Serina Kitazono :The value of using local resources and skills
When trying to rebuild lives, it makes sense to take a look around you. If everyone else does the same, then we can begin to fix the puzzle.
The aim is to create sustainable solutions for:
• Materials, (including harvest mapping/resource maps),
• Social enterprise and
• Skills development.
From this lie the opportunities for efficiency, co-operation and effective solutions, underpinned by an empowered and enabled community. Strategies emerge for improved resilience and weakened vulnerability.
How this might be done?
Within the past decade, ASF have completed workshops and summer schools in India, Ghana and the UK, for example, that have focused on local skills and resources and available and reusable materials. This has included the role of green technology in the reduction of vulnerability and risk.
ASF are crucially placed to facilitate, enable and mobilise capacity for the exceptional situation, demonstrating expertise and knowledge plus the ability to co-ordinate and deliver solutions to and for those in need.
A Harvest Map is a powerful tool used to map and research the area around a proposed building project, which can identify potential material resources, skills and knowledge.
They can display layers of information and facilitate interconnection and integration of capacity.It is a method of achieving sustainable construction.
Re-use can be an integrated design strategy, not limited to materials, but also energy, water, food and traffic cycles plus human resources.
In short, the approach is sustainable, whilst developing, strengthening, streamlining and improving the system of ‘getting back on your feet’.
Learning from others
Utilising local labour and resources can strengthen community resilience and promote sustainable livelihoods. Past examples where this has been achieved at some scale can be seen through building a culture of safety in the Philippines, training local labour and promoting partnerships in the development of Aceh, Indonesia, and including local governments, businesses and community members in decision making in Myanmar.
Additionally there are similarities between 1999 Colombia and Nepal today; a long-running recent civil conflict, a lack of expertise in housing development, historical socio-cultural divisions and a predominantly agriculturally based population. The similarity in context is an important consideration as in the case of Colombia after the 1999 earthquake, through existing community and agriculturally based organisations, an integrated reconstruction approach proved beneficial to providing long term, high quality infrastructure that was beneficial to the local community. This was achieved through local people were identifying their own needs, the use of local building resources and the provision of financial and technical support alongside reconstruction, as well as promoting self-financing activities, which improved local livelihoods.
These examples display that building back better is not just about physical reconstruction. Building back better must take into account genuine partnerships with local communities.
Benefits & Impacts of Harvest Mapping in Nepal
Harvest Mapping in Nepal will identify valuable local skill sets and reusable materials. This map will facilitate for future post-disaster reconstruction workshops, as previously tested by ASF in India, Ghana and the U.K.
But what are the potential benefits?
Harvest Mapping. Collection of local information dedicated to locate skill sets and locally sourced materials. Time saving technique for third party interventions.
Sustainable construction. After undertaking a harvest map, local craftsmen now have a greater opportunity to practise in construction techniques using recycled & reclaimed materials created in post-earthquake Nepal.
Sustainable social structure. After identifying and utilising local skill sets, ASF- led workshops will allow for community led action planning and post disaster construction techniques. Locals will be better prepared for disaster once third parties have left site.
Dialogue channels opened. Mapping and workshops allow for third party organisations, such as ASF, and local people to engage in more close-proximity communications, allowing people to get involved in the reconstruction of their own livelihoods.
Catalyst for social enterprise. The Harvest Map begins to facilitate for the emergence of new social enterprise in post-disaster Nepal, catalysing a wave of new building projects.
Networking. Communication channels created between local craftsmen engaging communities in cross-district trade in construction technology that until now wouldn’t have existed.
Research. ASF invests in a particular area of Kathmandu, identifying materials, including any that are salvageable from the earthquake within a 100-mile radius and how they might be applicable to future reconstruction. Thoroughly investigating the area is essential and can be done by Internet research and getting in contact with local businesses.
Meetings. Meetings and workshops will then be held by ASF to collate information on the materials discovered in surrounding areas. Harvest mapping is a participatory approach, and so local people should be involved during this stage so that they can contribute in sourcing waste material. Skilled craftspeople should be contacted to help establish the materials and use their knowledge to inform where is best to apply them. During this stage, local labour and appropriate construction training should be introduced, so that the harvest map can also include where local labour can be found during the reconstruction process. The harvest map will act as an open resource, which will allow for local people to be able to build back their own communities with aid and resources.
Mapping. Information gathered can then be collated into a harvest map by ASF which indicates where resources can be identified online.