We presented our preliminary findings to representatives of HC member organization and other external stakeholders (this is the attendance list)
The final presentation can be:
The findings were well received by the participants, which had also provided additional feedback to sharpen some key issues (for example, on the need for preparedness; on the importance of learning from field staff).
Notes of the final meeting
We are looking at how we are doing things. This review was an example of active listening. Do we understand what people have to say? What does happy mean? What does satisfied mean? We went deep in this review but this is not everything, people can follow up. This review was focussed on learning; we really tried to emphasize what was different, what was new.
Voices – we really feel that is review is not about us talking, it’s about listening to the people who are there. It is communication orientated. We are trying to do an evaluation that goes beyond the report. It’s forward looking. We are looking at what’s next. Where do we go next from here?
Our work so far
We created the website; we have been tweeting throughout the review. The blog has the methodology, the background information and the literature review. We put our field notes, staff in the field and in Kathmandu are able to read and add comments. We are not perfect, and the staff knows better. We are tweeting live now during this presentation, please look at the #HCNepal to see all of our tweets. This is something that we are going to keep on doing until the report is released.
Inclusion is who is in and who is out when assistance is delivered, and when decisions are made? This conversation started with ActionAid, Oxfam and HI, when they worked on the framework for inclusion in DDR. The evaluation built on preparedness work that was already happening in the country.
Accountability is a promise. The government, the humanitarian organisations have made a promise to the communities. What is the content of the promise, are they known by the community? Are the promises kept?
This review focussed on Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS). Are we listening to the people, are we learning from the people, are our staff good focussed enough on the needs of the community.
Accountability – where are we?
Who shakes hands? There are 4 degrees –How did we rate it for this review? We stopped with the non-representative leaders. We are working with the Ward Citizen Forum (WCF), the VDCs. It is difficult to go beyond those leaders and consult others. They are taking the decision because “they know” what the community wants.
An example of this is – When you shake hands with the shop keeper, community members are comfortable with the shop keeper giving them seeds, they have an understanding with the private sector. It’s not true that people don’t complain. They are happy to make the complaints to the shop keeper but not the NGOs.
How are people engaged? We are in #2, sometimes some light consultations have happened. There is good enough approached and sometimes it’s being more consultative. We could have pushed this in this response. We should have gone a little bit forward.
How can we make it happen, with the challenges our time and the capacity of the people on the ground? We want to make it happen; sometimes we need to be a little bit more creative, we need to push ourselves to ensure that the community is engaged. How can we help the people participate more?
Is the promise clear? When we have a project, how clear are we? In most cases people know what assistance they will receive, they have some details. Very rarely do they have the budget spelled out, indicators, etc. They may be there on the paper, but they are not circulated to the beneficiaries. Oxfam have great criteria, and the WCF have a broad idea about this criteria but the community doesn’t know. The challenge is how do we make it travel, to the WCF but also to the people that are benefitting?
How is it communicated? This is a reality check about the circulation of information. We think that we’re on the radio, etc. but people are not finding the information we need. There are feedback mechanisms, there are phone lines, but people don’t know they exist.
We need to help them to filter out the rumours.
We have a duty to provide information, but we have the duty to tell them they have the right to assistance, the right to ask questions. We need to put these things in place, but also we need to think more about what we put in place.
If people have not been consulted throughout, then we are not being accountable. There is a huge imbalance; we invest in the feedback mechanisms but that is not accountability.
It is not about who we target; inclusion is the right that people have to demand the assistance they want.
Largely people have been informed, there has been a lot of data collection, but the consultation has not really happened.
People are breaking the stones for cash for work (CFW), they are active, but is this decision making. They have been asked what project you want; do you prefer you make the road, here or there? But they are not consulted on what time they should come and go from the CFW.
We can always include them if we recognise their diversity.
There has been some adaptation in Nepal because we recognise different castes. How many types of Dalits, ethnic groups? The partners know the different groups that we need to target. If we just put down low caste, we are discriminating against a lot of different castes. We keep on working on standardize castes – just focussing on the Dalits. There are different types of Dalits, blacksmiths, cobblers, carpenters, etc. We need to use the knowledge that you and your staff already have to help recognise the diversity.
An example is; we cannot give the same seeds to everyone, we need to recognise if we give the rice seeds to everyone, then you don’t reach everyone because some have land where you can’t plant rice and they can only plant millet and maize.
There are a lot of standardised packages. There is a big effort from the government to standardize everything. The humanitarian organisations have been trying to push the government to change but it’s difficult. We need to think harder about how we work within the lines that the government has set out but still provide the appropriate assistance to everyone.
There have been issues about family size – 5 or 14 in your family; you still get the same package. That’s not standardisation, that’s favouritism to smaller families. Why can’t be provide 1 bar of soap or blanket for every family members rather than 5 bars of soap to a family regardless of size? Organisations really need to start pushing for change. The Government is now trying to listen and change.
If are really keen on working in inclusion, what do we do to allow people to participate? We need to be careful because people are being left out of the response.
Are women just participating because they are told that they must attend, but there isn’t meaningful participation?
Emergency is a fantastic opportunity to remove barriers – women can do more than tailoring, they can be masons.
Accountability and inclusion is a tug of war – we do appreciate the scale of challenges, the lack of preparedness, the government, etc. It was difficult to do it; we need to be aspirational and to be true to the CHS.
A way forward
We have been talking about mainstreaming gender for decades but it’s not there. People read “gender” on a document and they don’t read it – people think it’s too long, there’s too much gender jargon, etc. The things that we have done so far aren’t working.
