Report of supporting repair and reconstruction of school in Mathurapati Phulbari Dapcha Kashikhanda Municipality in Kavre-palanchowk District

Background
Kavre Palanchowk Mathurapati Phulabari area of Dapcha Kashikhanda Municipality was one of the worst affected areas in Nepal during the Earthquake in 2014. All of Mathurapati Phulabari area suffered damages.
The Mathurapati area has 2 schools and both of them have suffered serious damage during the earthquake. There has been small contribution from INGO’s, NGO’s and Government Agencies for minor repair and reconstruction of temporary classrooms and toilets in these schools. An initiative was made to develop a proposal to help repair and reconstruct the damaged secondary school in this Municipality which is located in Buchakot.
Following the visit to the Sri Jan Kalyan Secondary School by a team of volunteers for Bangalore Cares for Nepal, it was suggested that the school management should invite the local community for a meeting and decide how to proceed further if Bangalore Cares for Nepal decides to support the school reconstruction and repair. As suggested the school principal held a meeting on 20th March in the school premises and it involved the 9 members of the School Management Committee; 11 members of the Parent Teachers’ Association, and the 12 teachers of the school. The key decisions taken during this meeting were
• For the welfare of the school and students the entire village will come together and mobilize resources ( in terms of skilled/unskilled labour, paper work required to get the permission, responsibility for sourcing materials, overseeing the repair and reconstruction work etc.,) and help the school. The villagers and the school administration will together follow up on the process for permission for repair of the school while the library and lab are under construction.
Following this meeting the school principal visited the District Education Office (DEO) and verbally informed the Education Officer about the proposed support from Bangalore Cares for Nepal for school repair as well as building the library and lab. The Resource Person (RP) for DEO (like a program officer who does the field implementation) has asked to give a written letter if possible and they have also suggested a meeting with representative of Bangalore Cares for Nepal. As Bangalore Cares did not have permission to build the school, it requested Kathmandu based national NGO: Women Acting Together for Change (WATCH) to support for construction. WATCH agreed and asked the school to submit the design and cost estimate of the school.
Next steps taken for the construction work
• The local community formed a 7 member Construction committee by selecting representative from School Management Committee, PTA, teachers and VDC representative. The Resource Person from the DEO office was the advisor for this committee. It was an inclusive committee which included women, men and members of all ethnic groups. This was formed on 29th of March, 2016.
• The committee in its first meeting distributed the roles and responsibilities among all the members, but main responsibilities were assigned to the Chairman and the Principal and Vice-Principal of the school.
• The Committee identified a Contractor who had already been building schools after the earthquake so he had experience and he had trained and skilled human resources.
• A Bank account was supposed to be opened in the name of the construction committee with 3 designated signatories but the DEO did not approve so the school’s account was used for transferring money for constructions.
• WATCH released the money in three installments linked to the progress of the work from the fund received from the Bangalore Cares for Nepal
• It was decided that in one year from the day they receive the money they would complete the construction.
1. Toilet Blocks
Two toilet blocks separately for boys and girls, are presently exist. They will be made disable and girl friendly. For which Rs. 100,000 was allocated.
2. Help for the Students
Most of the families are struggling with the education of children since their incomes have been affected badly. Therefore it was required also to help them with the basic needs of attending school like uniform, school bags, books, umbrella and so on. A total package of materials would estimated to cost around Rs. 3,200 for each student. Thus for approximately 150 students in the school this year which has begun in June, it was proposed to provide this support. The total expenditure would be 150 x Rs. 3,200 = 480,000
3. Four class room building construction
As attached design and cost estimate, the construction committee will build a four room school building within a year. WATCH from the fund received from the Bangalore Cares Nepal provide Rs. 52,10,000.00. School Management will arrange other necessary fund from its resources, voluntary labour, or private donations. The construction committee agrees to provide original copies of bills (vat), receipts, etc. that are in accordance with financial norms. WATCH agrees to provide the money in three installments after monitoring and supervision of the construction work. For which school agrees to provide all the details. After completion of each phase a social audit will be done by inviting the school teachers and interested local people in collaboration with WATCH.

