FAN – Missions, Options, Perspective

Flying Aid Nepal

Flying Aid Nepal, FAN, is an informal network, also referred to as FAN-net. It was formed May 5th, 2021 and consists of the following eight Danish organizations 

FAN1: BelhiGruppen Nepal, www.bgnepal.dk;
FAN2: Dansk Nepalesisk Selskab, www.nepal.dk;
FAN3: Himalayan Project, www.nepalhelp.org
FAN4: Human Practice Foundation, www.humanpractice.org;
FAN5: Jysk Landsbyudvikling I Nepal, www.kantipur.dk
FAN6: Rigshospitalet, MedTek Huset, www.rigshospitalet.dk/medtek;
FAN7: Seniorer uden Grænser, www.seniorerudengraenser.dk;
FAN8: Trianglen, www.site.trianglen.nu.

Initiator and spokesperson for FAN-net:
Flemming Topsoe, flemming@topsoefamily.dk, +45 21332508.  

BACKGROUND

Right from the beginning of May this year the Covid-19 pandemic exploded in Nepal. Everyone with activities in the country received alarming messages from friends and collaboration partners. But for others, the disaster is overshadowed by the disaster next door, in India. Few years ago, in April 2015, Nepal was struck by a devastating earthquake. However, the impact of the present pandemic is orders of magnitude more serious with long term after effects. The health system has broken down, the economy is in ruins, food is scarce, severe famine is threatening.  

REACTIONS

Lovers of Nepal around the world have reacted as best they could. In Denmark, the FAN-initiative is one such example, emerging from several groups of volunteers as well as professionals engaged in development work with a holistic drive, believing that the path to sustainability has to take all aspects into account in order to succeed, be it agriculture, health, education, job-creation, capacity building or culture, always in respect of local conditions, social and cultural structures and providing terms as set by the authorities. When disaster hits you simply must act. That is how FAN came about.

Mission

The national vision for Nepal is an efficient, sustainable and proud nation, accommodating its many different peoples in mutual respect and joint efforts. Nepal is on its way but, seeing the nation severely threatened by the Covid-19 pandemic, FAN-net has set a more targeted narrow mission:

The FAN-mission is to exploit its many-level contacts in order to provide aid quickly in remedy of the present Covid-19 crisis, with a focus on what the need is and where it is most urgent, always seeking local collaboration in understanding with the authorities. 

Guiding principles for FAN-activities:

  • Transparency. The execution of activities as well as the flow of money will follow as simple procedures as possible, considering circumstances, thus resulting in a pronounced degree of transparency.
  • Openness. Full information is provided to organizations who seek it, be it SWC (Social Welfare Council), United Nations, ActionAid or other larger and smaller organizations.
  • Professional administration is financed exclusively by internal means, not by donor money. This also includes the cost of evaluation and reporting.
  • Flexibility is shown towards initiators of activities who seek support from FAN-net by accepting lower standards of applications than for ordinary development projects. This concerns requirements to budgeting, timelines and other in principle desirable planning features. 
  • Realizing the urgency of actions, the go/no-go of suggested initiatives will often be based much on trust, previous acquaintance and recommendations (e.g. from NIC – for those who do not know about NIC, consult https://www.nicnepal.org  or simply search the net for information about Mahabir Pun). 
  • Approval of initiatives will, typically, be incremental by releasing quickly a preliminary drawing right on one of the two central FAN-accounts, in Denmark and in Nepal, with the possibility of extending the drawing right as the initiative unfolds and as donations are received.
  • Speed is prioritized over service to donors, thus donors are encouraged to pool their donations and accept that the actual desired use of the donation cannot be guaranteed, though this will be attempted.
  • Non-exclusivity. Other activities with the same goals are welcomed and may be supported.
  • Realizing the catastrophe-type of activity, it was from the outset found that the activity should be limited in time to a few months. In case activities are closed down, prevailing funds will be distributed according to an agreement which we hope can be negotiated between the Denmark Nepal Society and the Nepalese Ambassador to Denmark.

Options

Essentially, our options lie in activating our network contacts in pursuance of our mission. This has, more concretely, resulted in the following:

  • Contacting the Danish Foreign Ministry, making them aware of our activities.
  • Contacting major Danish aid organizations where, presently, e.g. exchange of information with ActionAid Denmark (“Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke”) which may lead to support of activities planned by ActionAid Nepal, a major difficulty being to avoid an extra administrative fee.
  • Capitalizing on the insight of the many individuals in our network, reaching out to localities in Nepal not always accessible to larger humanitarian organizations, and, at the same time also benefitting from information available from the larger organizations, we have a good dynamic picture of the situation regarding needs and opportunities and how they change in time.
  • Supporting an appeal to the Danish Government and political parties, published in the press (“Politiken”), May 21st, https://politiken.dk/debat/debatindlaeg/art8214467/Covid-19-h%C3%A6rger-Nepal.-Danmark-m%C3%A5-hj%C3%A6lpe.
  • Among the various options to spread information and trigger collaboration we have launched the homepage https://www.flyingaidnepal.dk  which may become a source of information for Nepalese social workers and health authorities, with a potential to provide service and information based on Danish experience in the treatment of Covid-19 and its after-effects.
  • Existing already strong independent contacts to UNDP Nepal and to NIC (National Innovation Center, founded by Mahabir Pun) have been further strengthened;
  • Capitalizing on the status as a commercial foundation of one of the FAN-organizations, Human Practice Foundation (HPF), HPF has organized an officially recognized collection of money in support of FAN-activities which allows tax deduction of donations. Also, HPF has made available to FAN-net their administrative set-up so that the basic money flow goes through two accounts set up by HPF, in Denmark and in Nepal where the HPF country manager, Shiva Rayamajhi in collaboration also with Mahabir Pun and NIC acts partly as a “clearing agent” for FAN-net. This is found to be a very strong set-up contributing to the credibility of our activity, locally in Nepal as well as among donors in Denmark and elsewhere.

Perspective

Sadly, the perspective is gruesome. Yes, we can assist with aid here and now, but the crisis will have a long term impact as also indicated in the introduction. How best to react to this realization is not clear at present. Should we stick to the informality of FAN-net and focus on the many contacts to good forces and activity “on the ground” or is a formalization some way or other to prefer? To be considered.  

FAN-management, May 23rd , 2021