The two major earthquakes dated on April 25, 2015 (magnitude 7.8 with an epicenter in Gorkha district) and on May 12, 2015 (magnitude 7.3 with the epicenter in Dolakha district) have caused severe damages in more than 14 districts of Nepal. As per Nepal government source, these devastating earthquakes followed by several aftershocks claimed a total of 8,969 lives lost and 22,302 injured. 775,793 private and government houses were reported fully and 302,806 private and government houses partially damaged. About a million were in need of immediate food assistance.
Caritas Nepal with the support of Caritas Internationalis and CIMOs effectively responded to the immediate needs of the people by providing various relief materials (basic shelter items to 70,036 households, food items to 23,534 households, WASH items to 37,690 households and corrugated roofing iron sheets to 24,584 households). At the same time, Caritas Nepal undertook a post-disaster needs assessment and developed the recovery proposal.
The Nepal Earthquake Recovery Programme approved by CI was then implemented from 1 January of 2016 covering 8 Village Development Committees (VDCs) in four districts- Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk, Kavrepalanchowk, and Sindhuli.
Caritas Nepal then partnered with CADIS on February 2016 to implement the recovery program entitled Human Security and Social Inclusion: Reducing Vulnerability and Building the Resilience of Communities in the District of Sindhupalchowk, Nepal in two village development committees (now renamed as a rural municipality). This project was implemented as a part of Nepal Earthquake Recovery Program. CADIS had entered into a one-year project agreement with Caritas Nepal to support the earthquake recovery program with a budget of € 288,265.
Program implementation started late due to delayed government approvals and staff recruitment. Only about 18% of the Year 1 budget was utilized in 2016 and therefore, Caritas Nepal sought CADIS approval to carry over the remaining activities of Year 1 to August 2018. CADIS approved the carry over to the tune of the year one budget balance.
The project was successfully completed in August 2018 with direct beneficiaries numbering to 1,221 families. This enables them to enhance their livelihood and help improve their mental well-being.
Programs and Achievements
1. Household (HH) and Baseline Surveys
The HH and baseline surveys were carried out in the year 2016. The reports are being used for monitoring and evaluation purposes. The baseline reports have enabled the CN team to assess the change at the community level and specifically under each sector. The effort is made to understand the change brought about by the program as against the baseline context by each village, district, and central teams and by the M&E team. The comprehensive M&E report and ending will be carried out in March 2019, after the completion of Nepal Earthquake Recovery Program.
a) The community has improved understanding of protection issues and established a committee to identify and follow up on protection issues
b) Training of community-based psychosocial support facilitators
c) Improvement of mental well-being of earthquake affected families
d) Counselling referral support
2. Achievements from the Project against Objective
The need assessment and the HHs survey helped to identify the vulnerable and marginalized HHs. To improve the understanding of protection issue of community and to follow up on the protection issues, community-based psychosocial support facilitators are placed at the VDCs. Training to community based psychosocial support facilitators was given.
Protection and psychosocial support are mainstreamed in the program to provide access to safe, dignified and accessible programs to earthquake-affected communities to increase their physical and mental well-being. This task is being carried out by the Protection and Psychosocial Support team.
Nine (9) CBPSFs are placed in each of the wards of the working VDC. These trained CBPSF along with the protection officer ensured the inclusion of poor and marginalized in the project activities. Caritas Nepal is providing training to Community-Based Psychosocial Facilitators on a timely basis to address the protection issues. On the request of Caritas Nepal, CADIS is providing psychosocial support training to CN Program staff from all the four districts where CN recovery program is implemented.
During 2017, CADIS facilitated a 5-day refresher training (ToT) in psychosocial support to 18 Caritas Nepal staff. The training was facilitated by Fr. Biju Sebastian, MI from India. A local resource person supported the training by doing the translation as well as facilitating a few sessions. Following the ToT, the trained staff conducted three days refresher training for 72 Community Based Psychosocial Support Facilitators (CBPSF) from the four program districts. Apart from the training mentioned above, CBPSF has been provided with 2 units of feedback mechanism at Kalika and Thokarpa to handle or transfer the feedback coming from the community people to the district team. Likewise, two units of Psychosocial support follow-up training has been carried out to enhance the knowledge of CBPSF on protection issues.
