Making Nepal Different From Haiti



Nepal's story does not have to be a Haiti repeat. But asking the foreign governments and organizations to put all their pledged money into the Prime Minister's Relief Fund is the worst of all possible outcomes. First, they will not do it. It is their money. They answer to their own governments, not to the Nepal government. You can request them, but you can not make them. They have already made it clear they will not do it.

If the foreign governments and organizations working directly is the best way to reach the affected masses, so be it. But I don't think that is true.

So, what's the way out? Out of the box thinking.

I believe this is the solution: Outlines Of A 100% Online Transparency Bill.

The political leaders in all three parties are in a sorry shape. They could have delivered a constitution within six months of the last elections, and held elections to the state and local governments within six months after that, and we would have been in a much better shape right now. Don't let bygones be bygones, but let's face the reality that that did not happen.

Those same leaders today asking the donors repeatedly over multiple meetings to put all the money into the Prime Minister's Relief Fund is no different from when they had meeting after meeting over months to reach "consensus!"

It is not happening. The pledged money is not showing up in the Prime Minister's Relief Fund. Get over it. And I don't blame them. That would have been a hard proposition in the best of times, but right now the Sushil-Bame-KP government has Jajarkot written all over its face. I just so happen to think myself not putting all that pledged money into the Prime Minister's Relief Fund is an excellent idea. If you put the money there the biggest disaster in the country's history will become the biggest corruption story in the country's history, plain and simple. Look at all the foreign aid that has come into Nepal over the past 60 years, aid and loans. What do you have to show for it?

But then those foreign governments and donors are not bathed in the holy Ganga either. They messed up Haiti royally. They are not great at involving locals. They can have faulty assumptions. They might hire a ton of their own people when locals might have comparable or even better skills, and might be 20 times cheaper. They might blow up a big chunk of the aid money that way. They might spend a major chunk of the aid money buying stuff in their own countries. After all, relief and reconstruction is an industry. There are loads of lobbyists in all major capitals trying to grab a piece of the pie for themselves. Those lobbyists don't feel much domestic pressure to keep Nepal's best interests in mind. There is often no countervailing force.

विशेषज्ञ कुकुर टोलीको खर्च दैनिक २२ करोड
राहत रकम, ३ दलकाे खिचातानी

So, what to do?

I believe this is the solution: Outlines Of A 100% Online Transparency Bill.

You can't make them put all their money into the Prime Minister's Relief Fund, which is such an unrealistic thing to expect. But you can get them to 100% online transparency, as long as you are also subjecting yourself to the same. And you are getting all NGOs and INGOs to do the same. You can do all that with one comprehensive website that has abundant social media sharing buttons.

So there is this ocean of people who are, say, on Facebook: Nepalis in Nepal, Nepalis all over the world, friends of Nepal. And they all have the option to visit the website and to share stuff there onto their own social media streams. It is inevitable that old media, the global media, will lose its interest in Nepal at some point, and long before the reconstruction work has happened. This army of social media enthusiasts will keep Nepal alive in the social media world, and the fundraising will keep happening, because it is not dependent on old media no more.

The website features every government, agency and organization that is involved. And it provides full transparency on the book keeping for each. The website is also where you go to see all the deliberations by all actors. It is so easy to do. Everybody with a smartphone is well equipped to create content for social media. You can show pictures and videos. You can interview people and share on Facebook. You can share book keeping details in a Google Doc. It is pretty much free.

When Nepal's parliament gets together and holds a robust discussion on the Outlines Of A 100% Online Transparency Bill all those debates and discussions should end up on YouTube, fully transcribed in English. The MPs should have the guts to ask all the hard questions to the foreign governments, agencies and NGOs. Ask why the mistakes in Haiti will not see a repeat in Nepal. Representatives from those foreign governments, agencies and NGOs could be invited to those hearings. The MPs should have the guts to face those representatives and answer their questions as well. Most of those questions will be to do with corruption and inefficiency.

The Nepal Army, which is a total failure when it comes to being an inclusive institution (zero Madhesi faces), has done great work in the past weeks. Perhaps they can be given a larger, ongoing role over the coming months. Nepal is not going to be attacked by either India or China. But it gets hit by natural disaster every year without fail. And this was the biggest of them all. I feel like the Nepal Army rose up to the challenge.

Government secretaries and the all party mechanisms in each village are still pretty good. Those can help.

The Outlines Of A 100% Online Transparency Bill will provide a platform where anyone and everyone can participate in the discussions for every step that needs to be taken next. There is relief, reconstruction, and resurgence. The country should bounce back from this and finally end up on a fast track to rapid development. This earthquake has brought forth an unprecedented sense of unity among Nepalis across the world. Maybe it will birth an Aam Aadmi Party in Nepal. I, for one, don't see these three parties doing anything different in the future just because an earthquake hit.

Outlines Of A 100% Online Transparency Bill ---- this is designed to hold everyone accountable, and everyone with internet access anywhere in the world can play the watchdog role. The organizations doing the best work will see enhanced fundraising because that army of social enthusiasts keeps spreading the word far and wide.

Done right this Outlines Of A 100% Online Transparency Bill could go beyond building houses. It could go on to providing small loans to small farmers so they can emerge stronger than ever before. Done right this Outlines Of A 100% Online Transparency Bill could get Nepal more money directly from the American people than from the US government, and from the ordinary citizens of the UK, and India.

But right now I am pessimistic. The current crop of the three party leaders will not do it. This is harder to do than the constitution. And Vivekshil Nepali has not decided to do it yet.

Comments