Upskilling women to rebuild their communities
  • Dolakha
  • 2016 - 2017
  • 3000
khelau khelau
  • GAN-funded girls hostel approaches completion

    GAN-funded girls hostel approaches completion

    The construction of the new girls’ hostel at the Sherpa School in Ramechhap is nearly complete. Following the significant damage to the existing hostel after the 2015 earthquake, GAN provided 90% of the costs to build a new one.

    Impact of the 2015 Earthquakes

    The 2015 earthquakes had a devastating impact on the people, economy and infrastructure of Nepal. This was especially true in Dolakha district – the epicentre of the second earthquake – where many died, and where many more were injured and had their houses destroyed.
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      "Initial stakeholder meeting where the programme implementation plan is discussed"

      Programme Goals

      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:

      1. To disseminate safe rebuilding messages throughout the target communities;
      2. To upskill local women and building professionals to support long-term reconstruction efforts;
      3. To provide targeted support to especially marginalized people to protect their houses against extreme weather.

      Building Champions

      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.

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        Build Back Safer

        The main focus of the theoretical training was on the PASSA methodology (Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness). This methodology, developed by the International Red Cross, enables people to build back safely following natural disasters, appreciating the specific local challenges and difficulties faced.

        "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."

        Skills Training

        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.

        "Model house site being cleared by a JCB in Sundrawoti VDC"

        Protecting against the Cold

        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.

        Protecting against the Rain

        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).

        Open Theatre as a Mechanism for Social Change

        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.

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