Category Archives: environment

frank talks about ground reality in Nepal

Nepal wants more investments, not aid.

 

Until when will we carry the tag of a ‘beggar’ nation in the world?

This question haunts all of us who believe in building a prosperous ‘Nepal’ within our lifetime. Looking back at our history of ‘begging’, in the last 60 years one can safely deduce that foreign aid has not delivered. Tragically, it has instilled in the mindset of Nepalis the culture of ‘begging’. Our fierce human wish to be self-sustained, dignified and entrepreneurial has been handicapped by this very culture of begging, exacerbated by decades of foreign aid (easy money). Today there remains only two options for a Nepali; either continue being addicted to foreign aid and keep begging for more, or take the detoxifying path to regain dignity and self reliance through entrepreneurship fostered by investments for Nepal.

Nepali society can never lift itself out of poverty if our leadership continues to embrace this culture of ‘abject’ begging. Our leadership’s attitude and the subsequent system it has built accepts donors as gods. This has created a extractive model of opaque (non-transparent), corrupt and unequal donor driven society. The government and non-governmental institutions engineered around foreign aid have in the last five decades remained largely unanswerable to the people of Nepal (It is been 14 years since we had any locally elected officials-leaders to guide us). Our rulers have consistently over-promised and under-delivered specially when it comes to use of foreign aid. One simple proof lies in the much hyped earthquake preparedness campaign with the help of millions of dollars of foreign aid. Look where it got us!

When the bigger 1934 earthquake happened, there was no foreign aid yet we Nepalis managed to rebuild our heritage, our homes and our neighborhoods ! The current calamity has given us pause to reflect inside at our own shortcomings and not look outside. So it is time to use the help we receive abroad in specifically creating opportunities and skills as investments, otherwise the the foreign aid that we have to know and accept, will simply going to protect the current extractive institutions that are designed to extract incomes, wealth and power from the rest of us to help themselves. The world has had enough testimonials of how foreign aid has actually kept third world countries from achieving prosperity by sustaining incompetent rulers and the institutions that it seeks to protect. Sadly Nepal has not been an exception.

That is why to guide Nepal towards prosperity, we simply need more investment not aid. And investment is not possible without a conducive environment which only locally elected accountable government can deliver. So if we continue down this road of giving more aid to an unaccountable aid addicted Nepal, this young republic which has been born out of such agonizing pain will again collapse in the evil of poverty, inequality and hopelessness.

It was not the 7.8 richter earthquake but political leaderships and the government systems they have nurtured who bear the responsibility for this post April 25th disaster. They never paid any attention to the countless warnings and didn’t prepare anything to ward off this disaster even after receiving foreign aid of tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars for earthquake preparedness!

This is not the time to cash on the crisis and make us beggars once more. It is time to open Nepal up for investments and bring in much needed skills and knowledge to our nation. Nepali youths have already stepped forward to lead the country out of this mess. We believe this is the time to sprint on a road towards self reliance. That is why, before we look outside we need to see inside (to cure our addiction for easy corrupting money). Let our first priority be to use the resources of fellow Nepalis and building an investment friendly environment in Nepal. We Nepalis want to own the process of reconstruction and resurgence of Nepal. Any help from friends of Nepal flatly rests on whether it enhances the dignity of citizens and whether it creates direct opportunities and builds knowledge skills for Nepalis to thrive in the 21st century world.

In light of the donors conference of June 25, 2015, we urge Nepal government to strictly seek investment and no aid. Post-earthquake Nepal is at a fundamental crossroads. Will we finally start hacking at the roots of evil or continue cutting its branches only? Do we choose to stay a nation of beggars or be creators of a prosperous Nepal (in our life-time)?

Thank you for choosing.

 

भूकम्पको के दोष!

dharahara

एकैपलमा झण्डै ९,००० नेपाली मारिनुमा भूकम्प जिम्मेवार कि अहिलेसम्मको राजनीतिक–आर्थिक–सामाजिक संरचना? भूकम्पलाई दोष दिने हो भने यो त प्राकृतिक नियमितता हो। हरेक वर्ष संसारभरि यस्ता प्राकृतिक विपत्ति आइरहन्छन्–गइरहन्छन्। केही दिनअघि जापानमा पनि नेपालमा जस्तै ७.८ रेक्टरको भूकम्प गयो। तर, त्यहाँ एक जना पनि मरेनन् त! त्यसो भए के फरक रह्यो त त्यहाँ र यहाँ?

