Together with its partners, AIA commits to providing permanent, earthquake-resilient housing to displaced families in the Sindhupalchok region, through a process that incorporates significant beneficiary input and participation. All Hands will act as lead implementing partner, and brings extensive expertise in project management, construction skills training, and volunteer mobilization in post-disaster reconstruction projects in developing countries. This contribution includes an international network of over 30,000 multi-skilled volunteers.
This commitment is a phased program that will be completed over two years, beginning with an assessment and design phase incorporating input from the local community, followed by a pilot phase in which homes will be built and a skilled work force will be developed by training beneficiaries. Input from the community will be gathered by a team of Society for Nepalese Architects (SONA) and Department of Small Works designers through workshops and meetings to address community needs and understand cultural context. SONA and All Hands will develop criteria for beneficiary selection to identify the most vulnerable and urgent-care families, including vulnerabilities associated with female-led households and opportunities to train women builders. Once beneficiaries are selected, a team of project managers and construction experts will provide training in building materials, building methods, and disaster risk reduction skills. Then, after evaluation and revision as needed, this commitment will be scaled, impacting a total of 10-12 villages and approximately building a total of 540 homes
Potential challenges are the monsoons, which run June August of each year and hamper transportation and communications even in non-disaster contexts. Many of the neediest villages are in remote, hard-to-access areas rendering access for personnel and materials costly and difficult. Another challenge is the need to find buildable land in a mountainous terrain, where much of the buildable land is buried in rubble. The Government of Nepals potential strict regulation of the housing rebuilding, may restrict geography and scale of the housing program.
Phase 1: Assessment and Design July 15 Sept. 15, 2015
A number of communities in Sindhupalchoc will be assessed, and the pilot community will be selected based on need and residents willingness to participate in the program. A community-led process of culturally appropriate, sustainable, earthquake-resilient housing design undertaken, which will then be reviewed and finalized by a team of engineers and architects from commitment partner organizations and submitted for approval for the government of Nepal.
Phase 2: Construction of Pilot Homes Sept. 16 Dec. 30, 2015
Members of the selected pilot community will be educated in disaster preparedness/risk reduction, and approximately 35 beneficiaries, selected based on criteria developed by the partners, will be trained in disaster resilient construction skills. Beneficiaries and local and international volunteers will work together to construct 40 homes under the project management of All Hands, and receive ongoing direction and support from the design team (SONA and Department of Small Works, in consultation with Architects Foundation and ARCASIA). Over the 3.5 month period, a total of 100 local and international volunteers will contribute 3,360 days of labor. Together, partners will document, monitor and revise designs as needed for integration into the program expansion.
Phase 3: Scaling up and Replication Jan. 1, 2016 June 30, 2017
Following the pilot project, ten communities will be selected. Beneficiaries trained in the pilot phase will be given the opportunity to earn a locally appropriate wage and act as foremen/skilled workers for All Hands Volunteers to expand into these communities. Each of these additional communities will receive education in disaster preparedness, and approximately 45 beneficiaries per community will be trained in resilient construction techniques, increasing the potential for replication throughout the affected region both formally through the commitment and informally as beneficiaries employ their now-marketable skills in a region with high demand for disaster-resilient construction. Target deliverables for Phase 3 only: every 6 months, 3-4 villages are impacted; in total 150 -200 homes constructed, 135-180 local people trained, and 400 individual volunteers contribute 14,400 days of labor.
The "Fast Track" partners are primarily seeking the financial resources needed to bring the project to scale as described in the initial CGI commitment. Although the program was able to find donors outside of CGI for the pilot phase, finding similar amounts of funding, not to mention the amounts required to reach the target of 150 to 200 permanent houses across nine or 10 communities, will be harder now, as so much time has elapsed since the disaster. In fact, due to the lack of funding and the government of Nepal's stance/prohibitions on NGOs building permanent housing, the pilot phase was scaled back to a transitional or "progressive" housing design, which resulted in a lower materials cost, while at the same time generating a higher number of houses constructed than the target of 40. However, the partners are optimistic that a close look at the success of the pilot phase will spark interest and contributions from CGI members.
To that end, the partners would appreciate media/marketing support from CGI in disseminating case studies and final reports that have been generated about the pilot phase across the CGI channels, so that potential funders are aware that at this watershed moment, when the government of Nepal is about to promulgate guidelines permitting iNGOs to lawfully rebuild housing, there is a tried and true model and proven partnership poised to step into the void which has existed since the earthquakes.
AIA is offering contributing organizations and partners the opportunity to participate directly in the construction process.