Summary of Expenses and Support planned

Sl No. Head of expenses Nepali Rupee Euros
1. Class Rooms (4) 52,10,000.00 43.829.76
2. Toilet Support 1,00,000.00 841.26
3. Help for students 4,80,000.00 4,038.06
4. Staff and Supervision Expenses 4,80,000.00 4,038.06
5. Administrative/Audit Expenses 2,67,795.00 2,252.86
Total 6,537,795.00 55,000.00

Construction Permission Game:
The school took responsibility to develop a design and cost estimate as to the guidance of the National Reconstruction Authority. As there was no firm guidelines in place so there were various changes being introduced because of which there was some confusion. The school managed to get recommendations from the Ward, Municipality, District Education Office and the Local Development Office, Kavre. With support from the Engineer of the District Education Office, Kavre; a consultant engineer company was hired to make detailed design and estimate the cost. It almost took two months to make detailed design. After the design was prepared it was taken to the Ministry of Education, the Central Project Implementation Unit. It studied the design and made some changes which took more than a month. Then it was submitted to the National Reconstruction Authority. The authority asked WATCH to change the budget making more money available for the construction because the construction cost to be supported by the project was Rs. 52,10,000.00 and the estimate was Rs. 56,38,143.92. The school was supposed to find the rest of the fund. WATCH agreed to provide Rs. 100,000 more by deducting to its cost. Thus the project was approved by the Authority.
It almost took more than six months to take permission. By then the exchange rate of Euro went down. Originally it was calculated on the basis of Rs. 118.87 for one Euro. By the time WATCH received the fund it has come down to Rs. 112.45 . Based on the previous exchange rate the project cost was supposed to be Rs. 6,537,795.00 but WATCH received only Rs. 6,184,750.00. Some discussion took place on this issue but at the end WATCH decided not to raise this issue rather take the responsibility itself to manage the construction by available fund.
The Construction Committee hired a contractor to start the work and WATCH hired an Engineer Consultant to make periodical visit for supervision and report to WATCH. Based on his report installments were released to the School. Effectively, the construction work started from March 2017 and completed by June 2017 and handed over to the School because they needed the classrooms to run the classes. On the day of inauguration the Guests of Honour distributed bags, school dress, stationery, trousers and jackets, etc. to the school children. For the finalization of the handover process, the District Education Office and District Project Implementation Unit, Kavre of the Ministry of Education have approved the project construction. The document is submitted to the Central Project Implementation Unit but as the Engineer is away on the holidays it may take some time. Also the CPIU is planning to provide certificates of the construction completion which is barred by the election commission until election process is complete. After that the similar process has to be done with the National Reconstruction Authority and the Social Welfare Council, Nepal. They may also go for the supervision visits.
Financial Report:
As already mentioned above because of the National Reconstruction Authority’s request for adding more money for construction and exchange rate problem the budget has changed. A summary for income-expenditure report as following. WATCH received Rs. 6,184,750.00 for the project; out of which Rs. 6,184,547.13 is spent with remaining Rs. 202.87 as balance. The budget for the classroom construction was allocated Rs. 5,310,000.00 which was spent 100%. Rs. 100,000 allocated for the toilet repair and improvement, the amount is spent on it. Rs. 480,000 allocated for children’s support the whole amount is spent. The money allocated for school is spent 100%. The school may have spent more money than allocated by the project but they have charged only the budget allocated by the project. From the budget allocated for WATCH, out of Rs.190,000.00 allocated for staff supervision Rs. 189,929.00 was spent. Out of Rs. 104,750.00 allocated for the administrative cost Rs.104,618.13 is spent. In both the cases actual expenses are far higher than allocated. WATCH management decided to cover such exceeded amount from its general expenses. The time and energy provided by the Executive Director and other WATCH staff were not charged to the project.