मूल कुरो त्यहाँको नेतृत्व र संरचनाले आफ्नो नागरिकको जीवन रक्षालाई पहिलो प्राथमिकता बनाएको छ। हाम्रो नेतृत्वको चेतनामा नागरिक रक्षा महत्वपूर्ण कुरा हो भन्ने नै छैन। किन यस्तो भयो त? पहिलो कुरो त जीवन रक्षा गर्ने भनेको के हो त्यो बुझ्नुपर्छ। विपत् परेपछि बचाउनु मात्रलाई जीवन रक्षा गरेको मान्ने कि पूर्वतयारी गरी ज्यान बचाउने संरचना र चेतना जगाउनेलाई पनि भन्ने? विपत् आएपछि त जनावरले पनि जीवन रक्षा गर्छ। मानव त त्यो हो, जसले विपत् आउनुअघि नै बच्ने तरिका बनाइसकेको हुन्छ। यही कारण ऊ र उसको समाजको क्षति न्यून हुन्छ। एकचोटी सोच्नुहोस् त, कसले यस्तो वातावरण बनायो, जहाँ पुस्तौँअघि बनेका माटोकै घरमा बस्न हामी अहिले बाध्य छौँ? कसले त्यस्तो वातावरण बनायो जहाँ नियम मिची जथाभावी कमसल घर–बाटो बनाउन दिइयो? प्रजातन्त्र आएको दुई दशक बित्दा पनि कसले नजिकको अस्पताल पुग्न दिनहुँ हिँड्नुपर्ने बाध्यता कायमै राख्यो? कसको नेतृत्वमा यस्ता संरचना बने जसले विपत्मा लाखौँ नेपालीलाई हप्तौँसम्म एउटै त्रिपाल पनि दिन सकेन र खुल्ला आकाशमा भोको पेट बोकी सुत्न बाध्य तुल्यायो?

कुरा स्पष्ट छ, हाम्रा हजारौँ दिदीबहिनी–दाजुभाइको मरणमा हाम्रै नेतृत्वको शैली जिम्मेवार छ। जुन नेतृत्व प्रणालीअन्तर्गत निर्देशित रही जसरी कमसल घरदेखि बाटाहरू बने त्यसैद्वारा निर्दोष नेपाली मारिए। अस्पताल नजिक नबनाइदिँदा र बनाइएका पनि विपत्मा काम नलाग्ने खालका हुँदा धेरै नेपाली मरे। देशको नेतृत्व भनेको त जनताको अभिवाभक हो। हाम्रो जीवन बचाउने अनि सहज बनाइदिने दायित्व हाम्रो नेतृत्वले बोकेको छ। त्यसैअनुरूप नियमकानुन बनाइ त्यसको पालना गराइ देशलाई अघि बढाउने जिम्मेवारी नेतृत्वको हो। विपत्ति आउँछ भन्ने थाहा हुँदाहुँदै केही नगर्ने हाम्रा राजनीतिक, आर्थिक र सामाजिक नेतृत्व यस विपत्को जिम्मेवार हुन्। कुनै एक नागरिकले गल्ती गर्दा थोरै ज्यान जाला, तर देशलाई नेतृत्व गर्नेले नै गल्ती गर्दा हजारौँ मान्छे मारिन्छन्, लाखौँ घरबारविहीन हुनपुग्छन्। अनि लाखौँ निर्दोष नेपाली गरिबीको भुमरीमा फस्छन्।

अहिलेसम्म देशको नेतृत्व सम्हालेकालाई मेरो प्रश्न के छ भने, तपाईंहरू कस्तो नेतृत्व प्रदर्शन गर्दै आउनुभएको छ? जहाँ पूर्वअनुमानित विपत्ति आउँदा पनि लाखौँ घर भत्किन्छन्? हजारौँ विद्यालय ढल्छन् अनि असंख्य बाटा बिग्रिन्छन्! तपाईंले कस्तो समाजको परिकल्पना गरिराख्नु भएको छ, जसको संरचनाले भूकम्पको एकै झट्कामा झण्डै ९,००० नेपाली मर्छन्? लाखौँ घरबारविहीन नेपाली परिवारलाई के जवाफ दिनुहुन्छ? सुन्दर, समृद्ध नेपाल बनाउँछु भन्ने दसौँ लाख विद्यार्थीलाई के स्पष्टिकरण दिनुहुन्छ? अनि तपाईको नेतृत्व शैलीका कारण आत्मसम्मान गुमाइसकेको देशदेखि दिक्क बनेका ३ करोड नेपालीलाई तपाईंको जवाफ के हुनेछ?

