Motivation: Disasters have terrible consequences for those affected, but do they also provide opportunities to challenge existing social divisions and inequalities and to promote democratic social change?. Purpose: This article explores whether community-led reconstruction (CLR) can leverage progressive social change by increasing the participation and social inclusion of marginalized and excluded groups. The question it addresses is: to what extent and in what ways can CLR facilitate participation and social inclusion in post-disaster contexts? It does so by examining the community-led reconstruction programme (CLRP) implemented by the non-governmental organization ActionAid Nepal (AAN) after the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. Approach and methods: After reviewing existing literature on CLR, including shortcomings in implementation, the study uses data collected from community focus groups and interviews with government officials, as well as from a perception survey undertaken among earthquake victims. We collected data for six categories of marginalized people: women, landless, Dalits, indigenous groups, elderly and youth, and analysed the data pertaining to issues of participation and inclusion for each category using NVivo software. Findings: The findings indicate greater progress towards women’s social inclusion than for other marginalized social groups, with improvements in women’s social status. Additionally, enhanced community solidarity was evident in support of landless people. While newly created community reconstruction committees had not sustained their activities, the presence of pre-existing local social movements, such as women’s rights forums (WRFs) and land rights forums (LRFs), was key to making claims on government. Therefore, AAN’s CLRP had led to limited achievements in terms of greater participation and social inclusion of some hitherto marginalized groups, though difficulties in sustaining challenges to deep-seated inequalities were also noted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law