Provide Helpdesks for Nepal Earthquake Survivors

by Accountability Lab
Provide Helpdesks for Nepal Earthquake Survivors
Provide Helpdesks for Nepal Earthquake Survivors
Provide Helpdesks for Nepal Earthquake Survivors
Provide Helpdesks for Nepal Earthquake Survivors
Provide Helpdesks for Nepal Earthquake Survivors
Provide Helpdesks for Nepal Earthquake Survivors
Provide Helpdesks for Nepal Earthquake Survivors
Provide Helpdesks for Nepal Earthquake Survivors
CFA Meetings
CFA Meetings

Community Meeting: Community Meeting have been conducted with locals, women’s group, returnees and those aspiring to do so along with ward officials.  These meetings were primarily a shared platform for locals to bring their problems to  a wider audience. In the last three months, Community Frontline Associated (CFAs) have conducted approximately 27 meetings which have been attended by about 1000 locals. The main objective these meetings are to connect locals to concerned ward officials and make them aware about the policies/ provisions introduced by the government. 

Mini MeetingWe also recently began to focus on smaller weekly for 10 - 13 individuals meetings. We learnt that smaller meetings allow us to focus on individual issues, closer to the real problem, and provide a comfortable space for people (who were not used to speaking in front of large sudiences). These meetings are largely focused on returnees, youths, migrant worker’s families. We have seen that many women and people from marginalized community have felt hesitant to speak freely about their problems in larger groups. Mini meetings have allowed Citizen helpdesks team to build a deeper trust and relationships with migrants workers and their families and relatives. This has allowed us to take up more authentic voices to the local bodies and other important stakeholder organizations to address it.

Bulletins: CHD team publishes monthly bulletins which include stories about specific successful or challenging areas.  The bulletins are distributed to 1000s stakeholders. CFAs recite the information in the bulletins to the community people.

Meetings with group consisting local bodies and ward officials: CFAs have formed groups in their respective localities to bridge the distance between local bodies and communities problems raised by those affected by the earthquake. Through such meetings, local bodies have been known to solve problems of individuals caused mainly due to lack of instructions to effectively following procedures.  

Overall, the helpdesks have supported thousands of people have received access to services and been provided knowledge around their rights post the earthquake.  We are grateful for all of you that have supported this project over the years and proud that we have reached our goals.

Kavre Meeting
Kavre Meeting
Nuwako Meeting
Nuwako Meeting
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Update on activities

  • Eight issues of the Citizen Help Desk Bulletin on different migration and reconstruction issues have been published.
  • Open Migration Perception Survey was conducted in April with 400 respondents. We carried out a survey around migration accountability in four of the most earthquake-affected districts of Nepal over the past three months. From the survey, we discovered that many of the worst problems related to migration stem from a lack of information about the process, weak policies to hold labor agencies accountable and limited government capacity to respond to migration related challenges. The second phase of Survey started in September.
  • Community meetings - Nineteen community meetings focused on reconstruction and migration issues have been conducted in Four different districts.
  • Mini Meetings - Twenty-eight mini meetings were conducted with groups of 8-9 local people focused on migration issues.
  • Group Formed -  Six groups were formed in various communities by community frontline associates. The groups are set up to raise awareness on migrations issues and mobilize different groups like returnees, migrant workers family member, aspiring and youth from the same community from the same community.
  • Stakeholder meetings – formed a group of Migration Stake Holders. Quarterly meetings are conducted with them to bring together the organizations working on the similar issues to reach the collective quality results on migration.
  • Created a Resolution Channel around migration issues - To solve the migration related cases we have developed issues resolution channel around the migration stakeholders. According to the services they provide and strengths, we refer the cases to different organizations to effectively and efficiently mitigate the issues.
  • Radio Programs - To raise awareness on migration issues to a larger audience we have mobilized eight Community FM Radio from 4 different districts. They produce fortnightly radio program named- Sabal Samudaya (translated as “Strong Community” in English). The program uses a magazine format, which includes policy level topics and community level migrations issues and also includes community voices. To cover the migration policy and current issues, we also produced a 10 minutes program which we provided to our partner community FM radio stations.

