Mundre Kumal, 71, is a resident of Palungtar Municipality in Gorkha district. When the ‘Government of India supported Nepal Housing Reconstruction Project’ (GOI-NHRP) team met him in May 2018, he was in distress, living in a temporary shelter made of bamboo and plastic sheet with his family after the devastating earthquake of April 2015. The days were more difficult during monsoon as rain would drench his belongings and during winter were insufferable with no protection from freezing temperature.
His condition was aggravated due to his visual impairment, compounded as his two wives also suffered from blindness. Due to poverty, they had not educated their two sons, eldest one of age 30 years and younger of 12 years. The family’s sustenance was fully dependent on the eldest son, who worked as a daily-wage labor but was unable to fulfil minimum need of the family. So, in search of better opportunities and to help his family overcome extreme poverty, he had migrated to India in search of work.
Kumal owned a small plot of land, where their damaged house was still standing in need of demolition. He had already spent the first tranche of Rs. 50,000 towards emergency health needs. So, left with no money, the family had lost hope to move back to a new and safe house.
The GOI-NHRP team visited Kumal’s house with the president of “Tole Sudhar Samiti" (Community based committee). After seven rounds of community meetings, the committee was mobilized to support Kumal’s house reconstruction through 40 person-days of free labor from the community. They also agreed to provide timber required for roofing and opened vehicular access to Kumal's land for easing transportation of construction materials.
However, these inputs still proved inadequate, as the house owner was unable to put in any additional resources beyond Rs. 250,000 which he would receive from the government in two tranches only after commencement of the construction. Hence, the project discussed this situation with the Palungtar Municipality, which as a special gesture provided him Rs. 25,000 through their budget to start the reconstruction.
The project team through community discussions decided to demonstrate Containment Reinforcement (CR) technology, which is an improvisation of traditional stone in mud mortar technology, with use of GI wire- a technology approved by Government of Nepal with support from the United Nations Developmente Program (UNDP). It replaces timber, except for roof, with GI wire, and minimizes use of water, both of which are scarce and expensive. Accordingly, detailed construction plan along with drawings and estimation were prepared and the municipality officials were also consulted, seeking their consent on the technology, which was introduced for the first time in the municipality. The municipality approved use of the technology and also acknowledged the special needs of such vulnerable households, who require additional social, technical and financial support to be able to start reconstruction.
The construction commenced in October 2018 and the project also utilized this opportunity to train local (and project) masons on the CR technology as it was quite new and widely replicable as it is a cost-effective technology. During the course of construction, on-the-job training was conducted for four local masons while 42 other masons from the project received one day orientation. In December 2018, Kumal was able to complete construction of his house within the grant he received from the government and shifted into his new house with his family, with a feeling of great relief, safety and contentment.
Mundre Kumal is one among 8,000 such families in GoI-NHRP area in Gorkha, who are vulnerable due to their poor physical, mental, economic or social conditions. GOI-NHRP is providing intensive socio-technical facilitation support to these needy vulnerable households, who without additional support would not be able to undertake construction and risk being left behind in the reconstruction process.
About the project:
The Government of India funded socio-technical facilitation support for housing reconstruction in Gorkha is being implemented by UNDP in two urban and six rural municipalities, namely Gorkha and Palungtar municipalities, and Dharche, Aarughat, Ajirkot, Siranchowk, Gandaki, Sahid Lakhan rural municipalities, targeting a total of 26,912 house owners, identified jointly by the Government of Nepal and the Government of India.
To effectively deliver high quality socio-technical facilitation services to 26,912 households in Gorkha, the UNDP has partnered with the Owner Driven Reconstruction Collaborative (ODRC), a network of registered institutions in India working to support national and state governments in instituting and facilitating the owner-driven housing reconstruction process. The main project interventions providing socio-technical facilitation support encompass six major components:
Facilitating use of Appropriate Disaster Resistant Technologies.