by Nisha Shrestha, National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET)
When we wanted to reduce the risk from disasters for the Thankot community in Nepal, we decided to partner with GNDR on their Frontline programme.
The programme involved local risk profiling and the preparation of participatory action plans based on the risk profiles identified by the community. People identified earthquakes as their top threat and training in non-structural mitigation (NSM) was one of the priority actions. In simple terms, NSM is fixing things around homes to avoid getting hurt if an earthquake strikes.
Focused on the most vulnerable groups, the Frontline process was designed in such a way that it did not only facilitate women to find out their top five threats but also the potential solutions to those threats.
Leveraging previous knowledge, the women’s network of the municipality started to apply their learning in their own kitchens and bedrooms by fastening cupboards, frames, freezers, or gas cylinders, to reduce their own non-structural vulnerability. However, they did not stop there. Women started to conduct NSM works in their community and even beyond their locality. The initiative has been a step towards achieving a safer community through safer homes, safer schools and safer medical centres.
Traditionally, women in the area only do sewing and craft works. Supported and encouraged by their family members, the experience has boosted their confidence and improved their social recognition and respect as community mobilisers. They are probably the foremost skilled women’s group working on non-structural earthquake mitigation in the country. Empowered with important new technical skills they are now engaged in new income-generating activities. This has enabled them to play new leadership roles in their community as they are actively contributing to mitigating the risk of earthquakes.
The initiative has helped to translate and transfer technical information to the household level. In turn, this has led to a transformational change in this society, and credibility for working in DRR has been enhanced.
Find out more about the impact of GNDR in our latest Annual Report.
Photos: Bimala securing furniture at the Thankot Health Post in Chandragiri, a suburb of Kathmandu, Nepal. Credit:Lambert Coleman.