In total, we have produced and broadcast 12 radio programs that have reached more than 500,000.

  • Beneficiaries -  From April to August we have reached out to more than 2200 local people directly. Through the Community Meetings, we have reached more than 1,000 local people. Through the mini meetings we have directly reached more than 300 local people and through the door-to-door visits, we have reached around 900 local people. 

Rajesh's Story

Rajesh Tamang from Kavre worked in Malaysia for about 8 months when the company unexpectedly made him redundant and left him unemployed.  Moreover, the company refused to pay him for the 8 months’ work, as a result, it was impossible for him to return to Nepal. His family was unable to repatriate him.  Fortunately, this case was passed to one of the Community Help Desks CFAs,  who also happened to be a returnee himself. The case was then passed to CMIR, an organization that works for the rights of the migrant workers and their families.  CMIR was able to bring Rajesh back to Nepal within a week. 

Brijlal's Story 

Brijlal was just 23 when he went to Saudi Arabia o earn money for his wife and son who he had left behind at home. He worked in juice factory but was tragically found dead in his home in July with no way for his family to repatriate his body to Nepal.  His brother in law brought the case to one of the frontline associates of Citizen HelpDesks, who gathered the necessary documents on Brijlal and his family members which were then forwarded to the Centre for Migration and International Relations (CMIR) who work on defending the rights of immigrant workers and their family's. On the 1st of August 2017 Brijlal body was returned to Nepal. The casket was carried to Kavre through a free ambulance service of Foreign Employment Promotion Board. A month later SMIR facilitated financial support for Brijlal’s wife from the Promotion Board as well as further compensation from an insurance company. 

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“Those who have finished building their houses are entitled to Rs 100,000. However, rumours are that only those houses that have installed bio-gas and solar systems will get this total grant. Otherwise, they will get only Rs 75,000. ”

This is just one of the many questions circulating amongst earthquake victims still rebuilding, and one featured in our monthly Citizen Helpdesk Bulletin. Next month, a group of concerned citizens will gather in the village of Sidhalek in Dhading District to discuss questions like these and other challenges faced without reliable access to information. Their new club is the product of one of our recent focus group meetings held by Community Frontline Associate (CFA) Shankar.

And this isn’t the only club of its kind. Across the four districts within which Citizen Helpdesk works, communities have begun forming clubs to address lingering issues of earthquake reconstruction and foreign labor migration. Our model closes feedback loops by using CFAs to bring accurate information and relevant stakeholders directly to the communities in need, as well as relaying their concerns and issues to those who can address them. Currently, our CFAs are handling 43 active cases of households with specific, pressing needs. They’ve already resolved 5 of these cases by bringing in partner organizations. Now, with villages mobilizing their own citizens to keep track of these concerns the feedback loop can be closed even more effectively.

To improve upon the quality of information that earthquake-affected communities received, our CFAs consistently distribute monthly Citizen Helpdesk Bulletins featuring real questions from affected citizens. In addition to the bulletins, the last two months have seen us distributing surveys to gauge the ways people are affected and in what numbers. Some of this information may find its way into our bulletin while some will be distributed in a new radio show currently in the works. As we address the ongoing issues of earthquake reconstruction and recurrent issues of foreign labor migration Citizen Helpdesk, our communities and stakeholders are finding new channels of communication that leave us hopeful for the future. With continued support from our amazing donors we truly can build back Nepal better. Next Wednesday, July 12th we have a special opportunity to receive a 150% match to any new recurring donations (or 100% match to one-time donations) to our campaign - please help us spread the word!

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April 25th was a day of remembrance across Nepal, as the country's 28 million citizens and many others across the globe marked the 2 year anniversary of the first earthquake that devastated the country in 2015. It also marked the start of GlobalGiving’s matched giving campaign. For us, it marked 64 community meetings in eight months alone, 13 of which were women’s groups and 4 more of which were meetings for marginalized populations.  In those 8 months we reached 3,451 people directly through community meetings and over 100,000 through community radio. Now we’ve begun distributing monthly bulletins (we’re on our 4th issue!) with critical information to reach even more people and are busy collecting data through surveys.

