Improving coordination of housing reconstruction efforts by bridging the information gap

Nepal saw a huge influx of humanitarian aid after the earthquakes in April and May 2015 with numerous national and international aid agencies rushing to distribute relief. But, in the initial days after the earthquake the distribution was reportedly chaotic, inequitable and uncoordinated. There were a number of important information gaps, including the lack of available data about the affected districts and a lack of information sharing between responding agencies. We spoke to one of the initiatives set up to help coordinate the flow of information between relief and reconstruction actors – the Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform.

The Nepal Shelter Cluster, which has been active in Nepal since responding to the Koshi River Floods in 2009 and is focused on contingency planning and preparedness during non-emergency periods, was activated immediately after the 25th April 2015 earthquake. They established a 4W - who, what, where, and when - data collection system to improve information sharing and the effectiveness of the response.  As the Shelter Cluster returned to pre-earthquake format towards the end of 2015, the responsibility for coordination was passed to the Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform - Nepal (HRRP). Now in its third phase, and led by CRS Nepal, the HRRP functions as a coordination platform to support the Nepal Reconstruction Authority, government line ministries and national and international organizations with the delivery of the housing reconstruction programme.

What data does HRRP house?

As part of their coordination duties HRRP collects data on housing reconstruction efforts and publicly shares the data on a national dashboard as well as analysis of those data in the form of maps and infographics such as district profiles. The dashboard shows about what housing reconstruction activities are being planned and implemented by who (i.e. which agency) and where the activities in the district/VDC/ward are being carried out and when the activities are being carried out. The map in the dashboard also provides information on the number of households eligible to receive the GoN housing reconstruction grant in each VDC and district. This data is collected by HRRP district information management officers appointed using the HRRP 4W tool. The national dashboard is updated twice per month, with data collection rounds on the 10th and 25th of each month.

Who uses this data and for what?

"Data and information, particularly at district level is essential for coordinating efforts of many actors involved in housing reconstruction in the areas affected by the earthquake", Gaurab Pradhan, Information Management Officer at HRRP.

According to the HRRP the 4W data and products including data dashboard, maps and infographics are being used by:

·         Government authorities such as, Nepal Reconstruction Authority, and Central Level Project Implementation Unit of  Ministry of Urban Development, and Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development at district and central level to track the housing reconstruction projects and advocate to donors, partners and other government line agencies to better fulfil the unique needs of the districts. It is also used by other Government of Nepal authorities such as the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage for planning and monitoring of reconstruction activities.

·         HRRP partner organizations including the Red Cross, different UN agencies, other INGOs and NGOs, and private sector to assess the needs and requirements of the districts/VDCs/wards so as to target their support to those who are most in need of their service.

·         HRRP to identify coverage and gaps and based on different analysis to advocate for particular actions to be taken. Based on the data the HRRP has been able to advocate for improved coverage of technical assistance and have seen the number of VDCs with no technical assistance drop from 296 in November 2016 to 150 in March 2017. Similarly, the number of fully covered VDCs increased from 9 in November 2016 to 25 in March 2017.

What data can be viewed from the HRRP national dashboard?

The HRRP national dashboard comprises of maps, bar graphs and tables. The map shows the number of beneficiaries eligible to receive housing reconstruction support in each of the 14 districts. The bar graph demonstrates the activities each partner organization is working on and whether they are completed, on-going, or planned. The table shares details of all the activities being carried out by partner organizations by location and the number of beneficiaries reached.  

HRRP data dashboard: map on the left, bar graph on the right

Horizontal table showing data on partner organization's planned and reached activity

From the dashboard home page users can drill down to view data on individual district or VDC, particular partner organization and activities.

1. Search data by district: Data of a specific district, for example, Gorkha district can be viewed either by clicking the district on the map or selecting 'Gorkha' from the drop down menu in the dashboard search engine. 

2. Search data by VDC: VDCs can be seen by hovering the cursor over the district map. Click on the VDC to view detailed data of an individual VDC. For example, in Gorkha district to view data from Kerauja VDC, click on 'Kerauja' in the map and users can see its data in the bar graph.

3. Search data by partner organizations: To see in which district or VDC a particular partner organization is working, what activities are being carried out by that organization and what the status is of its activities users can select the desired partner organizations from the drop down list- “Choose Multiple Pos Here”.

4. Search data by activities: If you want to see which particular activity is being carried out in which district or VDC, which organizations are involved and what is the status of the activity, users can select activities from the drop down list- Select Activity Type.