Deployment with RedR to UNHCR in Nepal
In the early 90s, Bhutan went through an ethnic cleansing and over 100,000 people fled Bhutan and settled in far east Nepal. Over 90,000 refugees have now been resettled. About 6000 remain in two camps and UNHCR estimate that 5000 will remain permanently. As the camps transition to self-reliance, as part of the durable solution mandate, both camps have gone through a process of consolidation and decongestion.
My role was to lead the Site Planning & Shelter team to facilitate the consolidation and decongestion of the two remaining camps – Beldangi and Sanishare. To do so, I worked on developing the master site plan and shelter and decongestion strategies for the consolidation of the camps in close coordination with partners, persons of concern and government authorities.
The key challenges we faced include protection issues relating to sexual and gender based violence; ensuing the security and privacy of all people of concern; choosing adequate locations and technical planning for sanitary, health and education facilities, communal services and distribution areas; as well as challenges relating to land availability, including accessibility, security and topography considerations.
As my deployment extended, additional tasks I took on included:
- Leading the site planning and design of areas to receive relocated refugee familie
- Measuring, planning and setout of the identified areas for the construction of new shelters
- Developing a monitoring strategy plus QA and construction programs for the shelters
- Liaising with the implementing partner to facilitate the construction of the shelters Developing guidelines for the construction of the shelters and running training workshops for the implementing partner
- Monitoring construction of shelters for compliance
- Inspecting the shelters under construction
Community Development work with Aussie Action Abroad
As a director of Aussie Action Abroad, I am currently developing a construction professionals program in Nepal in conjunction with Architects Without Frontiers. In July, I travelled to Nepal as part of the mid-year reconnaissance,which included visiting past projects and projects under construction plus revisiting the UNHCR office in Damak, the Beldangi refugee camp and host community schools.
In May, I attended an IOM/UNHCR Site Planning & Settlement design workshop in Sweden with NORCAP and MSB. The workshop covered a wide range of topics including emergencies and first phase planning, settlement design & Mitigating GBV, mapping sites, urban settlements & community infill and consolidation & closure. I gave a short presentation on my consolidation and decongestion work in the refugee settlements in Nepal.
In September, I will undertake further specialised IOM/UNHCR settlement training through a week long workshop in Mozambique that will involve visits to existing settlements in Mozambique.