Kathmandu, Nepal—where the first satellite OpenGov Hub was set up last year—was hit by a devastating earthquake last weekend. Over 4,000 people have been found dead so far, and many more are injured, displaced, and struggling to find food and water. Huge amounts of aid has begun to flow into Nepal, but experience with recent earthquakes in Pakistan (2005) and Haiti (2010) show that the accountability of response efforts to citizens is deeply inadequate. Stories from our teams in Nepal indicate that this is already a problem, with citizens unaware of how to navigate the response processes that are set up to help them; and mismanagement of funds and supplies a significant risk.
Two members of the Kathmandu hub, Accountability Lab and Local Interventions Group, worked together to immediately set up and run mobile helpdesks--linked to crowdsourced mobile technology, SMS platforms, a dedicated hotline, and teams of trained volunteers--in three key locations in Kathmandu. These helpdesks will provide a free and accessible support system through which citizens can obtain information, solve problems, and provide feedback related to the disaster relief efforts and entitlements. They will enable citizens to not only access the resources they need to survive, but also to hold government and relief agencies accountable.
Donate here to the GlobalGiving crowdfunding campaign for this important cause. Just $10 will provide a stipend to a trained volunteer for a day!