Over the last week the ever more shrill criticism of international aid found a new target - the practise of giving money directly to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people, otherwise known as cash transfers. The allegation made was that this amounted to setting up UK-funded cashpoints for the poor. However the reality is somewhat different... Giving cash directly to women like Julum and Elphine is not wasteful but it is empowering and effective. We need to be vigilant to always ensure aid money is not being misspent.
Indeed, tourism is one of the few industries in Nepal where locals have the opportunity to forge a good career. Apart from hydroelectricity, tourism is Nepal's only natural resource, so natural disasters like the recent earthquake have enormous implications, putting the whole country under great strain with a devastating impact on tourism.
The Olympics give sport a powerful platform every four years, and it is now time for communities all over the world to recognise how sport can be used for development. Through challenging social norms and providing a platform for community led social development, CCI's inaugural project will lead the way in achieving this recognition.
In the days following the earthquake, despite the snow and freezing temperature, families were forced to sleep outside, scared to go indoors because of the damage to buildings and the threat of aftershocks. After the earthquakes many families had no choice but to sleep out in the open. The earthquakes not only destroyed their homes and their schools, but left millions of children scared and in danger. They needed shelter; food, water and medical supplies, and also support to deal with the traumatic events they had experienced, and the chance to get back to school as soon as possible.
My wife was at our home, preparing lunch with our boys. When I saw the houses collapsing in the village, I ran as fast as I could through the debris, and back to my family. As I ran, the ground was shaking and I kept falling down. For those five minutes between the earthquake and reaching home, I still had hope. That hope was taken away when I pulled the bodies of my two sons from the rubble.
Women continue to be among the most affected by the worst natural disaster to hit Nepal in 81 years. Women have lost their homes, families and livelihoods, and have received little support from the Nepali government. Intersecting inequalities meant that women faced additional barriers and were less able to access the emergency relief provided. Single women in particular are still struggling to access the support they need, fighting barriers and social stigma in order to gain equal rights.
So what does dignity look like to female earthquake survivors? It means being able to maintain personal hygiene through sanitary pads, clean clothes, soap, toothpaste, flashlights and other essentials provided to women and girls via UNFPA's trademark Dignity Kits, about 560,000 thousand of which were distributed in the first few months following the quake...
Agencies need to focus on the ongoing recovery work as well as delivering assistance in the testing conditions ahead of winter. There are huge challenges not only for the people of Nepal - who are making every effort to bounce back - but also for the humanitarian organisations who are striving to deliver against strict timelines and enormous physical and climatic difficulties.