Last month, two UK students, Tom Webber and Katherine Reid, from University of Southampton, traveled to Nepal to carry our research from their MSc dissertations. In Nepal, they teamed up with our Co-Director, Richard, colleagues from Eco Himal and two students, Sarsaswoti and Amrit from Tribhuvan University on a field trip to the Earthquake hit district of Kavre.
The study visit forms part of TGT's higher education programme. Our aim is to build the climate change adaptation knowledge, skills and experiences of higher education students from Nepal and around the world.
Katherine has written up a brief report on her experiences in Nepal and a summary of the research she carried out:
Our trip to Nepal lasted for 18 days and is surely one of the more eye-opening experiences I’ve had the privilege of having. Our study sight of Kavre is a mere 3 hours’ drive from the capital of Kathmandu but the disparities in recovery between the two locations is stark. Whilst initial research into the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes alerted me to this, seeing it for myself placed a whole new perspective on the livelihoods of the Karve residents.
My research is focussing on the social capital of Kavre before and after the earthquakes. I wanted to understand how the earthquakes changed the social structure and interaction of residents in the area, how people came together, how they survived, how they have adapted and what they believe their future prospects look like. The support and hard work of Eco Himal, The Glacier Trust and two postgraduate students from Tribhuvan University gave us the unique opportunity to conduct focus group interviews with a wide range of social groups across all four wards within our study site.
We spoke to 18 different groups totalling 48 representatives of the four wards and collected over 18 hours of data. The thoughts and perspectives of participants were invaluable in understanding the reality of peoples’ situations and allowed us to be educated on the truth of recovery and rebuilding procedures in Nepal. We used a data collection method that utilised a focus group scenario to allow the participants to impart their knowledge to the researcher – the participant became the teacher and us researchers the students, allowing the uninterrupted passing of knowledge and ensuring the experiences and realities of Kavre residents to be captured from their perspective.
Initial observations showed that, although the project area was receiving various forms of aid in the form of infrastructure and finances, there was often a miscommunication between the aid provided and the aid required. The data collected is invaluable to my aim of producing the beginnings of a social vulnerability reduction framework – something that I hope will add to the research field of disaster recovery. Based on my initial observations I wish to create a framework in order to streamline the link between supply and demand, ensuring reduced vulnerability and maximum recovery.
None of the work achieved would have been possible without the help and support of The Glacier Trust, Eco Himal and the students from TU – their work is both inspirational and imperative to the recovery of Kavre.
Both Tom and Katherine are working hard writing up their dissertation's now. Once they have handed those in we will work with them to produce two full length reports on what they learned in Nepal.