Presentation in Ottawa – Nepal 1 year later – Népal 1 an plus tard

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How can we ensure no one is left behind in emergencies and how can we improve accountability to the people we are trying to reach through our responses?

The Humanitarian Coalition recently completed a review of the projects funded to its members for their response after the Nepal earthquake.

While focussing on the Core Humanitarian Standard as the guiding framework, the review looked at inclusion and accountability as separate concepts linked by a common desired outcome: to ensure that affected people, the most vulnerable in particular, are active actors in the response and have a role in decision making on issues affecting their communities.

In the spirit of peer learning, the Humanitarian Coalition invites you to the release of this report and an ensuing panel discussion with experts in humanitarian programing.

When: April 15, 2016, from 2-4 pm
Where: University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences, room 1030
Find out more about this event.

Confirmed Panelists:
Kevin Dunbar, CARE Canada, Director, Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Team
Bart Witteveen, World Vision Canada, Director, Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs
Silva Ferretti, independent consultant and team leader for the Humanitarian Coalition’s review of the Nepal earthquake response.

The discussion will be moderated by Sue Szabo, Director, Inclusive Economies at the IDRC.

Due to space considerations, we would request you confirm your presence.

We encourage you to share this invitation with your networks and look forward to seeing you there.


26/02 Presentation of preliminary findings


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:

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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.


25/02 Some feedback received on the evaluation method

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

Here is some feedback received on the evaluation methodology and approach





25/02 Meeting with Chief District Officier

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

Dhading was suffering from the earthquake, donors did a great job.  The government is preparing for recovery; the government is still doing its own work, collecting the data because the current data is obsolete. They are again collecting the household data, in 2 or 3 months they will have an understanding of what is the scenario. Within two or three months they will know the situation, things will be clearer and they will know what the government can do and what will be the needs.

It’s great that INGOs have the data, but so far they have not received any data from the NGOs. The government will use it. The government has asked for data and reports. The government has received reports about what they did and updates, he is sure he has received those but on the situational updates and data, he is not sure.

What has been the capacity to reach those marginalized groups? CARE and Oxfam and partners have reported what they have done. He is not aware that they are sending assessment data to the Government. He thinks that it is better that if they all work together, work with the District Development Committee to prepare plans. He doesn’t want piecemeal information, it isn’t helpful. It is very difficult to assemble them and to see the big picture. He wants to make the plan holistic.

The Post disaster needs assessment (PDNA) has been done. It does not include what the conditions of the people are, the poverty levels, etc. Priority 1, 2 and 3 VDCs have been classified. CARE has been able to reach priority 1 and 2 VDCs have been reached, but the lower priority districts also have vulnerable people like Dalits that are in need.

There were prioritized districts where marginalized people lived pre-earthquake. Now they are extending the priority to go to the less affected district to target the marginalized people. An example is the Chepan people, they had small houses pre-earthquake, and even if they weren’t affected by the earthquake they are still in need.

They are doing a good job; he has visited the CFW site of Oxfam and it’s great.



25/02 Meeting with Deputy Superintendent of Police

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 met with Sabin Pradhan, Nepal Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police

We asked him what the situation was after the earthquake in terms of Gender Based Violence (GBV). We learned about GBV when there are disasters or conflict; the group of people that suffer the most are women and children. The reality cannot be different. The number of cases and the risk on this population has increased. The police are not receiving the same number of reports in comparison to the same number of incidents. The people are very reluctant to speak to the police. The social structure is so complex that women cannot come freely to talk to the police. You really have to persuade them to talk. Only once they can speak freely, you learn about what is happening in villages and VDCs. When we go to the VDCs, the women come and discuss their problems that their needs to be addressed.

In the present context in Dhading, a lot of males are attracted to foreign employment. The youth have to find jobs outside of the district, either in Kathmandu or abroad. This leaves behind the women and children, they have to rely on the community structure for security, therefore they must live together with other families. When they live together in a larger family, the remaining males get the opportunity to harass them or speak to them openly when they are in isolation. That is a way of getting sexual benefits. The men who stay behind have more opportunity and the playground to find these women alone. These men are speaking to them and asking for sexual favours. They ask multiple times, the women may refuse the first or second time. If a woman consents to one sexual favour, these men can always intimidate them – they’ve done it once, why don’t they do it again.  They explanation always is that these women performed sexual favours with consent.  There may be consent in the first occasion but in several cases afterwards there may be no consent.  There have been cases of rape registered in Dhading, they don’t understand the concept of rape; there must be consent every time people have sexual interactions.

Economic issues have occurred post-earthquake; people have not been involved in agriculture, or the lack of water sources has not been very good for agricultural output after the earthquake. Men are in search of labour, it’s pushing them to move away from their place of residence. One of the areas where they find employment is the highway. There are new factories being opened near the highway. These factories can trigger violence for people; exploitation, child labour. They have heard that there are more than 100 children working in brick factories that are being opened along the highway.

A lot of work post-earthquake has been done in Dhading that was beyond the capacity of the government, the space that has been filled by INGOs has been great. We haven’t been able to integrate and collaborate together to ensure that the works are taking place in an organized manner. We need to have a plan in place to fight GBV in an organized manner. When relief materials were flying into the country, nobody thought about the dignity kits. It took over a week for dignity kits to arrive, specifically targeted to specific groups; milk for children, dignity kits. We need to have a plan about what is needed in the first and second week, then the first month, what early relief times to be flown in within the first six months, and then we talk about the year.

Protection activities have been good. There weren’t protection activities during the search and rescue period; this needs to be done side by side. People still look at who is the main person in the house; when a woman is representing a family, the woman is not taken into consideration. Those gathering data are looking for the males to be the head of the household. The teams need to know that the head of the family can be male or female, they can equally represent the family. Even now women ask to be recorded as a different family because it is a female headed household. If the husband is living away from the village the data is not collected properly. There is still under representation of women in the family in terms of authority and opportunity. This is not only about land and house ownership, he is referring to a family, they don’t exist if the man isn’t present.

