April 25, 2017 marks the two-year anniversary of the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal. As the country continues to rebuild, we’d like to take a minute to recognize the communities across Nepal and the 12 Hilton Prize Laureates working in country – BRAC, Clubhouse International, ECPAT, Handicap International, Heifer International, HelpAge International, IRC, IRCT, MSF, Operation Smile, Partners in Health and SOS Children’s Villages.
This earthquake in Nepal and the ongoing efforts to rebuild were the focus of the Hilton Prize Coalition’s first production under the Storytelling Program. Below is a recap of some of the stories from the past year that have helped us think about effective approaches to disaster preparation, as well as some updates on the work being done today.
FILM: On Shifting Ground
The pilot project highlighted six member organizations that were among those who mobilized in response to the earthquake: BRAC, Handicap International, Heifer International, HelpAge International, Operation Smile and SOS Children’s Villages. The resulting film, “On Shifting Ground,” has been shown around the world to initiate dialogue around rethinking approaches to disaster response and ways to build community resiliency. Click here to view the film.
Through the production of the film, the organizations gained greater familiarity with one another’s capacities in the region and formed a framework for collaboration that continues to this day. In March 2017, more than 10 organizations met in Kathmandu to establish protocols, building on the lessons learned and their collective experiences in the sector. Read more in this blog post by the Coalition’s Collaboration Coordinator in Nepal, Sumnina Shrestha.
BLOG SERIES: Voices from Nepal
Director Steve Connors, along with members of Storytelling crew, shared insights about their experiences during the February 2016 filming process and beyond, highlighting especially the collaborations that have since taken root.
• Part 1: Reminders, by Steve Connors
• Part 2: Bringing Together a Wonderful Crew, by Steve Connors
• Part 3: This Humanitarian Spirit, by Steve Connors
• Part 4: The Beauty of Our Journey, by Rasmi Dangol
• Part 5: Returning to Normal, by Amul Thapa
• Part 6: A Brighter Future, by Amul Thapa
• Part 7: Learning to Be a Child, by Amul Thapa
• Part 8: A Ray of Hope, by Sunil Pokhrel
We were also pleased to learn about BRAC’s ELA program in Nepal that is empowering girls today, in this blog post written by Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow Sheetal Tuladhar.
VIDEOS: Leading Thoughts
Hilton Prize Laureate organizations recognize how critical preparation and collaboration between organizations are to effective disaster preparation. Here are two clips from the “Leading Thoughts’ series that address how these played out in Nepal. Click on the links or watch them on the Story Wall.
Jeff Meer, Executive Director; Handicap International U.S. “Collaboration and Crisis”
WATCH THE VIDEO
Lynn Croneberger, CEO; SOS Children’s Villages USA. “Not Only Children”
WATCH THE VIDEO
Collaboration in Action: HPC partners in Nepal convene in Kathmandu. “Disaster Preparedness and Response Planning workshop”
WATCH THE VIDEO
Sumnima Shrestha is the Communication and Resource Mobilization Manager with Heifer International – Nepal. She currently serves as Collaboration Coordinator for the Hilton Prize Coalition in Nepal. Sumnima holds more than 9 years of experience in the development sector, especially in advocacy, networking and resource mobilization, program development, project management, community empowerment and entrepreneurship. Here, Sumnima reflects on the Disaster Preparedness and Response Planning (DPRP) workshop held on March 2-3, 2017 in Kathmandu.
Hilton Laureates in Nepal Join Hands for Disaster Preparedness and Response
by Sumnima Shrestha
Getting different organizations and people together on one platform, and building a common understanding among them is a challenging part of any coalition. The Hilton Prize Coalition in Nepal is unique in itself. Coalition member organizations are working in diverse sectors with varied missions ranging from income and food security to disability and health. They have fascinating stories of their own, their interests are different, and above all, they are busy. When I became Collaboration Coordinator under the Coalition’s Collaborative Models Program, I had to overcome the challenge of making myself and others motivated and comfortable. I took this as an opportunity and met with each of the members, learned about their interests and worked to define one common goal to achieve greater collective impact for the world’s most vulnerable people.
The Hilton Prize Coalition in Nepal first came together under the 2016 Storytelling Program and included BRAC, Handicap International, Heifer International, Help Age International, Operation Smile and SOS Children’s Villages. Similarly, there are Hilton Laureates – Clubhouse International, ECPAT, the IRCT, Landesa, and PATH – working in Nepal with their local partners whose proactive participation has added tremendous value to the Coalition.
A common footprint manifested by each of the Coalition members was their involvement in relief and response activities during the April 2015 Nepal mega-earthquake. Though disaster relief is not the primary mission of all of these organizations, they moved out of their comfort zones and brought extraordinary results towards relief and recovery, benefiting thousands of people. Based on the lessons learned by the members and their interest to rise up during humanitarian crises, the need of a joint plan for future disaster preparedness and response was realized. A workshop on “Disaster Preparedness and Response Planning (DPRP)” was designed with objectives to understand disaster preparedness and emergency response as an integral part of development, and to develop joint response plans for working together in future natural disasters.
