Kathmandu, April 15
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has paved the way for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international NGOs (INGOs) to directly extend grants to owners whose houses were completely damaged by earthquakes of last April and May.
Issuing a guideline on Mobilisation of NGOs in Reconstruction and Rehabilitation, the NRA has encouraged NGOs and INGOs to deposit funds for private house reconstruction in the NRA’s Reconstruction Fund.
“But if any partner organisation wishes to extend the grant on its own, it can do so by following provisions laid in the Guideline on Grant Distribution for Reconstruction of Private Houses Damaged by Earthquakes,” says the guideline, which has been introduced to consolidate the post-quake reconstruction and rehabilitation works, avoid duplication in project and programme implementation, and ensure resources are distributed in a fair manner.
The ceiling on grant amount for each household has been fixed at Rs 200,000. “However, private house reconstruction grant of up to Rs 250,000 can be extended to ultra poor families, widows with underage children, single mothers, families comprising members above the age of 75 and disabled people,” says the guideline, adding, “The grant amount should be extended through banking network and in instalments.”
But prior to distributing the grant, NGOs and INGOs must submit a proposal at the NRA and take its consent.
“While submitting the proposal, INGOs must offer to build at least 250 private houses in one confined area, while NGOs and other local and foreign philanthropists must propose to build at least 50 private houses,” says the guideline. “The proposals should also contain plans to facilitate development of other basic public infrastructure in the area.”
Once these plans are approved, partner organisations operating in urban areas must start project implementation within seven days, while those based in rural areas should roll out projects within 15 days. This provision also applies to other projects being rolled out by INGOs and NGOs.
The guideline has allowed INGOs and NGOs to work in the areas of rural housing and settlement development, urban housing and heritage conservation, community mobilisation and economic rehabilitation, reconstruction of public buildings and other cross-cutting sectors, such as disaster risk mitigation, technical assistance, distribution of construction materials and equipment, supply management and geological studies.
“Once INGOs and NGOs identify areas where they want to work, they must submit a proposal to the NRA,” says the guideline, which has adopted one-window system in post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation works.
Upon approval of the proposal, the NRA, implementing agency or concerned district development committee and the partner organisation will sign a tripartite agreement, based on which programmes and projects would be implemented.
The guideline says overhead and human resources management and mobilisation expenses of INGOs and NGOs must not exceed 20 per cent of the total project cost. The partner agencies should also submit monthly progress reports to NRA’s sub-regional office or other agencies identified by NRA.
“Partner agencies that do not submit progress reports on a regular basis, or do not provide any other information sought by the NRA or other agencies, or fail to conduct works as per the mandate given to them will be suspended and blacklisted,” says the guideline. “If implementing agencies work against the provisions included in the guideline, their contracts could even be terminated, upon seeking clarification.”
Also, implementing agencies are barred from extending assistance based on religious or political faith or ethnicity. These organisations also should not engage in self-promotional activities or try to generate profit from their engagement at the local level.
Besides, partner organisations must mobilise necessary financial resources before getting programmes and projects approved. “Partner organisations also should not raise funds for reconstruction and rehabilitation from the local level,” says the guideline.
A version of this article appears in print on April 16, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.