The issue of land ownership for single women who have not received the victim cards is an issue now but the new constitution guarantees that property ownership for all women regardless of their age. Moving forward there shouldn’t be any issues. INGOs role is to do awareness raising, sensitizing people about the issues.

When we talk about protection, he sees Nepal police as an important agency in Nepal because of its spread throughout the country. 2800 police units across the country, with 6% female police officers, most importantly about 20 years ago, Police established a special women service desk. This desk then transformed as a women cell and now it is a women service center and is used to promote police professionalism to those who are in contact with the law as a victim or a suspect. The women service center must look after them; they are trying to put as many female police office in these centers. They have 75 women and children service districts, in all the 14 zones, and all regional police offices, and 1 metro police office. The one at the capital is the women and children service directorate. Very soon the contractors will come to Dhading and will start building the women and children center with facility to help women to stay there for 22 days. In the district there isn’t a place where they can send women and children for safe keeping, even if we have facilities they don’t have the funds to take care of them if the need medical attention.

13 cases of rape have been registered in the last 7 months, many of them are underage, and a few of them are mentally unstable. They are in their homes. The police are trying to transfer a girl to Kathmandu, she cannot go to school because of the trauma, she wants a change of scenery.

NGOs have to institutionalize the support by actually speaking to people in the headquarters so they can issue the directives. At the district level they don’t have the authority to work together with NGOs, they have to ask permission. They need to have something concrete at the HQ level; this will make the difference to the people on the ground.  We need to plan on how we are going to help one another.


25/02 Meeting at Women and Children Department

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 spoke to three Women Office supervisors and one Child protection supervisor

To what extent international organizations had managed to reach out the most excluded people? There was cluster meeting and they discussed how they can reach the marginalized and excluded groups.  What do they meet by marginalized group. Chepang, dalit, janagaty are the marginalized. Also pregnant mother, lactating mothers, elderly. So someone who is rich in a village but old, is he still marginalized? They do not consider a rich old person a marginalized. They focus more on dalit. There are also rich dalit. But dalit thinks that they are poor. Did they ever discussed about these challenges in the meeting? Information on these marginalized group were collected by social mobilizers to find out the most marginalized people. They have one social mobilizer in each VDC. When there are are not such social mobilizers, they relied on the social mobilizer of international organizations.

There are 28 badly affected VDC and they had 8 social mobilizers, for other VDC they used local NGOs and cooperatives social mobilizers. Do they feel that the presence is enough to have an idea of the challenges? Yes, they feel that they have a strong network. They feel that they cover all the marginalized groups. She feel very strongly that they all received assistance. What were the most challenging groups to include, and how did they go about it? They talk about a particular VDC in the north. It was very difficult to go there. UNICEF and UNFPA provided material, the women development office did not have money, but the money was then provided to them. UNFPA dropped here “dignity kits” and it was difficult to the office. They do not know if it was delivered.

So are they confident that the marginalized people are reached? They agree that having information if the people are included or not is part of the task of the government, but they cannot be sure that everyone has been included. They used to discuss in the cluster meeting who provided what. But they know that not everyone received. For example, some women (pregnant, lactating… ) came to the office and they said that they did not receive. So they know that there are still some gaps.  They do not know exactly who are these women and how to verify. Who were these women? They look like deserving women, had no identity card. It would be good to give some.  In other cases they managed to address the issue for example in linking up with other agencies.

They do not have any resource, to give to the women what they want. So the coordinated with other agencies. They do not have resources at this department. They do not have transportation system. They would like to have Vehicle.

24/02 Meeting with Ward Citizen Forum Coordinator and women leaders of the community

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 had a short meeting with some women in leadership position. The focus was to check the relevance of women-related activities for them.

Did CARE do anything relevant for women in this program after the earthquake?  A woman started to talk  about what CARE did for them before the earthquake and other activities after the earthquake  (but didn’t mention anything directly related to women empowerment).

Another woman mentioned how CARE gave information about human trafficking and how CARE created women and children friendly spaces to give information about human trafficking. She also got information about the 16 days activism campaign and how they got consueling from these sessions. During these days they also  talked about gender issues, and about how to empower women to be more participative and change their lives. This other women referred to how traumatized and depressed they were after the earthquake, and after support from CARE and their partners and how grateful she was for the moral support they got.

Was the psychosocial support only directed to women? The special support was only given to women. 

We asked what practical examples they had of the impact of such activities.  One woman gave the example of a helpless woman in the ward and how through the separate training, and the money from the seeds she is not helpless anymore. [however this programme is not provided by care]

What about the rally? They all went to the rally. They were 800 people in the rally including 200 male. What was this rally about? Women said it was to mark the 16 days of activism and to make other women aware of GBV. Was there any link with the earthquake? After earthquake, there was no place for shelter, women were more vulnerable during that time in terms of safety. Ward 1 to Ward 9 participated. Thanks to the rally men also got aware about the vulnerabilities of women.

It was asked to the only man in the room what he thinks about this? He replied that due to rally, men got the idea that women are vulnerable and that men now felt that they need to support women.

Does Gender Based Violence happen in this village? It did not use to be reported before. Since the establishment of the center now they know where to report and who to report to. 45 cases were reported after the establishment of the center. Around 32 cases were reported and women stayed in the safe house for a different time (some 2 hours, some 5 days). What happens to the women who stay 5 days and then goes back home? Some cases have been successful, some women are coming back. Women who stay for several days and then come back need to be given some skills before going back home.  [CARE however had a role in the referral, but running the center was not part of the programme]