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Power in partnership: Strengthening localized emergency response in Nepal

Two emergency workers wearing orange vests carry a stretcher through a village.

Photo credit: Biken Ranjit/CARE

Photo credit: Biken Ranjit/CARE

SDG 1: No Poverty

As a leading organization in humanitarian response, CARE has long recognized that conventional models – where communities and local humanitarian actors wait for an international agency to act – lack the agility and community participation needed for today’s complicated crises.

Enabling a faster, more efficient response requires a community-led, local approach that prioritizes the expertise within those communities and strengthens their collective network for swift response.

In Nepal, where natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods and landslides occur frequently, CARE has been leaning into its role as a facilitator, convenor and relationship builder to develop a better model of humanitarian response at the local level. Currently in its pilot stage, CARE Nepal’s Humanitarian Partnership Platform (HPP) is convening and engaging local humanitarian partners to provide a comprehensive, coordinated and accelerated response based on needs and accountability of the affected population when crises arise. CARE Nepal is also working to localize disaster risk management, including policies and plans to ensure a coordinated, gender-responsive approach.

“Numerous organizations have been engaged in humanitarian response initiatives, particularly following the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these efforts have primarily been conducted in a siloed way,” says Bhagavati Adhikari, Executive Director of Nepal Mahila Ekata Samaj (NMES), one of HPP’s partnering organizations. “Recognizing the importance of a collaborative approach, the Humanitarian Partnership Platform was established with specialized organizations focused on various sectors and with human rights at the center.”

Each HPP partner brings to the table a unique specialization and access to varied networks. Collectively, they increase representation of stakeholders often overlooked in humanitarian response in Nepal, including the rights of Dalit women, community forest user groups, human rights defenders and farmer groups. Bhagavati shares, “NMES is an integral part of this platform, and it prioritizes the inclusion of women, girls, and children, especially from informal settlements, in all its activities, ensuring that the specific needs of these vulnerable groups are met during humanitarian crises and in response activities.”

The HPP program also strengthens preparedness through the planning process, training, review, simulation exercises and collaboration on smaller emergencies. This focus on preparedness by providing skills, leadership qualities, and preparation of policies and plans, helps ensure communities avoid a fragmented response when large disasters hit and can respond to smaller, more localized emergencies.

According to a UN study, every $1 spent on preparation saves more than $2 in emergency response. Preparedness also helps responders reach people faster, saving more lives.

Compared to contract-based response models, which can inadvertently add time and confusion in emergency situations, the HPP approach focuses on creating a local, self-sustaining network that fosters collective thinking, decision making, pre- planning, trust and complementing support. Not only does such a partnership provide a more holistic and effective response than CARE could accomplish alone, but because it lessens reliance on external agencies, it is more sustainable, equal and accountable. The HPP team is actively working to ensure the model lasts by facilitating strategic and critical review and reflections among its partners, community and stakeholders and developing the best strategies and approaches for long-term viability.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to us at impact@care.org, and we’ll be in touch soon.



Photo credit: Kamaiya Mahila Jagaran Samaj Nepal (KMJS)/CARE

HPP in action: When floods washed away the food

Every year in the Thakurbaba Municipality of Bardiya District, the Babai and Karnali rivers swell during monsoon season and flood the surrounding areas, displacing hundreds of families and destroying crops, stored grains and many other high-value assets.

Ram Hari Rijal, Thakurbaba’s Chief Executive Officer, has witnessed these challenges for years, and when floods hit suddenly on September 17, 2022, close to 600 families lost their grain supplies. While the municipality was able to deliver food relief for a little over a week, funds soon ran out, leaving 95 families in dire need of support. Rijal says, “CARE Nepal, through its Humanitarian Partnership Platform, provided food vouchers within 72 hours of our request for assistance reaching households most in need. Their rapid response made it possible for the affected families to have enough food for an additional 15 days.” Rijal remains grateful to HPP and CARE Nepal for convening a network that could respond swiftly and work with the local government to fill an immediate need while the community recovered.