NEPAL ISSUE 6, DECEMBER 2008
The “Nepal DIPECHO Brief” is a periodic newsletter of the seven organizations currently carrying out DIPECHO
funded programmes in Nepal. It aims to give regular updates on programmes’ progress, with periodic themed
editions. While the work of the projects is supported by the European Commission, through its Humanitarian
Aid department, the views expressed in the brief are those of the partner organizations alone.
HARNESSING ABILITIES FOR COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT…
Surakshit Samudaya, the Action Aid DIPECHO project in Nepal, is built on the empowerment process that tries to
analyse the existing power relations within the community and address issues of disaster vulnerability in that context.
This empowerment process is taken up through the REFLECT process, based on the Freirian principles of literacy and
community empowerment. Participatory Vulnerability Analysis (PVA) considers the relation between power,
vulnerability and rights and acts as a powerful means to propel the process of disaster risk reduction through a
participatory, people led initiative.
Based on the overall mission of Action Aid to work with
the most excluded, marginalized and differentially
vulnerable sections of the society, the PVA process has
identified that people with disability are one such group
who are more often ‘excluded’ and ‘hidden’ from the realm
of any social initiatives including disaster management.
This exclusion happens because of many factors, ranging
from social and cultural fundamentals to sheer ignorance
on disability. Thus, right from the beginning, ActionAid’s
DIPECHO project has consciously targeted people with
disabilities, ensuring that they also become well informed
actors in the grassroots decision-making process.
The community institutions created by the project have
compulsorily included people with disability as members
in the decision making structures called Disaster
Management Committees (DMC). These Committees
have motivated the people in general to place more trust Hand pump being elevated in Malangwa municipality
and responsibility on people with disabilities, encouraging
people to consider abilities beyond disabilities, making
disaster preparedness systems and structures universally
accessible. In all the 14 disaster management committees
formed by the project, people with disabilities play a vital
role in the overall implementation process. Training,
workshops and focus group discussions were conducted
in the target area on mainstreaming disability into the risk
reduction process. Technical support from Handicap
International and Action Aid’s own disability theme unit
were instrumental in developing plans and methods that
aim to generate a change in the mindset of people rather
than inclusion for the sake of inclusion.
There are many examples of small scale mitigation
models constructed by the project that were made
accessible through marginal increase in investments. The
raising of hand pumps, construction of safe shelters and
development of safe exits in project areas are attempts to
make structures and facilities accessible to all.
Disaster preparedness posters include disability as an issue
INCLUSIVE IS EFFECTIVE…….
People with disabilities (PWDs) are among the most vulnerable groups of the society. In view of this, the DIPECHO /
SAMADHAN-II project of CARE strategically adopts inclusive approaches to mainstream the PWDs and other vulnerable
groups in disaster management. To ensure capacity development of staff and partners, trainings and orientations on
inclusive approaches were carried out to enhance the knowledge of the communities.
PWDs are gradually taking an active part in community based disaster management through this project; efforts are being
made to bring them to the mainstream.
Basudev Tharu, a 35-year old person with physical impairment and using a tricycle, is now as confident as any other
disaster risk reduction committee (DRRC) member in his community. He is the vice chair-person of the committee of
Bandarpur in Narayanpur VDC, Kailali. He played an important role in rescuing flood affected people in his own
community and in peripheral areas.
When the entire district was flooded this
year, thousands of people were trapped in
flood water. Basudev’s own family was safe,
at least in terms of not losing lives and
valuables. They had been led to a safer
location by Basudev. Once assured of their
safety, he then hurried to be with his
community.He doesn’t remember how many
families he guided to safer venues and how
many times he managed the boats to be
routed for evacuation. He only thinks how
his community could be made resilient to the
chronic hazards of floods and many other
The project is not only focusing on
enhancing the community capacity in
disaster management, it is also contributes
to ensuring an inclusive approach, where
vulnerable and marginalized people are
Basudev Tharu discussing community contingency plan with the local volunteers
Subir Choudhary, 37 from Dhansinghpur, who is blind, is being involved in the project. He understands the importance
of risk reduction, livelihood security and his right to participate in decision making. He has taken a boat from DRRC on
contract for Rs 800 per month, which goes to the community emergency fund. Subir uses the boat to transport
passengers across the river, and charges Rs. 5 per head. With an average monthly earning of Rs. 3,500 to 4,000, he
easily pays the contractual amount & supports his family. The boat, a mitigation measure under the project, is Subir’s
livelihood source in normal situation, where, as in emergencies it is for rescue, evacuation & life saving.