We’re very proud of these numbers and grateful for the many people who helped us achieve them. But two years after nearly 9,000 lost their lives and millions were left homeless, it’s not the numbers we remember.

It’s Kabiraj, whose family was living in temporary housing for over a year unable to access government aid until we took up his case, who we remember. We remember Chandramaya and her husband, whose home reconstruction stalled for lack of an engineer. Their challenge was broadcast by our radio-journalists and, thanks to going public, they finally slept in their own home again last April. We remember the five households at the last community meeting in Sindhupalchowk who secured an inspection from the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) engineers we brought to the meeting and were finally able to continue construction on their new homes.

Finally, we remember the hundreds of people our staff and CFAs meet every week who still desperately need information and assistance. For some, a community meeting is the only time they receive reliable, meaningful information or have the chance to voice their concerns directly to the people who can help them. Thank you for all your help making these meetings possible, and we hope you’ll continue supporting us as we empower communities with information and connect them with vital services. Right now, GlobalGiving still offers you the chance to maximize your impact by automatically matching your donation 50%, or 100% if you set a recurring donation. Please consider taking advantage of this opportunity if you haven't already, and help us spread the word about it in your networks. Thank you so much all your support that makes this work possible.

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A community meeting in action
A community meeting in action

“I finished rebuilding my house’s foundation, but I’ve been waiting a very long time for an engineer to inspect it so I can qualify for a government grant,” Kabiraj told a Citizen Helpdesk Community Frontline Associate (CFA). He’s been without a home for nearly two years now in the village of Dhading in the Nalang District, because he hasn't been able to access the inspection services that would allow him to receive the promised funds for rebuilding. Sunita, a woman single woman from Irkhu Sindhupalchowk, faced similar obstacles when she was not issued a citizenship card, leaving her completely unable to access government relief funds.

It is precisely these kinds of gaps between citizens, officials, and public service providers that makes Citizen Helpdesk so necessary – and why we’re working harder than ever now to expand its scope. Beyond community meetings, our radio program Sabal Samydaya has been an effective tool for reaching wider audiences, who can listen to broadcasts of the meetings and call in with their own questions. We are also excited to announce the recent launch of the Citizen Helpdesk Bulletin, a monthly newsletter filled with real citizen concerns, solutions, and contact information for the appropriate government bodies. We distribute hard copies of the bulletin and also share it on our website. This expansion is shaping the Helpdesk as a platform that can address other community concerns, such as resource shortages, women’s programming and, in particular, labor migration. Our Community Perception Surveys revealed that labor migrants are one of the most vulnerable groups, and we believe that the Helpdesk can address one of the primary causes of this vulnerability: a the lack of information.

After months of waiting for an engineer, Kabiraj’s issue was addressed directly by an engineer who he met at a Helpdesk community meeting. Sunita found her solution as well after a CFA advocated for her with the Chief District Officer, finally securing her citizenship card and allowing her to receive the first installment of the government funding. Bringing together all of the stakeholders makes a tremendous difference in the lives of the people in these districts. It’s thanks to your generous support that we have been able to expand the Helpdesk and broaden its impact for not only earthquake survivors, but women, youth, and labor migrants. Keep an eye on the Facebook page to see the for yourself the results of your contributions for Sunita, Kabiraj, and so many more. Furthermore, if you're interested if seeing the Mobile Citizen Helpdesk's impact in person, considering joining us for a Social Impact Tour of Nepal in April!

Our Community Frontline Associates helping Sunita
Our Community Frontline Associates helping Sunita
Sunita with her new citizenship card
Sunita with her new citizenship card

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Organization Information

Accountability Lab

Location: Washington, District of Columbia - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @AccountLab
Project Leader:
Anne Sophie Ranjbar
Washington, District of Columbia United States

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