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
We were warmly welcomed by the community. And we then did a short walk to see the road built with the CFW.
We then met with a mixed group of beneficiaries for the Oxfam cash for work activities in Dhading.
There was a single woman in the group; she said that she was told by the committee that “she had to be involved in the cash for work (CFW)” because she is a single woman.But she also wanted to be.
The group was mixed, men and women. Each HH could register only one person to work. In some case it was men who applied, sometimes women. When we asked why they chose who should apply this is what they told: one man came for the CFW because his daughter in law was unable to work, so he worked; one woman’s husband had other work, so she did the CFW; one man’s wife and daughter in law had to do work in the household, so he came; one woman’s husband is involved in other work so she did the cash for work.
They found out about the CFW because the social mobiliser who lives in the village told them that these activities were going on and asked if they wanted to be involved or not. He arranged a meeting to tell people about the cash for work. He let people know about the meeting by sitting in the middle of the village, it a junction point. The social mobiliser called those who lived far away and he would not have met them at the junction. For community communication, they have made ten groups; one member is responsible for transferring the messages to the other members of the group.
The tea shop where they disseminate the information, is the place where men meet, women don’t go. Then how are the single women supposed to find out information? The one single woman in the group lives nearby by that tea shop; she does visit the tea shop.
The social mobiliser mentioned that there was certain amount of cash from a donor and asked the community what they wanted to do with it. They decided that they wanted to construct the road, because it was very difficult to reach the market area without it. The social mobiliser gave them options, but they still believe that the road was the best idea.
There are a few people who applied for CFW that are missing, but they wanted to be involved. Do they know why they were selected? The selection criteria are houses that are completely destroyed and those that are poor first and then those who are poor and their houses are partially damaged.
One gentleman mentioned that he didn’t have a card and his house and totally damaged. He didn’t get the assistance but his name was put forward for the cash for work, he also got the card later. The Ward Citizen Forum (WCF) put his name on the list. During the time when they made the list of for the relief cards, his house was missed so he didn’t receive a card; therefore he was not eligible to do the CFW. Once he heard about the CFW, he went to the social mobiliser and asked to be a part of the CFW. The social mobiliser and the WCF coordinator put him on the list.
People think they were chosen to be a member of the CFW because they are of a low caste group, poor and earthquake affected. In comparison to them, those who were not chosen for the CFW had food that they could eat. Also, those who did not get on the CFW list because when the social mobiliser called to put them on the list, they didn’t have an earthquake card with them. They didn’t bring their card.
Those who were eligible and left out of the CFW activities; they will be involved in other livelihood activities. Those who are involved in CFW, they will not be a part of other livelihood activities. The social mobilizer told them this.
If they want to make a complaint to Oxfam, what do they do? The first tell the WCF coordinator, he will transfer the information to the social mobilizer. It’s whomever they find first, they approach them. If they don’t live nearby they will come to meet the social mobiliser and/or WCF coordinator. They are unaware of the Oxfam or partner phone numbers. Many do not have a phone. One woman does not have a phone but she has a son who has a phone. One lady doesn’t have access to any phone.
They made groups for the CFW activities, 1 member – the leader – was given a phone number to contact Oxfam or the social mobiliser, this person was the group leader. None of those at this meeting were the group leader. The group leader is the one who has the capacity to speak. The leaders are chosen by Oxfam and/or the social mobiliser. All of their group leaders are male. They don’t know about the others. The leaders were involved in the CFW activities and maintaining attendance of the participants.
They worked 10 am to 5 pm each day. It was the rule; they did not choose the timing. In one woman’s house, she has to look after the other household activities, so it was a long time to work. Another woman suggest that it would have been better if it was 11 am -4 pm. When given the option to work shorter days for a longer period, that was not of interest to her. They were not offered options about what times they wanted to work but when asked if there were timings that they would prefer more, the participants did not have any suggestion.
It was a little bit difficult to do the household work and the CFW. One woman solved this by working in the early morning and once the CFW was done in the evening to be able to complete all of her work. One woman had her mother in law helping her with her household work. In order to complete her household work one woman had to get up at 4 am, her husband also supported her.
In the cases where there was a husband who was able to work, why did the women go? They described how they shared the work in the family. One woman mentioned that her and her huband alternated days for CFW. Another mentioned that her husband’s name on the list, but she did most of the work. There are a couple of women where their husbands were on the list but the wife went to do the CFW. One woman, her husband worked for the first 50%, then he went to KTM and she started to work. Another woman mentioned that in the 20 days, her husband worked 1/3 of the days. For one woman, her name was on the list so she worked but for two days her son supported; he’s16 years old.
The single woman only worked for 7 days and the rest of the time her son worked for her; he’s 30 years old. For another woman, her husband could not see, so he came to work for only one day. She didn’t get a compassionate grant, she’s not sure why she was excluded from the compassionate grants, but she just accepted it and didn’t mention it to Oxfam or their partner.
The group feel that they have completed some impressive work; it’s a really good, long road. This is not something that they have done before, they have done farming for themselves but they’ve never built a road before. They were happy while digging the road because everyone was involved. It was fun. This was the first time that these women have dug a road, but they have done the trail improvement before. The women really enjoyed the work, they worked for long hours, and it was physically hard work but they enjoyed it. The time passed quickly.
All the males and females, they didn’t work together. Men would work, and then they got tired, then they took rest and then female worked. Once the male members dug the road, the female would clear the rocks. The supervisor organised this.
They had to work very hard to get the money, but some people got the funds for free, they received compassionate grant. This was acceptable to the members of this group because those who were not able to work still got money for free. They felt that those who received the compassionate grants needed them.