The event, held at the Blue Diamond Society’s office in Lazimpat, Kathmandu, featured presentations from Nepal Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), USAID, and the Nepal Red Cross Society. Topics covered included Earthquake Risks, Personal Preparedness Measures, and How to Access Humanitarian Assistance.
“It’s important that our programs are accessible and appropriate for all populations,” said Sheila Roquitte, Director of Disaster Risk Reduction Office at USAID in a press release today. “Working with the Blue Diamond Society, we believe targeted risk reduction education within the LGBTI community can be an effective tool for outreach.”
The Blue Diamond Society was founded in 2001 to advocate for and protect the sexual health and human rights of LGBTI people in Nepal. While research has demonstrated that LGBTI people can be especially vulnerable in the wake of disasters, the U.S. Embassy has expressed that it hopes that by partnering with local LGBTI organizations, it can reach out to communities and reduce risk.
BDS director Sunil Babu Pant, former MP, was enthusiastic about the event: “We are encouraged that the LGBTI community will now be invited to First Aid training programs, that relief program staff will be trained on LGBTI vulnerabilities in disaster situations, and that district-level advocacy will take place across Nepal. These are important first steps and should be an example for the world.”
While several reports of discrimination and abuse of LGBTI people (in Haiti, Japan, Pakistan, and India) in the wake of disasters have surfaced recently, Nepal has emerged as a global leader in engaging with the disaster risk reduction and relief communities to ensure the LGBTI community is aware of safety measures, and that the concerns and vulnerabilities of LGBTI people are included in all plans.