हाम्रो देशका नागरिकलाई पनि म सोध्न चाहन्छु– कस्तो नेतृत्व चुनिराखेका छौँ, जसले हजारौँ नेपालीको असामायिक मृत्यु हुने संरचना जोगाइराख्छ? कस्तो नेतृत्वलाई तपाईंले साथ दिनुभएको छ, जसले बनाएको प्रणालीले दसौँ हजारलाई एकैपटक अस्पताल पुर्यातउँछ? कस्तो नेतृत्व पद्धति जोगाइराख्नु भएको छ, जसले लाखौँ परिवारलाई भोको पेटमा खुल्ला आकासमा सुताइ एक बोरा चामल र एउटा त्रिपाल माग्न बाध्य बनाउँछ? नेतृत्व भनेको तपार्इंले रोज्ने हो, तपाईंले नै बनाउने हो अनि तपाईंले नै ठड्याइराख्ने हो। स्मरण रहोस्, अझै पनि पश्चिम र पूर्वी नेपालका ५८ जिल्ला जहाँ भूकम्पले प्रत्यक्ष प्रभाव पारेको छैन त्यहाँ बस्ने नेपाली उस्तै खतरनाक संरचनामा बस्न बाध्य छन्। त्यो संरचना कुनै पनि बेला अर्को भूकम्पले सखाप पारिदिनसक्छ। अनि फेरि हजारौँ (लाखौँ?) निर्दोष नागरिक मारिनसक्छन्।

कि तपाईं विकल्प खोज्दै हुनुहुन्छ? यस्तो वैकल्पिक समाज र संरचना बनाउन लम्कन चाहनुहुन्छ, जहाँ अहिलेको भन्दा ठूलो भुइँचालो आउँदा पनि न्यून क्षति हुनेछ। जहाँ बाटो भत्के पनि तुरुन्तै पहिलेभन्दा बलियो बन्छ। दुर्भाग्यले घर ढले पनि एक रात पनि खुला आकासमा गुजार्नु पर्दैन– एक बोरा चामलको लागि हात जोड्नु पर्दैन– बिरामीलाई समयमै अस्पताल पुर्याटउन सकिने छ।

अहिलेकै नेतृत्वले नेपालीको जीवन रक्षा कदापि गर्न सक्दैन, वैशाख १२ को भूकम्प र त्यसपछिको जीवन यसको साक्षी छ। अब नेपालले नेपालीको जीवन भक्षक होइन जीवन रक्षक नेतृत्व खोजेको छ। हरेक नेपालीसँग आज प्रष्ट दुइटा बाटो छ। राजनीतिलाई पानीसँग तुलना गर्ने हो भने दुषित पानी सफा गर्ने बाटो लाग्ने कि अझै ढल मिसाइराख्ने? अर्को भूकम्प वा अन्यखाले विपत्ति आउँदा के गर्ने? एक बोरा चामल र एउटा त्रिपाल लुछाचुँडी गर्ने कि २१ औँ शताब्दी सापेक्ष नेतृत्व बन्ने–बनाउने?

राजनीति र देशको सम्बन्ध भनेको नुन र खानाको सम्बन्धजस्तो रहेछ। खानाका परिकार जति मीठो बनाए पनि त्यसमा नुन नहाली सुखै हुन्न। नुन पुगेन वा चर्को भयो भने पनि खानयोग्य बन्दैन। त्यसैले राजनीतिबाट टाढिएर पनि समाधान निस्कँदैन। धेरै राजनीति गरेर पनि काम छैन। त्यसैले अब पनि सही नेतृत्व चुन्न, बनाउन र थेग्न आफूभित्रै सुतिरहेको विवेक जगाएनौँ भने सानै विपत्तिले पनि तपाईंको छोराछोरी, आमाबाबुमात्र होइन आदरणीयय देशका सपुत पनि गुमाउने छौँ। अनि यसको दोष पनि आफ्नो भाग्य वा निष्ठुरी भगवानलाई दिनेछौँ। अब भगवानलाई होइन हाम्रै नेतृत्वलाई औँलो ठड्याउने बेला आएको छ। २१ औँ शताब्दी सापेक्ष नेतृत्वको माग छ अहिले। जस्तोसुकै विपत्मा पनि आफ्नो जीवन रक्षा गर्ने नेतृत्व चाहिरहेका छन् नेपालीले।

कस्तो हो त यो २१ औँ शताब्दीको नेतृत्व जसले नेपालीको रक्षालाई पहिलो प्राथमिकतामा राख्छ?

