BALTIMORE—Lutheran World Relief has been named a winner of the competitive Water Window Challenge, securing a $1 million grant for the expansion of LWR’s Trans-Boundary Flood Resilience Project helping communities on the India-Nepal border cope with persistent and destructive flooding.
The Water Window Challenge is a global competition initiated by the Z Zurich Foundation and the Global Resilience Partnership seeking innovative solutions by multi-disciplinary teams to increase the resilience of flood-prone communities in West Africa’s Sahel region, the Horn of Africa, and in South and Southeast Asia. Almost 400 initial Challenge entries were whittled down to a final 12 solutions considered to have the greatest potential impact.
LWR’s winning team includes the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), DanChurchAid, Yale University’s Himalaya Initiative and four local non-governmental organizational partners in Nepal and India. The organizations will work collaboratively with communities in the Koshi & Gandak river basins to prepare for, respond to and recover from monsoon flooding. Originating in the mountains of Nepal, these annual flooding disasters wreak havoc on these poor and isolated low-land communities in Nepal and India.
Over the last two years, the project has addressed early warning systems in advance of flooding by improving communication and cooperation among communities and authorities on both sides of the border, doubling the speed of critical flood warning information, cutting alert time from 48 hours to 24 hours. The project has also encouraged the adoption of improved agricultural practices and facilitated access to financial services to increase assets for families to rely on in times of crisis.
LWR, DanChurchAid and their local community-based partners will work with Yale University to document and measure success in flood resilience, and with ADPC to promote the project model and system’s adoption with national governments. The team envisions that this approach will encourage similar work in other trans-boundary flood prone regions of India and Nepal, and even in other South Asian countries, such as in Bangladesh and Bhutan.