A total of 18 participants from 10 Coalition member organizations attended the workshop March 2-3, 2017 in Kathmandu. The theoretical sessions built capacity of the participants on disaster management cycles, preparedness and response, a vulnerability assessment tool for preparedness, and linkages with development interventions they are currently implementing. Phanindra Adhikari from CVICT, an IRCT member organization, described the event as “a wonderful experience. I had opportunity to gain knowledge as well as share my learning.”
The sessions were enriched by stories and experience-sharing of the participants. Said Sheetal Tuladhar of BRAC, “Sharing experiences of participating organizations was the most valuable part of this workshop…being a beginner in the development and humanitarian sectors, it was especially valuable to learn these concepts and match them with organizational experiences.” Moreover, the group discussion on institutional mechanisms of disaster preparedness was eye-opening to the participants. The workshop focused on developing objectives of joint disaster preparedness and concluded with an official response plan of the Coalition. A task force comprising of BRAC, Handicap International, Heifer International, and SOS Children’s Villages was formed for completing this plan.
The 2-day workshop with networking and team-building activities helped to strengthen these formal and informal connections, as well as personal relationships among Coalition members. One of the participants commented, “This workshop provided a platform for networking with such good organizations and I also got to learn more about them. This helped me for future collaborations, and I will definitely work towards it.”
Without a doubt, this workshop helped to establish unity in diversity. The beauty of this Coalition is that there is no competition between its members. Each are working in individual themes that are not overlapping with each other; integrating these themes results in holistic development. The Storytelling Program pilot advanced this collaboration and I am happy to be a part of this journey.
(Group photo of workshop participants)
“Sushmita is full of dreams now.” shares Sushmita’s experience from a displacement camp near Kathmandu: http://bit.ly/1sJrjRG #VoicesFromNepal
WATCH THE TRAILER – “ON SHIFTING GROUND”
Prayan’s story grew out of #HPCStorytelling – learn more from HPC Fellow @amul_thapa: http://ow.ly/NEq6304vnaA
On November 17, 2016, attendees of the Independent Sector conference viewed a screening of “On Shifting Ground,” the short documentary film produced by the Hilton Prize Coalition about six leading organizations in Nepal that mobilized in response to the 2015 earthquake.
Presented by the director of the Hilton Prize Coalition Storytelling Program, Steve Connors, the film screening was followed by a Q&A session with the audience, which was comprised of leaders and practitioners from organizations across the charitable sector. Questions led to a lively discussion about the use of storytelling as a means of catalyzing collaboration between participants in the humanitarian and development sectors. The discussion also touched on the potential of storytelling to draw attention to the need for preparedness work and the role of corporate engagement and multi-sectoral partnerships in funding disaster response.
This fall, the Hilton Prize Coalition hosted events in New York City and London at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), respectively. Both events engaged Coalition member organizations and other prominent voices from the humanitarian aid and international development communities in discussions of lessons learned from the Storytelling Program in Nepal, most notably around collaboration and disaster resiliency and response, following a screening of the Coalition-produced documentary film “On Shifting Ground.”
In his introduction to the film at CGI, Peter Laugharn, President and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, spoke to the compassion, collaboration and smart solutions exemplified in the work of the Coalition and its member organizations – a sentiment that was echoed by discussion participants, along with a call to continue to build on what has already been accomplished in the sector. Themes of preparedness and community resilience, collaboration, and storytelling were also raised in the course of the conversation and were carried forward at the event at ODI as well.
(Peter Laugharn, center right, introduces “On Shifting Ground” to attendees at CGI side event)
The panel discussion at ODI, moderated by Christina Bennett, Head of Programme, Humanitarian Policy Group, featured panelists Steve Connors, Director, HPC Storytelling Program; Laurie Lee, Chief Executive, CARE International UK; Aleema Shivji, UK Executive Director, Handicap International; and Sheetal Tuladhar, Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, BRAC USA, who spoke to trends and challenges encompassing collaboration in the sector, as well as the impact of the Storytelling Program.
The idea of the Storytelling Program as a powerful tool to encourage partnership and create action plans for collaboration was reiterated in both panelist and audience member remarks. As Aleema Shivji said, “the process of telling the story for the film allows us to reflect,” adding “it’s these conversations you have in country, these relationships you build in country, which help you to collaborate better in the longer term.”
Click here to view the full discussion from the Overseas Development Institute event that was held on October 24.
(Panel from Left – Aleema Shivji, Laurie Lee, Christina Bennett and Steve Connors. Sheetal Tuladhar joined via videolink from Kathmandu.)