There are a lot of new people on the job here in Nepal and they need to have people to learn from on the job. Specialists and field staff, they need to sit together in the field, people want to include women but they don’t want to read the report about including women. Be innovative.
Gender, age, ability, income – they are not vulnerabilities they are characteristics.
Everyone gives to the lactating mothers because there is an assumption that they are vulnerable, and the men are being forgotten.
There are dangers with the blind categories, being a Dalit doesn’t make you poor and vulnerable. We propose your aggregate; it’s about the Oxfam 5 out of 8 vulnerability categories. Just because you have a disability, you are not vulnerable, just because you are a single woman, you are not vulnerable. Don’t stigmatise people and challenge the stereotype. Only once we challenge these rigid categories can we really be affective.
Targeting is not inclusion. If you give something to someone it doesn’t mean they are included. If they are part of the consultation and receive nothing and understand why they received nothing, they are still included.
If you are included you are a subject, if you are giving people something they are an object.
Think about capacities – the youth have been forgotten in this response.
The power of data in humanitarian response has yet to be unleashed – there is so much work that has been done on verification but the data is nowhere to been seen. At the beginning, the government was in control; now the government is now starting to understand what the NGOs are talking about. Let’s use the data, let’s have meaningful disaggregation.
When organisations state that 60% of the participants were women it’s not meaningful disaggregation. Women registered for CFW it doesn’t mean they are preforming the CFW – the moment you go into the field the numbers are not correct, they are not meaningful.
Humanitarians don’t share their data, if it’s in your computer is wrong. We should be putting data in a different way. Using the tools, the tablets.We need to start informed advocacy with the government. It’s been long enough but in order to do so, we need to be able to have the evidence. We need to use our data for advocacy. We need to come together for informed advocacy.
Conflict sensitivity – there was no mention about conflict sensitivity in the literature review. There has been some mention conflict – people talk about the politics, but no one talks about the conflict/civil war that ended only ten years ago. People on the ground who work in the communities, they know it. We need to invest in Do No Harm training for our staff. The next phase of the response needs to think about conflict sensitivity. You need to create a space, share ways and practices about this.
Communication is so important; the message boards, the community mobilisers, the radio. We need to strengthen the link between inclusion and accountability.
When we think about communication, we need to think about how people acquire it. They need to be able talk to us, to have consistent conversations with us. We need to really understand how is information usually spread? And what about the new media? People have mobile phone, etc. How can we use this new media to better communicate?
Preparedness matters – the knowledge is not there. Local organisations working for relief, we they learned that they need to plan, to have a budget, etc. We need to engage with government, to translate plans into action.
Working together can make a difference – There is so much opportunity to share and learn and we need to work together to make a difference. We need to start advocating together.
Do they resonate with you?
Comment from HI – All of the surge teams that came, they were disconnected from the preparedness work. The emergency teams need to review the way we work because there has been so much preparedness in Nepal. The years on preparedness work, had focussed on the vulnerable people. HI had to fight to work in consortium “In emergencies we don’t work in consortium.” There is something so specific about preparedness – the disconnect between emergency and development is being addressed more in some organisations than in others. A lot induction work is appropriate, spending time to explain the context people. There was orientation meeting of the UN but people did not come. Information to your surge teams needs to be prepositioned – they need to know what they must and must not do.
Comment CARE -The organisations have been there for a number of years – in some of the districts where we have been responding, like Gorkha. We need to take the learning and knowledge that has been learned over the years and apply it to the response. We understand the vulnerabilities, the complex, etc. why haven’t we used it?
In some of the areas we struggled because we were required to use the Government list, it was very difficult to validate the list. It took a lot of effort to work with the authorities. We needed to engage the communities to refine those criteria. – We need to engage to have the buy in with the communities.
Comment Save -Targeting – when we target it is not only us, it’s together with the VDC. We make the list public so that people can comment. – people don’t see the list, they don’t know the targeting. Where we went people don’t know.
Comment Plan – Let’s look more at the field staff. They have so much knowledge and are inspired. They work so hard and there is a willingness to learn and change and do better.
How do we share the information to the field staff? They work very hard, from morning to evening. How do we ensure that they transfer the knowledge? They followed the expats in this response, they didn’t argue with them when they knew better.
Comment CARE – People are committed to coordination measures. Winterisation – there was a significant delay, we were grappling with the standardized package, to make sure that organisations provide the standard package. Perhaps the standard package was not the best approach; we did conducted assessment to explain the needs. There was a consensus in the cluster that we should give people a voucher to allow some flexibility. Households would get an extra top up voucher if they were more vulnerable- we needed to be consistent. We deal with district authorities – the standardize approach may not be acceptable going forward.
Silva – People are aware of what are receiving and what people are getting across villages in the district. Those that are the most vulnerable – they don’t complain.
In Sindhupalchowk, total HH was 65, 000 HH and is now 80 000 HH. Looking into some people are splitting, people who know someone who can split. But what about the single women? Maybe they split away from an extended family, it’s not just young men trying to get extra assistance.
The central bureau of statistic is now reassessing the figures for those that are affected. To what extend do your organisations use the data and the local knowledge to double check to see what the government is doing? It goes back to advocacy.
In this review there are a huge number of committed staff – the honestly of the staff, they wanted to fix these issue. They are oriented to do better, taking on the challenge and they are positive.
Conflict sensitivities – a lot of nuances and issues surrounding the conflict in Nepal are not documented at all, new teams have to start from scratch without the knowledge needed to do no harm. We need to be better at documenting these lessons.