In responses to the aftermath of the earthquakes, GAN initiated a “Community Safe Rebuilding Programme” in July 2016, funded by the UK’s Big Lottery.
The programme was focussed on three main objectives:
The main agents of change in this programme were the GAN’s “Building Champions,” local women provided with both theoretical and practical training in how to rebuild their houses safely. The Building Champions have now become advocates within their own communities, disseminating the key messages to their friends and neighbours about the knowledge they have gained.
"The participant-led nature of the training is shown here, as individual groups of Building Champions make a presentation about safe rebuilding techniques to their colleagues."
Training in practical skills, such as masonry, carpentry, electrical work and plumbing were provided by local professionals, who were also upskilled in the process. Supervised by these “Building Leaders,” the Building Champions applied this new knowledge in construction of a model houses in all three project sites, which has enable the community to visualise what they can do with their own houses.
As with all GAN projects, long-term sustainability was at the heart of this project too. With the phasing out of the programme, the Building Champions formed a Community-Based Organization, which were provided with seed funding. The model houses were turned into a Community Learning & Resource Centres, to be used as a base for future top-up training and income generation programmes.
Dolakha lies in the Himalaya region of Nepal, meaning that its winters are especially harsh. Given the poor housing conditions following the earthquakes, the impact is even worse than normal. As such, the most marginalized people in the community not only received support in winter proofing their houses, but were also provided with mattresses and blankets.
In addition to extremely cold winters in Dolakha, it also has a long and potentially destructive monsoon. Although this brings obvious agricultural benefits, it can also bring considerable damage. Tied to this is the fact that for much of the rest of the year, there is no rain at all.
To combat these dual problems, many houses in the project areas were provided with rainwater harvesting equipment, consisting of guttering (to protect roofs from the power of the rain), tanks (to store the water) and filters (to make it potable).
As with many GAN projects, Open Theatre was used as a mechanism for addressing key issues. Using drama allows deeper and more honest reflection of the serious challenges faced in societies affected by natural disasters.