Two field investigators fresh from completing their data collection for the project, ‘Household Registration for Housing Reconstruction Programme (Survey) – 2072 share their experiences:
Vijay Thapa, Field Investigator at Sindhupalchowk
Through HERD International, after receiving a rigorous training, I got an opportunity to conduct damage assessment for the project, ‘Household Registration for Housing Reconstruction Programme (Survey) – 2072’. I had great excitement and anxiety to be involved in data collection that would inform the reconstruction programme in the future. I was chosen as a Field Investigator for Sindhupalchowk district.
After the training of social mobilizers held at the district headquarters, I was deployed in Thumpakhar VDC along with my social mobilizer. The VDC lies in about 5 hours of distance from the headquarter using a vehicle. When I reached there, the situation was tragic. About 85 to 88% of the houses were completely destroyed. The locals were having a tough time as they were residing in temporary houses covered with CGI sheet roofs and they would blow away whenever there was strong wind.
Conducting data collection was not an easy task. We had to constantly move up and down as the houses were spread in various locations. Moreover, local coordination was equally challenging with various pressures coming from political parties to influence our assessment. However, we received great support from the community members, as they were very humble and welcomed us in their community despite themselves having a tough time. As a team, initially working with social mobilizer was difficult as our assessments and records did not match but we sorted out the problems as we went on.
We also received great technical and managerial help from District Interlocutors from Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) Mr Prakash Poudel and Santosh Koirala. I also would like to acknowledge support provided by HERD International team in terms of regularly communicating with us to know about our whereabouts and if any support was required.
It was courtesy a great team effort that I was able to assess 666 households during a short period of 2 months. I hope that my efforts do not go in vain and the needy get the relief packages as soon as possible as informed by the data we collected through this survey.
Kausal Mishra, Field Investigator at Ramechhap
I am thankful to HERD International that I was selected for the project, ‘Household Registration for Housing Reconstruction Programme (Survey) – 2072’ for Ramechhap district. I was not sure how would I perform in such a tense situation conducting data collection but as I reflect back, it has been a great learning experience.
I was deployed in Bethan VDC which lies in about 3.5 hours of distance from the district headquarter using a vehicle. It was a community that told the story of most Nepali villages. It was a Tamang village where there were mostly children and elderly people. Most youth had gone abroad for employment or education. Ward number 5 of the VDC belonged to Majhi community, one of the disadvantaged communities of Nepal with a low economic status.
Various challenges came my way. Mobility was a problem due to high transportation cost as even to travel 8 km via local transport, I had to pay about 500 rupees. Another major problem was pressure from various political parties and influential persons to influence the judgment of my assessment but I stuck to my stand of not being influenced in such situations.
After about 2 months of engagement, I was able to collect data from 691 households, which I did not think I would be able to achieve while I started my journey. I particularly like to thank HERD International for this opportunity. Communities are in dire need of support. They are still in fear and living in temporary settlements. We should all join our hands to support the needy at this time of need.