१. यस्तो नेतृत्व जसले देशलाई विपत्को सामना गर्न पूर्वतयारी गरिराख्छ

२. यस्तो नेतृत्व जसले मद्दत गर्न चाहने र मद्दत आवश्यक रहेकाबीच पुल बनिदिने काम गर्छ।

३. यस्तो नेतृत्व जसले आफू त्रसित हुँदा पनि वरिपरि सबैलाई सहज व्यवस्थापन गरिदिन्छ।

४. यस्तो नेतृत्व जसले विपत्मा नागरिकलाई मजबुत बनाउन नवीन तरिका अपनाउँछ।

५. यस्तो नेतृत्व जसले गलत गरिएला कि भन्दै अनिर्र्णयमा बस्नुभन्दा सुरु गरिहालेर सिक्दै, सुधार्दै जाने बाटो निकाल्छ।

६. यस्तो नेतृत्व जसले देशको सरकारका शासन व्यवस्थामा देखिएका कमजोरीलाई तुरुन्तै सम्बोधन गर्छ।

७. यस्तो नेतृत्व जसले स्थानीय तहमा सक्षम नेतृत्व बनाइ त्यहाँका नागरिकलाई नै जिम्मेवार बनाउने काम गर्छ।

८. यस्तो नेतृत्व जसले महाविपत्तिको बेला आइपर्ने धेरै शंका र अविश्वासलाई कुल्ची उदारताको उदाहरण बन्छ।

९. यस्तो नेतृत्व जसले नेपाली नागरिकको जीवन रक्षालाई पहिलो प्राथमिकतामा राख्छ।

भूकम्पलाई अब उप्रान्त कहिले दोष दिने काम नगरौँ। बरु यो गैरजिम्मेवार सामाजिक–राजनीतिक–आर्थिक चक्रव्यूहलाई नै तोड्नेबारे सोचौँ। भूकम्पपछिको नेपालको यो कालखण्डमा अहिलेको नेतृत्वको शैली पूर्णरूपमा असान्दर्भिक प्रमाणित भएको छ। अबको नेपालले २१ औँ शताब्दी सापेक्ष नेतृत्व खोज्दै छ। जसले नेपालीलाई उद्धार र राहत वा पुनर्स्थापना गर्नेमात्र होइन, समाजकै दिगो नवनिर्माण गर्दै देशकै उत्थान हुने बाटोमा लम्काउँछ।

असार ३ , २०७२ को नागरिक खबर पत्रिकामा पनि पढ्नुहोला

A leadership that does not prepare cannot govern.

 

A leadership that does not prepare cannot govern. The importance of preparing was realized when we rushed to Teaching Hospital less than 30 minutes after the massive quake  of 7.8 richter scale at 11:56 am in Nepal. Everyone and everything seemed to be in utter chaos.

During a calamity of this size, BibekSheel Nepali party had built a clear protocol. It states that the first thing any BibekSheel Nepali party member is expected to do after checking upon their families is to go to the nearest hospital and help the authorities there manage the chaos. We did what we had been taught to do. We immediately set up a help desk to handle the rush of thousands of injured and panicked citizens.

We started helping the doctors and nurses ferry the ones still fighting for their lives and the dead. There was an immediate shortage of emergency medicines so right there and then, we started raising money. Every Nepali we asked gave! None held back. With the nearly Rs 100,000 raised, we opened up closed medical shops, bought the medicines which the medical practitioners used to save lives. The hospital garden soon became a big ‘open sky’ hospital. The doctors, nurses, police and army people and citizen volunteers relentlessly working were our ‘heroes’ on those fateful days and the days to come.

At a time of a disaster of this size, the job of any leadership is to build a positive network connecting those who want to save lives to those who needed help. While the political leadership proved utterly incapable of arranging this, Nepali citizens opened their hearts. They were desperate to help in any way they could. So realizing this gap in governance, we started connecting with them to give all these noble hearts better chances of saving Nepali lives immediately.

