Communities are intimately involved in school construction here. They are, more than any other group, the ones that watch each brick laid and each bar bent. They are even expected to form construction inspection committees and manage the construction project themselves.
The thing is, they aren’t builders.
They know about as much about earthquake safe construction as parents in in the United States. Sure, some have likely built a rickety shed or did some repair work on their house. But they are not professional builders.
We are back in Kathmandu and meeting with the organizations the will drive school reconstruction – engineers from the Ministry of Education who will create safer school designs, representatives of the development banks who will fund it, United Nations agency heads who will feed best practices and coordination into the process.
At each meeting, I have been initially wary, but at each we have found people also struggling with how to make schools safer given the budgets, the devastation, the remoteness and lack of capacity from village mason to...