Context and logic of the project

The earthquake that hit Nepal on 25thApril 2015 (measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale) followed by over 450[1] aftershocks caused billions of dollars in damages along with severe loss of life and injuries across central Nepal. The death toll has reached 8,856[2] with 22,309[3] reported injuries.

Transparency International Nepal (TIN) has been tracking the influx of aid during this time of emergency. Until August 21, 2015,a total of US$3.8 million[4] has been pledged to help rehabilitate and rebuild earthquake affected regions. Major contributors have been bilateral agencies with a pledge of US$2.2 billion[5] and multilateral agencies with a pledge of US$1.3 billion[6].

While the pledges show international solidarity to support Nepal, at a time crisis, there is general concern over how the pledged money will be used. Issues of transparency, accountability, and whether or not the pledged money will be used appropriately, are now major concerns among the donor community and those affected. This concern has been consistently expressed over a number of platforms. This money is intended to fund immediate relief aid and, in the future, reconstruction of Nepal’s infrastructure and the rehabilitation of its people.

In this background, TIN has designed a multipronged program aimed at building integrity at three key levels in the reconstruction process: 1) policy level, 2) implementation level and 3) Post implementation level.

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Program Highlights:

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Program Objective and Outcomes

Impact: Transparency and accountability in reconstruction and rehabilitation works that are conducted by the government and other stakeholders in the aftermath of the earthquakes. 

Outcome 1:(Policy level): Transparency in government reconstruction and rehabilitation policy ensured.

Outcome2:(Implementation level): Transparency and accountability in the implementation of reconstruction and rehabilitation funds promoted.

Outcome 3:(Post-implementation level): Quality of construction and grievances of the victims addressed.

 

Activities:

1.1.1 Lobby with Government of Nepal (GoN) to evaluate transparency and accountability aspects of the reconstruction plan and minimize fraud in the registration of victims as well as assessment of damage.

1.2.1 Monitor plans and works for reconstruction of the education sector and provide recommendations to the Ministry of Education in making the reconstruction of education environment more urgent, uninterrupted and transparent.

1.3.1  Lobby to implement a procurement watch that advocates signing of ‘no-bribery’ pledges between the bidders (private sector) and buyers (government bodies)

 

2.1.1 Work with the local civil society to  promote social accountability tools like information boards, progress press-meets, public hearing, information centre, workshops and interactions, and IEC materials.

2.2.1 Use radio and print media to disseminate information related to the earthquake reconstruction efforts on a regular basis to district residents.

2.3.1 Access and analyze financial reports of aid agencies and government bodies on the reconstruction process.

2.4.1 Lobby and monitor for clean reconstruction efforts of business community and NGOs in the earthquake-affected districts.

 

3.1.1 Work with District Disaster Committees to involve students, youth and volunteers to help facilitate government service delivery to the victims.

3.2.1 Ensure that the infrastructure built meets quality standards through a monitoring program

3.3.1 Set up a complaint mechanism to look into grievances in reconstruction and government service delivery

 

Modality of implementation

Transparency International Nepal (TIN),  established in 1996 as a civil society organization and the national chapter of Transparency International will be implement this program. Transparency International, the global anti-corruption watchdog, with international experience of promoting integrity in more than 100 countries, and specific experiences in post-disaster response in Haiti, USA, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Pakistan, Japan and Kenya, among others, will provide advice, as and when needed.

TIN Executive Committee takes the overall policy leadership and responsibility for program implementation and monitoring. The committee meets bi-monthly where one of meeting agendas would be related to this Action. TIN Constitution, Operational Manual, Executive Committee Directives as well as donor guidelines will facilitate the administrative and financial aspects of the action.

The Executive Director and the Project Team (comprising Coordinator, Program Officers, Admin and Finance Officers, Assistant, in Kathmandu; and Officer in each district), will implement the agreed plans.

To maximize the efficiency of the program, TIN aims to meet/discuss/lobby or engage itself both at the governmental and civil society level. Reconstruction Authority, National Planning Commission, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Education, Public Procurement Monitoring Offices, District Disaster Committees are some governmental offices where TIN will aim for policy interventions. Priority will also be given to engage with umbrella national bodies of NGOs, Auditors, Engineers, Schools, Contractors, FM radio, Local newspapers etc, as needed. This would be either in the form of discussing reform measures, seeking support or forwarding recommendations.

Target group and beneficiaries

Aiming to reach the needy earthquake victims in the 14 most affected districts of Nepal (Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Rusuwa, Dhading, Kavrepalanchowk, Ramechhap, Bhaktapur, Okhaldhunga, Sindhuli, Lalitpur, Kathmandu and Makawanpur), the target group and beneficiaries include the Government of Nepal, its agencies directly relevant to earthquake reconstruction work, public service delivery offices, universities, professionals, civil society and media, general public, and the victims of various forms of corruption. The action envisions a holistic approach with multi stakeholder involvement to achieve the outputs of the action.

Monitoring and reporting

TIN will review its activities on a half-yearly basis using a monitoring matrix. TIN Executive Director will track the performance of the project in delivering outputs on time and on budget using a MEA system. This will include a six monthly review meeting internally and an bi-annual review with the donor at the PAC meeting. A mid-term review will be commissioned by TIN followed by an independent external review of the project at the end.

Timeline and Budget

The program activities will be implemented within a 59 month period starting May 2016 (after the approval from relevant government agencies which is expected to take 2 months). The total budget of the proposed program is approximately 1.05 million Euros. Out of the total budget, TIN will co-finance a maximum of 5 % of the overall costs.

Conclusion

Millions of Nepalese have been severely affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks. Timely rehabilitation and reconstruction is essential in order to bring the lives of the affected districts back to normal. The earthquakes have affected the economy, education system, health and public life. Corruption in the reconstruction process could lead to prolonged difficulties in Nepal. This project targets a number of issues that may arise during the reconstruction process and attempts to establish transparency and accountability measures at all levels.

 

Post script: The program received Social Welfare Council approval on 4 July 2016

[1]National Seismological Center

[2]Ministry of Home Affairs. “Death and Damages”

[3]Ministry of Home Affairs. “Death and Damages”

[4]Estimation by Open Nepal

[5]Estimation by Open Nepal

[6]Estimation by Open Nepal