Nepal floods response, leaving no one behind - Nepal

Photo caption: The trainer from CBM and attendees at the training session. Photo credit: CBM. Date: January 2018.

Photo caption: The trainer from CBM and attendees at the training session. Photo credit: CBM. Date: January 2018.

In August 2017, Nepal was hit by the worst rains in 15 years. Rains caused severe flooding in the Terai, impacting livelihoods, food security and nutrition. Lives were lost, as well as housing, infrastructure, water and sanitation, food stocks and agricultural production. The objective of the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP) project in Nepal is to meet the needs of 35,805 flood affected people across two districts in Terai. This project is targeting children under two, pregnant and lactating women, the elderly and people with disabilities. The project will improve access to adequate nutrition, sanitation and safe drinking water. 

Based on the Nepal 2016 Living Conditions of People with Disabilities study, 33 per cent of rural households with people with disabilities have no sanitation facility, compared to 22 per cent for households of people without disabilities. Given this context, the impacts of the 2017 floods, and learning from experiences from the 2015 Nepal earthquake response, it was recognised that staff and volunteers should receive training on how to be disability inclusive in project activities.

Oxfam and World Vision facilitated a two-day training session on emergency water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and disability inclusion for 46 participants. Community volunteers, NGO staff, disabled people’s organisation (DPOs) representatives, local leaders and partner staff attended, 10 participants were people with disabilities.

The training provided attendees with:

  • an understanding of disability and inclusive development principles (such as accessibility and participation),

  • raised awareness of the living conditions of people with disabilities in Nepal, and their rights under international and Nepali law, and

  • equipped participants with practical inclusion strategies to apply to their work on the flood response project and beyond.

Participants were able to identify personal inclusion strategies (such as inclusive communication techniques) which they could use in their everyday work, as well as specific strategies for making planned project activities more inclusive (e.g. accessible WASH facility designs, inclusive event facilitation and working with DPOs).

Community volunteer and attendee Mahesh Kumar Shah had heard of organisations claiming to focus on people with disabilities in the aftermath of disasters, but felt this was not the case in practice. “I will work differently this time”, he said at the completion of the training. He added, "This training is really good for me, I learnt about disability and inclusion processes and will apply this learning in my personal and professional life. Now, I am sure, I won’t leave them behind”.

Participants developed action plans outlining practical inclusion strategies in project activities, such as:

  • adapting monitoring and evaluation processes (assessment and data collection) to include people with disabilities,

  • linking with DPOs to identify people living with disabilities in project areas,

  • selecting distribution sites that are physically accessible and

  • using different forms of communication materials (visual, written and verbal) to ensure people with disabilities receive information and can benefit from project activities.

During regular project monitoring visits, staff will continue to follow up on how these action plans and identified strategies have been applied to the AHP project, and the impact of this on people with disabilities.

Umesh Chaudhary, Vice-President of local DPO in Saptar, the Sagarmatha Federation of Disabled People said that it was the first ever such training organised in that district. “Our needs are often ignored or misunderstood during an intervention. This training makes me very satisfied to see that we are finally starting to work for disabled people. Since the project has included disability as a core objective with clear strategies on inclusion, I am sure this time no one will be left behind”.

In 2017, Oxfam in partnership with World Vision received $500,000 through the AHP to respond to the Nepal floods. Activities were undertaken in Saptari (Oxfam) and Sunsari (World Vision). The length of this AHP response is October 2017 until September 2018. 

Date of article: January 2018