Kathmandu, February 26
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) is soon coming up with a directive to align programmes of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) with the government’s post-earthquake reconstruction policy and ensure
resources do not crowd in one area or sector.
The INGO Mobilisation Directive is being framed at a time when ‘some INGOs were found to be working to serve their
vested interest, posing a threat to social harmony’.
Recently, residents of Makwanpur district complained that some INGOs were extending support to earthquake victims to rebuild their houses based on their religious faith, government officials said. The NRA fears this discriminatory practice could create disenchantment among locals, who do not get the support, tearing the social fabric apart.
“It is our firm belief that conflicts should not arise in the process of executing works related to reconstruction. In this regard, the directive that we are planning to introduce soon will align programmes of various INGOs with the reconstruction policy. This will ensure resources are mobilised in an equitable manner,” NRA Under Secretary Bhisma Kumar Bhusal, who is drafting the directive, told The Himalayan Times.
As some of the INGOs are working in an arbitrary manner, the NRA is facing difficulties in ascertaining resource gaps in
Till mid-December, INGOs were allowed to implement programmes upon seeking permission from line ministries.
“But now we have found that organisations that have not taken prior approval are also launching projects,” Bhusal said. “Since we have no idea on programmes that are being rolled out by INGOs, it has become increasingly difficult for us to determine fund and other requirements of every sector.”
This, according to Bhusal, calls for the need to make it mandatory for INGOs to submit reports on their activities to the NRA. “The directive will include a provision on this as well,” Bhusal added.
Once all INGOs start reporting about their activities, the NRA can easily trace locations where INGOs are working and programmes they are implementing. This will help the NRA to monitor distribution of resources in different districts and sectors.
It has lately been reported that around 62 INGOs are working in Dolakha district alone, while some other districts are seeing presence of a few INGOs.
“Our aim is to ensure reconstruction and rehabilitation activities do not crowd in one place. We will try to address this issue through the directive,” said Bhusal.
The earthquakes of April and May caused destruction in 14 districts, including three in Kathmandu Valley. The quakes also claimed around 9,000 lives, completely destroyed around 591,647 private houses, affected livelihoods of about 5.6 million workers and caused damage and losses worth around Rs 706.46 billion.
It is feared that the disasters may have also pushed as many as 982,000 additional people — or 3.5 per cent of the total population — back into the trap of poverty. Worse, the devastating quakes shaved an estimated Rs 36.52 billion off the projected gross domestic product, limiting economic growth of fiscal year 2014-15 to 3.04 per cent — the lowest since fiscal 2006-07.
A version of this article appears in print on February 27, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.