Subir in his boat taking passengers across the Karnali River, Subir waiting for the passengers
INCLUSIVE EVACUATION AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE
Mercy Corps seeks to address vulnerability throughout various DRR initiatives including planning and implementation.
Along with women and children, people with disabilities (PwD) account for a significant percentage of vulnerable
persons in Mercy Corps supported project areas. Specific capacities and needs of these vulnerable groups are taken
into consideration when the communities prepare plans for evacuation and emergency and are tested through pre-
monsoon simulations. This year the evacuation and emergency plans proved their value in real time testing when all
communities targeted under the project were severely affected by the September 19 flooding in Kailali.
The community search and rescue teams formed and trained under the project were immediately activated when flood
warning information reached the communities through the established Early Warning System. The teams provided not
only assistance to their own communities, but also to the neighbouring communities. The teams played an active role
in rescuing and evacuating a number PwDs to safer areas using rescue equipment, such as boats and lifejackets
provided by the project. If not assisted by the teams, several of the PwDs would have been injured or may have lost
Mercy Corps has identified the need for further awareness raising among various DRR stakeholders assisting with
evacuation and emergency response in the district, after having experienced situations where assistance for PwDs was
refused. Only after interference of project staff was relevant assistance for evacuation provided. Once evacuated to
shelters the project staff advocated for support to PwDs as they were observed being neglected in situations of relief
distribution and other relevant emergency support.
Access to safe areas and evacuation shelters is essential during severe floods, such as this year’s flooding in the Far
Western Region of Nepal. Mercy Corps is therefore partnering with Handicap International for construction of 2 shelters
especially designed for such flood situations and with easy access for PwDs and elderly people via ramps and
elevated access roads.
Design of Emergency Shelter being built in Kailali District
SMILING FOR THE FUTURE
During the floods of 2006 Deepak Chaudhary was unable to go to school for over a month. He was barred by the
lack of a safe bridge initially - while the floods were high - then stopped later due to the muddy paths and minor
inundation that remained. While other children were able to negotiate these hazards, with relatively minor risk, it
was impossible for Deepak, who has been unable to walk since birth.
Prior to the DIPECHO project Sapana Tharu (35 Yrs old), Deepak’s mother, had wept when teachers had accused
her of trying to kill her child and of putting him in danger by trying to get to school, but she was adamant he
would be educated and have the same benefits as the other children at the Shree Bhanodaya primary school. She
would not be deterred.
During the assessment carried out by Practical Action and its partner RKJS the road between Deepak
Chaudhary’s house and the school was identified as a key travel bottleneck in the community during flood, not
specifically for those with mobility problems, but for community members in general. As such the road was
targeted for improvement with a culvert/bridge being built at the most critical flood point and the roadway
improved to make movement easier year round.
At the same time Practical Action was working with Handicap International to incorporate disability
considerations into the overall programme design and to increase levels of awareness, within partners and
communities, of the issue of disability and the needs of PWDs (People With Disabilities). As a result of this it
became apparent there were many unmet needs within the communities, in terms of lack of appropriate enabling
aids and PWD-friendly response mechanisms and infrastructure, and as such in August 2008 an Assistive Device
Camp was held to assess some of the mobility needs of community members. Through this Deepak received a
wheelchair as it was realised this would greatly improve his mobility and independence and enable him to take
advantage of the other initiatives taking place in the village.
Things have now changed for Deepak and his family.
“Now I don’t have any worries about my son. He can easily go to school with the improved
bridge and wheelchair to assist him “
In the past Deepak was reliant on the assistance of others but now he can move about independently. The teachers
at the school are also in agreement as they can see how easily he can now manage himself and are pleased to see
him regularly attending school where his progress is improving steadily.
This aspect of the programme has not changed just one life however, but influenced the whole community to take
a different view of disability and to recognize how a small investment can so completely transform a life.