To free the community from mental disturbance caused the earthquake, the project used counseling and referral support system to improve the mental well being of the community. Though the initial plan was to contribute to the mental wellbeing of the people by identifying potential cases that may require counseling support from a specialist service providers, the scope of coverage was expanded to include people with disabilities and health issues as well.
Through family visits, CBPSFs have identified 82 cases, mostly with psychosocial and medical problems (58 cases), followed by disabilities (16 cases) and the remaining cases were school drop-outs (8 cases). These identified cases have been provided with counseling support to withstand the problems they are facing. Apart from the counseling support to these cases, they are provided with transportation support to seek assistance from the hospital or related government offices.
3. The community has enhanced food and livelihood security
a) Cash for work for vulnerable families
b) Agriculture training and farm input support
The program addresses livelihood recovery needs of the communities and has enabled HHs to re-establish and expand rural livelihoods. The bottom-up approach is used for identifying and supporting the needs. Different activities were undertaken to enhance the food and livelihood security of the people.
From the program, 1,221 HHs received either agriculture or livestock training followed by the farm inputs support. The training and support have helped the earthquake affected HHs to restore and enhance their livelihood source. Apart from that, under the project, different infrastructure has been restored through cash for work and drinking water system constructed has increased the community access to safe drinking water.
There were 1,130 HHs who benefited from the cash for work activity. The average income stood up at Rs. 5,055.00 per HHs with an income range from Rs. 630 to Rs. 11,851. The cash for work has prioritized the most vulnerable HHs by giving them more number of days of work in order to earn more. The HHs utilized their earnings from cash for work to meet their immediate needs such as food, utensils, etc.
E.g., Ms. Maiya Khatri of Thokarpa-9 is one of the vulnerable individuals. She participated in CfW for 19 days and earned Rs.11,851. She used the income made from CfW to repay the loan that she had taken for the construction of her house.
The cash for work program did not only provide the opportunity to earthquake-affected HHs to make income but also played a crucial role in constructing or rehabilitating some vital infrastructures at Kalika and Thokarpa. In total, 28 infrastructures were either restored or constructed from the cash for work program.
The measured infrastructure restored through cash for work includes upgrading of a foot trail, constructing of local roads and drainage at Thokarpa, and road filling of the Mahindra Kanti road. Other infrastructure constructed through CfW includes construction of resting place at Barhakilo, construction of Chiane Community Building at Kalika-9. Likewise, irrigation canal and drinking water points have been restored or constructed using the cash for work.
Apart from restoring the infrastructure, CfW has been used to prevent potential hazards at the work locations such as the construction of forest fireline (4580 m long, 3 m wide, 0.2 m deep) and filling of gabion wall at landslide-prone areas of Bagh Bhairab Higher Secondary School.
In this way, CfW played a crucial role in supporting to re-establish the rural livelihood of both the vulnerable and non-vulnerable HHs by ensuring their income and increasing access to public infrastructures and reducing other possible hazards at the community.
From the project, 515 vulnerable households who lost their seeds for farming, and household utensils were identified and provided with training. These 515 farmers were trained on adopting the good farming best practices. The training covered the subjects of cropping calendar, climate change adaptation (use of plastic tunnels, raised seedbed, etc.) mulching, compost preparation, etc. The pre-test and post-test result showed that 95% of the total participants have enhanced their knowledge of agriculture. These trained farmers have received farm inputs support. The support varies from Rs. 7,000 to 27,000 as per their plan of action. The training and the input support have enabled farmers to adopt improved agricultural practices, diversify crops and enhance income ranging from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000 by selling vegetables. The training stress on organic farming and use of bio-pesticides.
c) Livestock training and livestock input support
The project has provided livestock management training and financial support ranging from Rs. 12,000 to 27,000 to 706 families of Kalika and Thokarpa VDCs. Beneficiary groups have been formed in the villages through the participatory process. Project team supports families to procure animals of their choice. These selected beneficiaries were provided with basic livestock management training before the distribution of livestock support.
Initially, Caritas procured and supplied goats. This created some problem because the supplied animals were not of the same sizes which made some beneficiaries complained. To resolve the issue, Caritas Nepal decided to give cash grant to the beneficiaries in installments to make sure that they invest the money for the stated purpose. This is being closely monitored by project staff and livestock groups.
