The catastrophic 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April 2015 resulted in 8,790 deaths and the destruction of 498,852 private houses, with losses estimated to be around USD 7 billion, or about a third of Nepal’s GDP.

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), as an intergovernmental organization committed to knowledge generation and development in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH), focused on promoting long-term recovery, initiating reconstruction efforts and building resilience among mountain communities. 

Accordingly, in partnership with the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) and with support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), ICIMOD began implementing a pilot demonstration project from April 2016 — ‘Resilient Mountain Village: A Pilot Demonstration Project on Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation in Dhungentar, Nuwakot’. Local project implementation was overseen by Sahayata Samajik Sanstha in coordination with ICIMOD’s field team. The key objectives of the project are as follows:

  • To utilize participatory and innovative approaches and technologies for effective post-disaster recovery;
  • To enhance community resilience and improve livelihoods opportunities based on local niche and sustainability;
  • To develop a knowledge base for wider dissemination and present a replicable model approach to sustainable reconstruction and rehabilitation in a post-disaster situation; and
  • To collaborate with relevant stakeholders and encourage private sector engagement to build a self-reliant and resilient mountain village.

Dhungentar: Site Selection Rationale

A wide view of Dhungentar settlement, Bidur Municipality, Nuwakot

Nuwakot district was severely affected during the 2015 earthquake, witnessing 1,109 deaths and injuries to 1,050 people. There was substantial damage to public and private infrastructure, with 75,562 private houses and 15 government buildings fully damaged. Dhungentar settlement – located in Bidur Municipality, western Nuwakot – fortunately avoided deaths and injuries during the earthquake; however, the damage to homes and livelihoods was considerable. 

Dhungentar, which covers 96 households, was chosen for this pilot demonstration project since it had been identified as an ideal site by ICIMOD’s Hi-AWARE Initiative during a climate change study of the Gandaki Basin. The following findings from a social survey conducted by ICIMOD in 2016 underline Dhungentar’s suitability for the implementation of the pilot project.

Hear from the people

“I asked for a solar lamp. They said they couldn’t give me one because my house isn’t within the project area. I have land in that area, and I’ve leased it to Dalits. You know, I can see Dhungentar from here. I can see their houses being built. I see them being given things. I’ve visited their homes. They were chosen because they’re Dalits, weren’t they? Well, the same earthquake hit us too. And we’re poor too. But I have to make my house on my own. With help from the government, of course. But the people from the project could give us some things too—we’re living right next door. Maybe a water drum. Or just a solar lamp.” 

- Laxmi Prasad Paderu, Chainpur (which falls outside the project area)

Core partners

Local implementation partner

Dhungentar project area map

Caption: Dhungentar covers five cluster villages: Ratamate, Karamphedi, Archale, Dhand, and Mathillo Dhand. Dhand and Mathillo Dhand (located on the same hillside) are connected to Archale, Karamphedi, and Ratamate (on an adjacent hillside) by a narrow trail.

Click here for an interactive map