephone. Handy calendars with details about essential phone numbers are provided to locals.31 These are local instrument used during festivals and religious functions.26 | P a g e   
  27. 27. • Tilting or cracking of concrete floors and foundations • Soil moving away from foundations • Leaning telephone and electricity poles, trees, retaining walls or fences • Crooked fences or distorted retaining walls • New cracks or unusual bulges in the ground or in street pavement • Sticking doors and windows and visible open spaces indicating jambs and frames out of plumbWorking with the mountain communities in Humla District, Mission East developed a set of simpleindicators33 to assess the probability of landslides: it stretched a rope between a stable point and thepotentially unstable slope that will break if the land starts to move and thus alert the population. In itsexperiences three indicators can help measure landslide risk: slope, vegetation and the quantity and intensityof rainfall. It devised a simple toolkit for communities to understand the causes of landslide, measure the riskusing the given indicators, and to be alert if the risk becomes high. The solution is an affordable one whichhas significant numbers of households, human lives and livestock. Ms Padma Devi Deudi, Khirsene-6, DeudiGoan of Doti said: In the long term, we should promote an integrated watershed management approach which entails gully control, terrace improvement, and the preparation of bhalkulo, or diversionary water runoff channels in strategic locations. We are happy that we got support in making bhalkulo though it was very small scale. I think the plantation of medicinal plants, hay, forage, grass, fodder, and bamboo; the control of grazing, and the construction of check dams, spurs, and brushwood dams in strategic locations are good immediate steps. The project opened our eyes to what to works and how to carry out coordinated efforts for making things different.The benefits of comprehensive landslide treatment systems are multifaceted. First, the frequency and theextent of landslides have decreased so much that people are more confident about staying in their nativevillages and once again engaging in different agricultural practices. Second, they have realised that gabionboxes are not enough to control landslides and that bio-engineering is also crucial. Third, the fear andtrauma associated with the monsoon have been declined. Fourth, the conservation of landslide areas hashelped to meet local demands for firewood and timber.In collaboration with Practical Action, Mercy Corps Nepal helped Kailali District prepare a district-levelEWS guideline, which has since been approved by its DDRC, and organised a national EWS strategicworkshop to sensitise stakeholders. The modality of the flood-focused community-based EWS developed byPractical Action, ActionAid and Mercy Corps was replicated by other DIPECHO partners. Practical Actionextended and scaled up EWS in districts other than Banke, Bardiya, Nawalparasi and Chitwan, its base, andprovided support to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DoHM) and other stakeholders toestablish EWS in Koshi River System and Kailali district. Mercy Corps worked with the DoHM to pilot alow-tech flash flood forecasting model suitable for short river systems like those found in Kailali.Community-based EWS helped reduce economic losses by allowing people to better protect their assetsand livelihood in advance. To promote their sustainability, EWS has been integrated with local-levelcontingency plans and partnerships among EWS task forces, DMCs, and VDCs have been established inorder to institutionalise the process. Community-based EWS function well and have created great interestamong disaster-affected people. As ESW are very simple, it is highly likely they will continue to operate evenafter external support is withdrawn.                                                            33 The type and angle of a hill slope have a great influence on landslides. Landslides rarely occur on slopes less than 25°; the large majority oflandslides occur on slopes with gradients ranging from 30° to 50°. The presence or absence of dense vegetation also determines the likelihood of alandslide.27 | P a g e