Forum for Nation Building Nepal
Giving earthquake victims the tools to rebuild their lives
It has been almost three years since twin earthquakes struck Nepal, killing over 9,000 people and destroying over half a million homes. Despite billions of dollars being pledged to humanitarian relief and the rebuilding effort, progress to rebuild homes and infrastructure has been fraught with delays and difficulties. Money dedicated to rebuilding homes has been slow to reach families, with only 12% distributed as of 2017. This is partly down to political and economic challenges in Nepal, including an economic blockade and four changes in government during the post-disaster period. It has therefore been difficult for Nepalese people to access the relief services promised to them by their government.
Forum for Nation Building (FNB) Nepal was established in 2013 by a group of young people who wanted to make a difference in their country’s development. They work towards development that is inclusive for everyone and that ensures no one is left behind. Nepal is a vastly unequal country, with economic wealth concentrated in the capital Kathmandu and vast disparity between the wealthy minority and the impoverished majority. FNB used legal empowerment to help rural and marginalised communities access the resources they need and deserve.
After the earthquake, FNB began a project to provide free legal aid to people affected by the earthquake in Sindhupalchowk, Gorkha and Bhaktapur districts, to help them to access the government services provided to earthquake victims and to support the government in their reintegration programs. In addition to losing their homes, many people lost all their possessions in the earthquake, including citizenship cards and land and title deed documents. This created further barriers to accessing government services and reconstruction grants in the aftermath. FNB assists citizens to reapply for these essential documents. They found that many people did not know about the legal provision, which ensures their right to a government grant and loan to help them rebuild their home. In Gorkha district alone, 15,245 earthquake victims have filed grievance forms stating that they were not on the list of victims that would receive support. GNB has reached a further 8,000 people through 92 community mobile legal clinics to ensure that their grievances are heard.
By providing information about the services available, and assisting people to apply for reconstruction support, FNB is making an impact to ensure that the rebuilding of Nepal includes everyone. Their young network of lawyers and law students are committed to creating a more equal Nepal.