April’s earthquake in Nepal displaced an estimated 2.8 million people in its devastating wake. The 7.8-magnitude temblor tragically took the lives of some 8,500 people. Millions in aid poured in from nations around the world, from governments, from companies, and from ordinary people.
But in a part of the world where transportation and data infrastructure are poor in the best of times, how were the nearly 3 million people in Nepal and surrounding countries able to access the aid available to them?
Independent Sector member, Accountability Lab, dispatched a team of volunteers to Nepal and found government-run shelters empty. Many of those made homeless by the catastrophe didn’t know what resources were available to them, or had no way to access them. In response, Accountability Lab deployed “mobile citizen helpdesks”—local student volunteers helping victims chart a path through the relief process and holding authorities accountable—across 15 of the hardest-hit Nepali districts.
Here are some images from Accountability Lab’s work as they helped to make aid more effective in one of the year’s biggest disasters.