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Building a more resilient Nepal

A major earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015, killing 9,000 people and displacing thousands, and destroying 700,000 homes and 6,000 schools as well as health posts, bridges, water supplies and other vital infrastructure.

Project Purnima – Nepal post-earthquake recovery programme

Client UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Expertise Post-disaster reconstruction, water supply and sanitation, private sector development and social inclusion

It was the deadliest quake in 80 years and aftershocks continued for weeks.

Our work on Purnima, meaning ‘full moon’ in Nepali and the name given to the UK’s five-year, £40M post-earthquake recovery programme, consists of technical assistance to local governments, physical reconstruction of infrastructure, capacity building of the private sector, and interventions to help vulnerable groups – single women, elderly, disabled and very poor.

We’re working in some of the most remote areas, helping the reconstruction of foot trails and bridges, improving access to water, and supporting small local business to expand and supply products and services for construction of homes and infrastructure in the worst affected regions.

Purnima does not just reconstruct what existed before the earthquake, but aims to build back better, making infrastructure more resilient and to deliver more equitable and sustainable services.

The UK has put the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly women and girls, at the centre of the Purnima programme. Infrastructure projects are being used to empower women and challenge social norms in Nepal, and we are also encouraging women to become actively involved in local government and starting a business. Women comprise 45% of members of the user committees set up to manage the newly-repaired water supply schemes, while 15% are 'Dalits' - 'untouchables' discriminated against under Nepal's centuries-old caste system.

Drinking water systems were widely affected by the earthquake and aftershocks, damaging infrastructure as well as lowering or diminishing water sources. Purnima aims to restore access to clean water to about 150,000 people.

After the quake, economic growth in Nepal declined and 700,000 additional people were pushed into poverty. Purnima is helping 200 small businesses in the country to survive and expand, creating jobs and improving livelihoods. Improved access to finance, and training in planning and financial management are some of the support they are receiving through the programme, ensuring they can help Nepal rebuild and prosper.

‘Leave no-one behind’ is a UK government commitment and aims to ensure everyone is given a fair opportunity, now and for the future. In practice, it means Purnima is targeting reconstruction of houses and recovery of livelihoods on 50,000 of the poorest and most vulnerable, including disabled, widows and other single women, elderly living on their own, internally displaced people and the extreme poor.

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