Majority of the families have opted for goat rearing followed by poultry farming. Some families have purchased buffalos. Besides the project grant support for livestock, farmers have taken a loan from the local cooperatives to purchase livestock. Apart from the input support and training on capacity building of beneficiaries for livestock rearing, extension, and medical services were provided also by Caritas Nepal field technicians. Currently, the beneficiaries have added up to 10 goats at their sheds. The profit made per beneficiary has ranged from Rs. 15,000 up to Rs. 35,000 per HH.
d) Support for Irrigation Canal Construction
The project has constructed and repaired 4 units of irrigation canals from Cash For Work. Apart from, those irrigation canals, the project has constructed one unit of irrigation canal named Sinke Lama Irrigation Project. The Sinke Lama is a mega irrigation project with coverage extension at both the working VDC of Sindhupalchowk. The irrigation canal has helped 200 HHs of Kalika and Thokarpa to irrigate a total of 2,000 rice paddies. Initially, farmers in these areas relied on rainwater to irrigate their crops.
The irrigation canal construction is recently completed. The irrigation canal can irrigate the land all throughout the year. Farmers were very much excited and have expected to cultivate the field during the year. This irrigation canal is expected to address the food security concern of the benefitted 200 HHs.
e) Restoration of safe drinking water
To ensure access to safe drinking water, the project was able to construct three drinking water supply schemes at work locations. This drinking water system is now providing access to safe water to 310 individuals from the 94 HHs.
Completed water supply schemes at Thokarpa VDC are:
• Acharya Gaun water supply scheme in ward 4 which benefits 26 families.
• Adhuwabari water supply scheme in ward 3 covering 42 families
• Semlikhola water system in ward 8 covering 21families.
Water has been sourced from natural streams with protected intake tanks. One tap stand has been provided to four families. Water quality was tested before the scheme was implemented to ensure that the water is potable.
Water supply is managed by user groups in all villages of Nepal as per government guidelines. The user groups actually planned and implemented the programme with technical guidance from Caritas. User groups collect user fee to meet the maintenance cost of the water supply system. People have contributed to the casual labor part of the project.
Caritas Nepal has coordinated with CI and CIMOs, National Reconstruction Authority, Social Welfare Council, sectoral line agencies at the district level, and local government throughout the project period.
Caritas Nepal also participated in various cluster coordination meetings that took place at the national and district levels. There are several member organizations of Caritas Internationalis present in Nepal and they meet once a month to share information and progress on activities, problems faced and explore areas of collaborative action.
Throughout the project, Cafod supported in WASH project, and Caritas Italiana worked closely with the project team on protection and psychosocial support work. The protection team recently collaborated with TPO for psychosocial case identification and as a part of exit strategy to connect the community people with the organization working in the sector of psychosocial support.
a) Cash for work programme has directly benefitted 1,130 families.
b) Agriculture training and farm input support have been given to 515 families.
c) Livestock training and support for livestock farming has been given to 706 families.
d) Safe drinking water has been made available to 310 people of 94 families in three villages.
The programme is being implemented through various community/beneficiary groups. Farmers groups, water user groups, livestock groups, etc have been formed in all villages and they were involved in the programme planning. The beneficiaries have been prerogative to select their groups of choice and interest. Those who were not included in the year 2017 program were integrated into the 2018 program. The people showed active participation and made their significant contribution of labor in the construction of the drinking water system.
Cash for work programme has been used to improve local roads and repair, rehabilitate irrigation canals. Improvement of the road condition has helped the community in many ways. Besides improved access to the market for both sale of local products as well as to buy essentials, the road has facilitated the transport of building materials such as cement, bricks, stone, sand, etc., for the construction of their houses. This reduces abuses of the suppliers and transporters of the materials. After the roads were repaired, movement of goods became easier.
Support for agriculture and livestock has helped augment the income of the families in varying degrees. Some of the more enterprising and hardworking families have been able to earn Rs. 8,000 – 10,000 per month from vegetable or poultry farming, the sale of milk and milk products etc. Availability of vegetables at household level has increased and this has contributed to improved nutrition.
Repair of the irrigation canals has ensured water supply which is being used for farming, especially vegetable cultivation.
