April 24, 2016 marked a year since Nepal and our NSP villages experienced the devastating earthquake. Thank you so much for your support now and in the future. The addition of donating on line has been very beneficial. Our rock and roll event last November was also a success. Betty and Linda and I were able to hold an event in California this winter, which was also successful. Mail donations continue to arrive. As well, in December, an Ottawa elementary school, Hopewell Public School held a Christmas bazaar (called the Blizzard Bazaar) to raise money to help NSP rebuild a school.
We are fortunate at NSP, as a small NGO to be able to control the use of the funds we send to Nepal. We have people on the ground there who are diligent about making sure these funds are used in the best way. We expect explicit accounting records for each project. When the costs have been submitted for each project to Canada, then we send the money. Accountability to you as donors is of the utmost importance to us.
Since our visit to Nepal last November, we have been pleased with the development of both new and old programs by NSP in Nepal. Rakam, Babulal, Kunsang, Suraj and all of our NSP people in Nepal continue to be incredibly supportive, hardworking and committed. Without them we could not function.
Latrines: We had approved a 2year program for building latrines. The first 30 were completed last year. We visited Simla, in November to view them. Our people have been working hard to complete the second phase of 50 latrines in the same area and are just doing so now. While there, we altered the design to include a ventilation stack to enhance the “experience” in the latrine.
Water systems: No new water systems have been installed but the already existing ones needed attention. In November NSP Canada and NSP Nepal created a Water System Repair Committee to first asses the status of the water systems installed in the villages over the years, determine the damages and then repair them. Sanchaman, who has worked with NSP for many years and one other person have been visiting the villages and have been very successful installing new taps and replacing damaged pipes. We decided to replace the standard tap with a lever (less moving parts) resulting in less breakage. The presence of this NSP work group was encouraging to the villagers.
Schools: Since the earthquake, NSP Canada and Nepal have been working hard to develop a plan to repair the damage to the schools in our areas. The Nepalese Government has developed guidelines stipulating that rebuilt schools must be earthquake proof. Our initial designs using rebar and concrete, proved to be too expensive for a group our size to build. We thought there was no other solution but we were very excited to discover a method called Gabion Banding in January. We immediately contacted the inventor, Randolph Langenbach, who was delighted to help us and immediately put us in touch with a group in New Mexico who were planning a home building trip to Nepal using gabion banding. NSP Nepal made contact with them in Katmandu and visited their building site. We have since then created a design for a school and are awaiting the arrival of materials in order to begin. Gabion bands have been adapted from an existing idea called gabion walls, which are installed to prevent shoreline erosion and to shore up steep banks along highways. In constructing the schools, the gabion bands (baskets of rocks) become part of the wall structure, allowing more flexibility during an earthquake, a definite advantage. We are also able to utilize the same local materials as before, with the addition of the wire to wrap the rocks into gabion bands. NSP has decided to replace the wire with polypropylene, as the life expectancy is much longer. It is also much easier to transport than rebar. Remember all materials must be brought in by hand. Gabion Banding has also been approved for use in rebuilding by the Nepalese Government.
To read more about this method of construction please visit: www.conservationtech.com and click on Himalayan earthquake. The Nova presentation is worth watching (and how I heard about Banding). For specifics on gabion banding click on the site below the Nova tab: www.traditional-is-modern.net/nepal.html
A trip is being planned again in November to visit the construction sites and review completed projects.
Please check out the website for an up to date report: www.nepalschoolprojects.ca
Thank you once again for your continuing support.
Fran Lloyd, Executive Director and the rest of the NSP team