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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

GQueues and the Field Innovation Team Help Nepalese Communities Rebuild From Disaster



You may recall this past April a deadly earthquake struck Nepal, killing over 9,000 people and injuring more than 23,000. While the event has fallen out of news headlines, hundreds of thousands of people are still in the process of rebuilding their lives after entire villages were flattened across the region. Several aftershocks and the fast-approaching monsoon season have made recovery from the disaster all the more difficult.

As a member of the 1871 startup community in Chicago, GQueues is able to attend a number of workshops offered by other entrepreneurs and leaders who are finding new ways to solve big problems. One such workshop we attended this past June was led by the Field Innovation Team (FIT), which works works with disaster-affected communities around the world, providing emergency relief as well as disaster preparedness training.

At the workshop we heard about several ways FIT is using technology to help in disasters, from using drones to map out mudslide topography to setting up mesh networks to facilitate communication where normal lines of transmission have been destroyed. We also learned that FIT would soon deploy a team to Nepal to support disaster relief efforts and we decided to get involved.

GQueues covered the costs to send one additional FIT team member to Nepal, along with funds for resources needed on the ground for the relief efforts. FIT’s plans for the trip included working with local organizations to build temporary learning centers, provide training to prepare for aftershocks, and lead youth empowerment activities to help counter the growing human trafficking issues in the region.



In addition to our donation, we also helped volunteers prepare to teach hygiene and sanitation practices in the disaster-stricken communities. Sweta Basnet, an infectious disease epidemiologist, travelled with FIT this summer to help address these sanitation problems. Before Basnet deployed, we worked with her to create a children’s game that emphasized the importance of washing hands. While this practice seems minor at first, in disaster-stricken areas where normal toilets and bathing facilities are destroyed, helping children still practice proper hygiene can greatly reduce the spread of diarrheal disease which leads to a considerable number of preventable deaths.

While in Nepal, FIT also partnered with Women LEAD, a leadership development organization for young women in Nepal. Basnet was able to translate improv games we created together at 1871 to empower local women and help them create solutions for challenges in their lives and community.

Sweta Basnet, pictured center.
To read more about FIT’s experience and impact in Nepal, read their After Action Report here.

Disaster survivors in Nepal are just starting to rebuild their lives and there is still a huge amount of work ahead. We at GQueues are grateful for the opportunity to help in a small way, and want to thank the entire FIT team for working alongside the Nepalese communities to help rebuild after disaster.


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