On 15th of March four of us headed to the headquarters of Nepal Red Cross Society early in the morning. We had gotten a possibility to meet Manish Raj Timsina, a technical supervisor who would then take us to Lalitpur district office to meet more people and show us their projects in Bungamati.
The meeting with Manish was full of information, again from a new perspective. There is such a big difference in working in an established worldwide NGO, that cooperates closely with the local authorities and supports the government in their rehabilitation work in areas where their resources are not sufficient than being a part of a smaller, self-organised movement. Red Cross Society has a huge advantage of being perceived as a credible and trustworthy actor globally. Their position seems to help their work also in areas where people might otherwise be suspicious about government initiatives. According to our talks with the local Red Cross staff, also the government and local authorities seem to have a high trust on Red Cross’s work such as surveys they conduct. These are used besides the official government surveys to get comparable data.
During lunch time, we travelled to the Lalitpur district office and had a short session in the house. After that we headed to field on one of the Red Cross jeeps, which made us to feel even more important and welcomed guests. A return to Bungamati where we had been visiting just the day before was valuable. This time we focused in talking with locals as we had Red Cross’s social mobilizers to translate for us. What we found interesting was that different organisations such as the UN-Habitat and Red Cross were not much aware of each other’s projects in the area. However, the communication between locals and Red Cross seemed to work more efficiently, as the residents we interviewed recognised many of Red Cross’s communication means and had their favourites as well. Among other projects we saw a mural painted about water issues by Red Cross together with the local people. Sometimes simple ways can communicate complex issues in the most effective and at the same time sensitive manner.