Deepak Chaudhary, his wheelchair and the bridge
TRAINING MANUAL ALMOST READY FOR DISTRIBUTION
Handicap International Nepal has almost completed the Mainstreaming Disability into Disaster Management: A Training Manual.
As an international non-government organization specializing in the field of disability, Handicap International sees the Training
Manual as an important tool in ensuring that people with disabilities are included and are active participants in the disaster
management process. This Training Manual has been developed as part of the DIPECHO funded project “Mainstreaming disability
and people with disabilities into disaster management in Nepal”. Through this project, Handicap International has provided
technical, as well as management support, to the six DIPECHO-funded partners in Nepal and ten local “disability” partners on
mainstreaming disability into disaster management and disaster management into disability activities across the country.
At over 100 pages in length the Training Manual provides a comprehensive training package to be utilized by professionals working
at different levels, from field worker to managers. Different parts of the manual have been trialed in their draft stage through
trainings provided to: INGOs (including DIPECHO partners) and NGOs working in disaster management, local NGOs specialized in
disability, and Disabled People’s Organizations.
The main objective of the Training Manual is to build the capacities of organizations, workers and communities to mainstream
disability in disaster risk reduction. It is addressed to actors working in disaster management to enable them to take disability
systematically into account in their planning and implementation of activities. It also targets actors working in the disability field to
improve their knowledge on disability and disaster risk reduction, so they can advocate for and technically support disability-
inclusive disaster risk reduction. Ultimately, it can be utilized as an advocacy and planning tool for donors and governments, as it
highlights the particular problems and risks that persons with disabilities face in disasters, as well as possible solutions.
The Training Manual has been designed so that topics are covered in a logical modular
sequence. The complete training would take up to 4 to 5 days. The Training Manual
will be complemented by a CD containing PowerPoint slides which can be used for
presentations, and copies of documents for handouts. The major sessions covered in
the Training Manual are:
1. Introduction to Disability;
2. National and International Frameworks and Policy on Disability;
3. Disability and Disaster Management: A Situation Analysis;
4. Mainstreaming Disability into Disaster Risk Reduction;
5. Making IEC Materials Disability Inclusive; and
6. Networking: Referring Persons with Disabilities to Specialist Services.
It is anticipated that the Training Manual will be available for distribution in February 2009.
Final trial of the Training Manual with DPOs
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN RACE FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
An open road race was organized at the Pokhara stadium to raise awareness about
natural disaster management and to change the understanding, attitude and
practices of the public at large to reduce risks through preparedness. During the
event several messages were displayed and pamphlets were distributed to the
general public. Around 650 people participated in the 21 km road race along with
school boys and girls participating in the 10 km and 5 km race respectively. The
1500 metre wheelchair race for people who have disabilities was the main attraction
of the event. This event was conducted inside the stadium. Early in the morning
sixteen people with disabilities arrived full of enthusiasm with their wheelchairs.
Medals, cash prizes and certificates for the winners were distributed by the Deputy
Inspector General Police (DIGP) of the Western Region. He said, “this kind of
infotainment event will help to bring positive response for generating awareness on
DRR especially to encourage those who have disabilities.” He added that he “felt
proud to participate in this event”. In coordination with a local NGO, Community
Service Nepal, this programme was organized by UNDP/Disaster Risk Reduction at
People with disabilities at start of 1500 metre wheelchair race
the National Level in Nepal Project.
This information bulletin has been produced by DIPECHO project in Nepal with support from European
Commission under its Humanitarian Aid department. The contents and information has been provided by
Peter Crawford (Practical Action); Irina Ulmasova (Handicap International), Sanjukta Sahany (CARE
Nepal), PV Krishnan (Action Aid), Ulla Dons (Mercy Corps) and Dinesh Koirala (UNDP)
To know more about the DIPECHO projects, contact respective project managers at:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Practical Action); email@example.com (Danish Red Cross); dppm@hi‐
nepal.org (Handicap International); Krishnan.firstname.lastname@example.org (Action Aid); email@example.com
(CARE); Ghulam.firstname.lastname@example.org (UNDP) and email@example.com (Mercy Corps)