22/02 Meeting with Oxfam staff

Disclaimer: these are working notes taken during the field visit. They are provided here to give a sense of the conversation that took place in the field, and to put evidence in context. The notes have not been edited to be a final product. They might contain some inaccuracies and glitches. Information, findings will be further revised by checking reports, by crosschecking  additional evidence and in additional exchanges with key evaluation stakeholders

[TO BE REVISED AND VIDEO ADDED]

We meet Oxfam staff at their office. They present us – with this comprehensive presentation, their structure and their sectors of operation. They work in various VDC.  They have 5 partners – new partners. And they closely collaborate with other Government stakeholders.

Their presentation highlights a new activity for the HC programme (which we had not found included in their reporting): agricultural tools to women and farmer groups. This activity came out from the assessment done, and from their desire to innovate.  Women said that they would not need more individual tools – they had already plenty. They would need different things, like small rice mills. This activity was defined around November, when they realized that Cash for Work should no longer be a priority.

Why was this activity allocated to the HC? Where other programmes under which they could have allocated to? They could have allocated this activity to other projects, but added it here because it complemented the HC (they are charging HC only a small part of a broader programme). Their understanding of the HCis that it is fund allocated for the food security.

 

We then discuss the CFW component. There is a “self-help” component : people can chose the interventions to be done in the villages. The examples presented mostly related to the clearing of pathways, to reach market and hospitals.

 

In addition to the learning presented in Oxfam PPT, we had read in the proposal that one lesson learned was about the politicisation and the need for advocacy about this. Can they tell us more? Oxfam had lobbied the government for adding some VDCs that were left out, despite very marginalized and being at high altitude. They have done some quick assessment and discovered that not other NGOs were there. Why were they left out? The reasons presented were: lack of data from the government (the government might not have strong data about the most remote locations) and challenges in reaching it and verifying the needs. The bureaucracy also slows the process: it took long time for the government to approve Oxfam working there. They also had to have a DDRC meeting for approval.

 

Oxfam then presented their gender approach and some of the practices in place. The feeling of the team is that women are opening up to Oxfam as the programmes are implemented, and build trust. For example a woman explained that the husband would not give money from Cash from Work to her. So what was done by Oxfam? We could not find out how this case impacted on policies and practices. But it was discussed that for major cases of harassment, Oxfam has mechanisms in place.

 

In this area there are 3 main parties. When the organization is in the community, all is ok. But, as soon as they move out, the political parties try to mess up with the targeting. This is why, for Cash for work, they formed a Ward Management Committee with representatives from all the parties. The WCF is in charge to managing the assistance and to finalize the selection of beneficiaries. To form a WMC, a community meeting is held, and everyone invited. The WMC is announced. The modalities to compose the WCF  had actually changed in different zones:

  • In the less politicized northern areas, a quota of the representatives must be women (3 out of 7)
  • In the more politicized southern areas, the WCM must include the representatives of the parties, who tend to be men + the Ward Citizen Forum Coordinator + the partner organization and the Oxfam representatives

 

The WCF then finalize the selection of the beneficiaries based on a set of criteria provided by Oxfam: [pic taken]

 

We provide criteria, it is not a blanket approach. We tell to people “You keep your political approach with you, we use criteria”. This works if you take a strong stance. And having the WMF helped: there was a public forum where the criteria could be checked.  WMC so far was only used for the cash for work. Not for other programmes. But the political pressure is always there. “So we will have to use this approach also in other programmes”.

In other programmes the criteria has been to target the people most affected by the quake. For example, the WASH programme tried to cover all the HH with fully or partially damaged toilet. This means to target people who had received the government card. Is having a red card enough to be “most vulnerable”?

In the North they covered everyone in need for cash for work, even if the red card was not issued to them. In the south they have to follow earthquake card more strictly because there is too much political pressure. This means to confront cases when people had their houses destroyed but do not have the card. This happen for example to people who where temporarily displaced. Sometimes were not aware that the card was issued or could not require one. If people haven’t got a card nothing can be done for them. The government, however, is re-issuing the cards. Did you discuss this issue amongst other organizations? The conversation drifts away.

 

We look back at the criteria for the  Cash for Work. They are – part from the criteria on single headed families – very income / asset oriented. The staff points out that if people are really vulnerable for other reasons (e.g. casts… ), these criteria will apply to them. There are two interplaying factors that determine criteria:

  • Affected / not affected (e.g. lost house, lost livelihood, lost asset)
  • General vulnerability, pre-existing the earthquake (e.g. single headed household, dalit)

Whatever the criteria, one single criterion is not good enough. This is why the CFW has 8 criteria, out for which at least 5 must be satisfied.

 

What other examples exist of marginalized communities / people?

  • The Raite are an endangered community. There are only 300 people in this group. They are decreasing because they used to live near the forest. Their source of livelihood has been depleted. The earthquake put the more at risk.
  • People facing water problems: the quake changed the water sources, and this had created challenges. Oxfam pland to do water schemes to provide them with alternative sources.

 

This earthquake had affected the water source. This has created great challenges for people.  We are trying to identify alternative water sources and creating water schemes.

It is much easier to plase the people in the norther area, and this is where the need is the highest. In the south the situation is difficult – but not as much as in the remote area. They are is also much more politicized and hard to work in

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