Rebuilding Nepal

Nepal happens to be one of the least developed countries in the world.  Different countries have been helping it in its development endeavour. Therefore, being a layman I always ask the question, where does all the money go? Sometimes we even hear that for the same project different donor agencies are involved resulting in the duplication of work that can be costly.  We blame the government for not having proper mechanisms to control or to look after the activities of the donor agencies, but the rampant corruption that is taking place is to be blamed.  Donor agencies ask the government to be transparent, participative and have good governance but to no avail.

The recent earthquake made me think twice about the development of our country. There is much international support for the reconstruction  of Nepal, including the help of our neighbours, India and China. We  should be thankful to them,  but we also must  decide how much to spend and where and for whom. The goals should be set in this regard.

For this fiscal year 2072/2073, Nepal received considerable financial support from different donor agencies and governments. Recently China has promised cash assistance for the reconstruction of the houses of the earthquake victims. These show there are many helping hands for Nepal.

After acquiring such a huge amount as grants and soft loans, the question now is how to distribute it. Nowadays decentralization has been the topic of hot discussion. So why not decentralize this budget as well?

For pilot projects we can work in the affected areas by the earthquake as declared by GoN. One donor agency can work in one district, hand in hand with the government.

First of all the government needs to identify the necessity of the community from the grassroots level and make plans accordingly.

Then they should ask donor agencies to work on it. Simultaneously the Government needs to monitor and evaluate their work. As a result donors would work with the participation of the government with a transparent approach.

First preference for reconstruction work should be given to the affected local people and the resources available at these places. This will bring the feeling of ownership among the people on what they do.  The result would be fruitful due to local participation, transparent policy and good governance.

A version of this article appears in print on September 24, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.