A few years ago my eyes were opened to the fact that international organizations provide only a fraction of aid that flows into countries after disasters—most of it comes from families, communities, religious institutions, local and national civil society organizations, and governments.
Yet, what I’ve seen online during the Covid-19 pandemic does not reflect that reality, at least not concerning Nepal. Here, for the past year I’ve watched individuals, including an immuno-compromised friend who is unable to get vaccinated, set aside work and family to serve hot food to needy strangers on the streets.
I’ve also seen groups large and small, some pre-existing and others created in response to the pandemic’s challenges, completely shift their work to acquire and deliver PPE to health workers, build isolation facilities and create websites to share information about the availability of oxygen supply and hospital beds. to give just a few examples.
Yet dominating my online feeds are images of international organizations donating or delivering Covid-19 relief. Don’t get me wrong—that assistance is essential, but in the traditional media, and on social media, it overshadows the homegrown efforts that begin immediately after disaster strikes and continue long after the recovery phase.
In response, I and editor Srawan Shrestha—using footage provided by about a dozen civil society groups—created the short video above. We hope it levels the field somewhat.
For more information on who delivers what humanitarian aid, see this article I wrote recently for Nepali Times.