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The road to recovery: Understanding the challenges affecting school reconstruction in rural Nepal following the 2015 Gorkha earthquake

Lookup NU author(s): Louise Gaffney, Professor Sean Wilkinson, Dr Sarah Dunn



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2021The Sendai Framework acknowledges the importance of having safe, resilient school infrastructure for continued access to education, and for their role in post-disaster recovery; however, in many countries this ideal is still only aspirational. This was evidenced in the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, highlighting major vulnerabilities within Nepal's school infrastructure, creating huge demand for school reconstruction in earthquake-affected areas, and school upgrade efforts in the rest of Nepal. This paper presents findings of a study into school reconstruction projects undertaken following the 2015 earthquake. The data presented was collected within two phases of fieldwork in Nepal, through 20 stakeholder interviews, both at a high-level, exploring broader involvement across multiple projects, and for individual case-specific schools. This research identified six key challenges affecting school reconstruction; however, these differ in impact and are perceived differently by different stakeholders, affecting how they are considered within projects. Among the challenges, accessibility and transportation was reported as the greatest challenge representing a relative challenge of 0.75 on a scale of zero to one. Our research also highlights good practices, including providing training, or transporting materials outside of the monsoon season, that when implemented reduce timescales and budgets, and improve the quality of the reconstruction. We also found that there is little transfer of good practice between projects. Therefore, we argue that by highlighting better practice, our findings have the potential to help Build Back Better efforts in line with Sendai Framework targets, by improving the delivery of school reconstruction programmes in Nepal, or for other countries with similar contexts.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Westoby L, Wilkinson S, Dunn S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction

Year: 2021

Volume: 56

Print publication date: 01/04/2021

Online publication date: 12/02/2021

Acceptance date: 08/02/2021

Date deposited: 08/03/2021

ISSN (print): 2212-4209

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2021.102120


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