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
- Mini Exhibition of Micro Entrepreneurs Products at Dolakha On 24 November 2015, 17 micro entrepreneurs exhibited their products during the mini exhibition organized at Charikot, Dolakha on the special occasion of the arrival of Chief Guest Andrew Egan, Assistant Secretary Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) along with Special Guest, Ms. Sarah Boddington, First Secretary, Australian Embassy – Nepal, Special Guest Ms. Arthi Patel, Principal Advisor, Micro Enterprise Recovery, UNDP/DFAT and Mr. Renaud Meyer, Country Director, UNDP. The event was chaired by Mr. Rameshowor Manandhar, Chair FNCCI, Dolakha. Addressing the audience at the mini exhibition, Chief Guest Andrew Egan, Assistant Secretary DFAT said, “We understand that the Dolakha district was very badly affected by the recent earthquakes which is why we were so determined to provide quick response to assist in the recovery. We understand that one of the best ways to recover after a natural disaster is to support people such as the micro entrepreneurs to restart their businesses and recommence their skills in developing, producing and selling their products in markets by rehabilitating and resuscitating local markets.” During the mini exhibition various locally produced pickles, ginger candies, vegetables, lokta jewelries and hats, leather shoes, dhaka bags were put on display for sale. Muna Shrestha of Kalidevi Srijansil Ginger Candy Micro Entrepreneur Group expressed, “I am very happy to get an opportunity to showcase our products firsthand to the donors who have supported us immensely in rebuilding our livelihoods and are continuing to make a difference in our lives.” While Dhanabahadur Tamang, shared, “We live very far with very limited access to markets so organizing such kind of exhibition is a great platform to promote our products and attract more customers.” The micro entrepreneurs are overwhelmed with RELRP providing rapid support in reviving their damaged enterprises within five months after the devastating earthquake. Nearly 12,059 MEDEP ME’s have been severely affected by the tremor but their entrepreneurship skills are still intact. Other major highlights during the UNDP and DFAT team visit were mingling with MEs who are involved in Poultry Farming Skill Training, Dhaka Weaving in Chathali, Bhimeshwor Municipality 3 and Potato Seed Storage and Rustic Store Common Facility Centre located at Lakuri dada VDC Ward 9. UNDP Country Director, Renauld Meyer on his two day field visit to Dolakha expressed, “We came to Dolakha to monitor the project that the UNDP is providing support to with financial support from the Australian Government. I am very pleased to witness Micro Entrepreneurs are able to cope and go back to business. The objective of UNDP is to make sure micro entrepreneurs can rapidly become empowered and economically independent so that they can restart their production and go back to the markets, sell their products and then earn an income for their families but also to reinject the money in the local economy.” 10 hours ago
- #16DaysofActivism : UNDP staff and locals in Birgunj organize a candle lighting program in Birgunj. Photo: Baijanti Singh 12 hours ago
- "See more posts on"Facebook