DHANGADHI, NEPAL—Today, the United States, through the Agency for International Development (USAID), partnered with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Government of Nepal (GoN) launched the SIKAI program to strengthen disaster preparedness and response capacity in western Nepal.
Through SIKAI – which stands for Strengthening Institutional Knowledge and capacity of provincial and local governments to embark on disaster risk management Action and Implementation – USAID will provide support to provincial and local governments in the Sudurpaschim and Karnali Provinces. IOM is implementing the program by providing coordination and technical assistance in close partnership with USAID and the Nepal Ministries of Internal Affairs and Law, Home Affairs, and Federal Affairs and General Administration.
Ambassador Thompson praised the new program, saying, “This program represents the ongoing commitment of the United States to support Nepal in its efforts to prepare for and respond to disasters, from the national to the local level, in line with federal policies, legislation, and frameworks.”
USAID/Nepal Mission Director Sepideh Keyvanshad echoed Ambassador Thompson in her remarks, noting that, “SIKAI’s focus on Sudurpaschim and Karnali provinces – which contain some of Nepal’s most disaster-vulnerable communities – is illustrative of our commitment to work at the local level, prioritizing the most vulnerable populations in Nepal.”
Also speaking at the event, IOM Officer-in-Charge Asif Razzaq said, “SIKAI aims to strengthen disaster risk governance in the two selected provinces as guided by the Constitution and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act.” He added “the project will further contribute to the Government of Nepal’s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and to the broader goal of building a resilient nation and in the context of changing climate.”
The USAID grant for SIKAI is $600,000 and is 18 months in duration. The new program builds on the work of USAID and IOM’s previous PARIWARTAN program (2017-2023), which supported disaster risk reduction and response coordination nationwide, providing resources and training to all 753 local government bodies. USAID works with national and local governments to reduce the risks from disasters and improve the capacity to quickly respond to Nepalis in need.