During the potable water system implementation, project staff created awareness among the beneficiaries on sanitation and hygiene practices through different awareness campaigns meetings, orientation, door to door visits and training. This has improved sanitation and hygiene practices in the communities. The water supply system is also helping people in the house construction process.
The program has set up Program Management Office at the central level, Program Management Unit at the district office of Sukute, Sindhupalchow, and the Village Offices one in each district at Kalika and Thokarpa. All the local office teams are implementing the programs and informing people in advance as regards to what the program provides; how best people can take part and benefit from it; and how people can provide feedback and suggestions.
Material needs of the local people were obtained as per request following Caritas Nepal’s procurement processes. Budget utilization in infrastructure development or repair activities are reported to communities, and information boards are kept as well in the communities.
There are feedback boxes in each neighborhood, village offices, district office, and central office. Feedback boxes are being opened on a monthly basis. Responses are provided to the people and improvements are made as necessary. Feedback received by the program team has also been immediately acted upon by the local offices. Hence, there is proper feedback or complain handling mechanisms in place and feedbacks received as noted below again were answered in a timely manner.
Caritas Nepal continued to identify and encourage people affected by psychosocial concerns and disability to receive proper identification or recognition from local government or health post and be eligible for government inputs such as annual disability stipend.
Caritas Nepal encouraged local village level Disaster Management Committees to advocate with the local government to set aside funds in their annual budget for emergency response and disaster management concerns. It has been reported that the local government is now planning to put aside a budget for such concerns.
Caritas Nepal continues to be part of the NGO Forum of National Reconstruction Authority and presented the challenges and concerns in regards to recovery and reconstruction in these forums. There are many other organizations (NGOs, INGOs, private companies) that are part of this forum. In the last meeting of this forum successful practices and gaps in housing, reconstruction sector was shared by the forum members.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The beneficiaries were targeted with the consultation of local committees, leaders, community members, user groups and cooperatives and are based on the initial HH survey. For example, to WASH the village WASH committees advice has been sought and feasibility studies have been done. For livelihood neighborhood meetings were held to find people’s preference to be in either agriculture or livestock groups. For shelter, Caritas Nepal had to follow the NRA list and has supported HHs having grievances of being left out to pursue the same.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The project was monitored regularly at community, VDC and district level through structured meetings. VDC level committees had been set up and project staff attends their monthly meetings to monitor progress and address challenges faced. District level meetings were also held every month to monitor the programme. Quarterly review and planning meetings are held at Programme Management Unit (PMU) level where progress reports, challenges and learning are shared and feedback is given.
Caritas Nepal organized a Midterm Evaluation of the programme in December 2017 with external consultants. The evaluators have found all the programme intervention sectors like shelter, water and sanitation, livelihood and protection and psychosocial support very relevant and appropriate. The community organizations promoted by the programme needs further strengthening to make them function effectively after project closure.
Recommendation and Exit Plan
a) To further encourage economic growth of the beneficiaries through more innovative livelihood activities for sustainability in the future as their savings were used for reconstruction of their shelter.
b) To help the livelihood beneficiaries to access the market and commercialize theirs produces.
c) Linking the cooperative towards market access to encourage commercial farming in
CADIS funded the project “Human Security and Social Inclusion: Reducing Vulnerability and Building the Resilience of Communities in the District of Sindhupalchowk, Nepal” was completed on 31st August 2018 and other activities by Caritas Nepal are still being implemented. Caritas Nepal is confident that they can maintain sustainability in the future. For the purpose of the exit plan following are the things that will be carried out:
a) Cooperative will be linked to the marketplace to encourage marketing.
b) Cooperative will sustain and continue to utilize the same fund provided to help needier people and uplift their status by encouraging livelihood activities through soft loans
c) Associating the livelihood groups to the agriculture departments of government and enhancing their boundaries and knowledge.
d) Protection and Pshyco-social Mainstreaming to be continued.
e) Continue the support to User Groups to maintain and utilize the drinking water system
f) Certificates will be provided to the staffs.
g) A small ceremony will be held to close the program soon.
Note: This project is primarily funded by Caritas San Sebastian and Caritas Bilbao of Spain. Other donors who participated in this project, particularly during the relief phase, are coming from the Catholic Church sector - religious congregations and parishes, the Camillians. The people of Nepal were so very grateful for the generosity and availability of the church people to accompany them in their journey towards full and better recovery after such a devastating event.