The lessons here was that those who wanted to help just need an assurance that their government was behind them 100 percent while they helped their fellow citizens. In the last two weeks, we connected thousands of wonderful kind-hearted, ordinary men and women from around the world together to bring relief to millions of Nepali. We ourselves managed to send immediate help to 300+ areas in 17 districts. And we know, thousands of other teams have similarly worked to get relief to the neediest.

Leadership is all about managing and creating hope for those around you, even when you yourself are in shock. As Nepalis reached out on social media assuring millions of Nepalis inside and outside the country that they were safe and working together to save Nepali lives, this created a virtuous cycle of hope. And along with thousands of independent efforts, this cycle of hope has perhaps created the single largest outpouring of love and empathy from the world ever for Nepal!

Leadership is also about building trust by innovating when citizens are most vulnerable. We started a 24-hour hotline even though we only had a mobile phone number and no landline and internet. We must have responded to thousands of immediate help requests over Facebook alone. Hundreds poured in to get help from our physical help desks that we opened in Teaching Hospital, Bir Hospital and Bhaktapur Hospital! Clean up campaigns have started out of nowhere from unknown citizens. We connected all the tools we had using friends all over the world to reply to desperate cries of help.

Leadership is also about filling in the gaps in governance. When citizens needed paal (tarpaulins) we rushed to Dhangadhi in the far west to bring back three tons in a truck. When another group requested urgent help to bring shelter to the Chepang villages in Makwanpur, we dropped some of the paal on the way. Every Nepali deserves saving. There is no our people vs your people at such a time.

Leadership is all about helping citizens become responsible. When residents of Tsum valley chartered a helicopter, we helped them with tarps and rice sacks. It’s not always that we took the initiative; it’s mostly been Nepali citizens themselves. We just enabled them to their highest potential. When citizens of Sindhupalchowk came with their painfully collected relief materials, we arranged our volunteers to give them security and transportation. When doctors and nurses came to help, we gave them information and medicines to support in their own life saving missions.

A government that doesn’t go local doesn’t act. When people simply do not trust their elected government with their donations, it concerns us greatly. We felt the acute need of elected local governance in every level of our rescue and relief missions in the 17 districts we made it to; there was a chronic absence of local authority!

Leadership trusts and opens its arms and lets go of suspicions at times of calamities. We were full of doubt when people we had never heard of offered help. But we came to a decision to eventually accept the help of anyone who wanted to help save Nepali lives because in the end, that is all that matters. We got the help of Bangladeshi doctors to European volunteers to Buddhist monks to American disaster fighters. We learnt a painful lesson: Opening our heart is more important than doubting intentions when humanity seeks to share our pains. In the end, leadership is about saving lives. Each Nepali deserves to be saved and the ones who carry the most responsibility are political leaders and political parties who are in the business of saving Nepali lives whether they are in power or not.

12 ways you can help Nepal (post Earthquake)

nepal-on-head

Here are 12 ways  you can help Nepal stand up on its foot quickly and with dignity! (& Build Nepal 2.0)

1) Everyone: Make a solemn pledge to yourself, “I am #withNepal”.
2) Travelers: Organize your family/friends trip inside Nepal this Fall (Autumn).
3) Entrepreneurs: Work with super-talented IT business / freelancers of Nepal.
4) Sports organizers: Organize an International Football / Cricket competition in Nepal.
5) Musicians: Organize one “I am #withNepal” concert of international music bands in Pokhara, Nepal this autumn.
6) Investors: Build long term business incubators.
7) Educators: Support to start a “21st century leadership building academy.” By god, we need this in Nepal!
8) Mayors: Adopt a Village (Make a devastated village/town – your sister village/town).
9) Donors: demand local elections in #Nepal immediately. Local Governance is the “key”.
10) World Financiers: Please open “payment gateways” like paypal in Nepal. Make it affordable for now. (you will instantly create thousands of self-employed Nepalis)
11) Activists: Build tools to support activists to bring transparency in each aid related government or private work in Nepal.
12) Everyone: Don’t just donate. Start to invest.

If you are interested, I will personally help connect you to plenty of  right people and places here. A crisis should also be taken as an immense opportunity (to build a better Nepal 2.0 ).
Please add your recommendations below !