Action research to enhance women’s adaptive capacity in Nepal strengthened earthquake resilience 

In 2014, HICAP initiated action research to identify the sociocultural and institutional dynamics that have shaped gendered capacities to adapt to climate change within communities. The research trained two women and one man in each of the two selected villages to identify key elements of adaptive capacity, to assess and identify gaps in their own community’s adaptive capacity, and to develop community micro-plans for bridging these gaps. The aim of the research was to equip communities, particularly women, with adaptive skills and enable them to respond to the multiple challenges posed by the rapidly changing socioeconomic and environmental situation in the region. The main output of the action research was a long-term micro-plan developed by the two communities. The micro-plan included clear strategies to help improve their adaptive capacity. The devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015 added an unforeseen dimension to the research. Although the communities that took part in the research faced severe losses, they proved more able to respond to the earthquake than many others. As they were aware of which local institutions and officials to approach, they could seek relief support more effectively. The village micro-plans for adaptive capacity were revised in view of the new situation, and the communities used their skills to develop comprehensive plans for recovering from their earthquake losses, while still building their capacity to adapt to future changes and challenges. In 2016, they will be implementing these new micro-plans.