Ms. Bronwyn Russel is a Junior Consultant working for UNDP Nepal on the design and implementation of the Disaster Resilient Livelihood Initiative.
26 Jun 2014
When we talk about disaster risk management we so rarely talk about how to help safeguard small businesses from the impacts of disaster
Charikot, 21 June 2014 – When a disaster happens we find ourselves measuring its impact in lives. What is often not considered is the toll it has taken on the livelihoods of those that survive, and the resultant significant and widespread human suffering that will ripple through the economy of municipality, a region, or even an entire nation. The Ministry of Home Affairs Nepal estimates, in 2013 alone, that the country suffered NRs. 342,592,782 of direct losses as a result of disaster – approximately 2 percent of total GDP.
In developing countries an average of 80 percent of the economy is comprised of small, medium and micro-enterprises. Nepal is no exception. Yet when we talk about disaster risk management we so rarely talk about how to help safeguard these small businesses from the impacts of disaster. Disasters are responsible for destroying land, crops, livestock, buildings, equipment, supply chains, and other assets every year, contributing to the impoverishment of many who may lose everything. The impact of disaster in Nepal acts as a detractor from long-term poverty alleviation and broader economic development of the entire country.
This is what a recent initiative of UNDP Nepal aims to address. The Disaster Resilient Livelihood Initiative is a pilot project to develop the synergy between UNDP Nepal’s Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) and its Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Programme (CDRMP). Through this initiative, UNDP is attempting to harness the expertise of its disaster risk management experts to increase the awareness and preparedness the micro-enterprises it supports, along with the Government of Nepal, through their joint flagship poverty alleviation programme, MEDEP. The hope is that this will empower micro-entrepreneurs to protect their businesses for natural hazard. Likewise, it is also using MEDEP professional’s enterprise development expertise to help improve the livelihood outcomes of CDRMP’s risk reduction interventions.
As a part of this project, a training session was held recently in Charikot, Dolakha for 16 participants – 14 Enterprise Development Facilitators (EDFs) working with MEDEP and two government officials – on “Disaster Proofing Your Business,” the first of its kind in Nepal. Participants were familiarized with the basics of disaster risk management, as well as risk assessment for micro-enterprise and community level mitigation and adaptation measures. The purpose of the training is to enable the EDFs to support potential and existing micro-entrepreneurs to identify factors that might increase their risks and formulate plans and strategies to adapt to, mitigate and prevent those risks were possible, and prepare for ways to continue their business in the face of natural hazards that cannot be avoided. The support will include passing on valuable lessons on risk reduction to all entrepreneurs and incorporation of disaster risk management concepts into EDF’s regular training and business counselling duties.
Dolakha has been identified as the pilot district for this initiative. The plan is to replicate in other districts in the near future.
About the Author
- The Minister for Industry Mahesh Basnet has said promotion of local resources based micro enterprises has become more important in the ongoing crisis due to problems in import of essential goods from India. Minister Basnet added, "Had we not abandoned our traditional skills and local resources based enterprises, we would not have been so vulnerable when supply line is disturbed." Minister Basnet urged all to think about capitalizing on the vast resources available in Nepal and start building a self-reliant economy and create jobs locally. Minister Basnet was speaking in the Orientation Programme on Micro Enterprise Development for Poverty Alleviation (MEDPA) for the Stakeholders in Bhaktapur on Tuesday (October 6). MEDPA is the poverty alleviation initiative of the government of Nepal which helps poor people to start their own enterprises and create jobs. After the successful implementation of Micro Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) with technical support from UNDP and financial support from Australian Aid, the Ministry of Industry is replicating the MEDEP model into MEDPA throughout the country. With additional 9 districts this year, the government has expanded the MEDPA programme to 64 districts. Bhaktapur being the new district, the programme was organized by the Cottage and Small Industries Office, Bhaktapur to inform about the MEDPA model and implementation modalities. Speaking in the programme, the Local Development Officer Pashupati Babu Puri expressed confidence that the programme will be successful in Bhaktapur as the district is rich with resources and the communities are entrepreneurial. LDO leads overall implementation of MEDPA in the district. LDO also chairs the District Enterprise Development Committee mandated to implement MEDPA in the district. 5 hours ago
- Much of the remote village of Irkhu in Sindhupalchow lies in ruins; with many homes, schools, health posts and offices destroyed by the 7.8 earthquake that shook Nepal on 25th April 2015. With a grant assistance of USD 1 million from the Government of Mauritius, UNDP Nepal immediately began responding to the needs of the communities and supported the local community through the reconstruction of 250 damaged and destroyed productive community infrastructures. At least 125,000 people are expected to benefit from the reconstruction work and livelihood improvement initiatives in the worst earthquake affected districts of Central Nepal, when the projects being implemented through UNDP's Early Recovery Programme gets completed in 1 year. Full story: http://www.np.undp.org/content/nepal/en/home/presscenter/articles/2015/10/07/generating-hope-through-reconstruction-in-earthquake-hit-nepal-/ 12 hours ago
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