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to follow earthquake provisions mandated by the building codes because they could not read the codes. NSET was more likely to choose these communities, but only if they showed potential for sustained community engagement. Community engagement began with town hall meetings where community members were invited to learn about hazards and earthquake technology. At first attendance was low, but as the few attendees chatted with their families over dinner, tea and at other gathering points, involvement increased. Potentially saving children from harm in the next earthquake proved an effective conversation piece. SECTION III: MOBILISATION Once the initial novelty of the information wore off, sustaining the interest and commitment of the community’s stakeholders was a challenge. NSET, along with community members, organised shake table demonstrations to continue conversations and demonstrate the effectiveness of hazardresistant construction. Shake table demonstration Shake table demonstrations are now widely used for teaching school communities and local masons about the effectiveness of earthquake-resistant technology. Typically, two one-tenth scaled models –that look like the local school – are placed side-by-side on an apparatus that partially simulates the movement of real earthquakes. Although the external design of both models is the same, one of the models has earthquake-resistant features and one is a replicate of current building practices. As the table vibrates, the community simultaneously witnesses the potential destruction of their own building, while they are given hope through the model that withstands the quake scenario. Out of all the schools surveyed in the Nawalparasi District, Kalika Secondary School was finally chosen. Community members were low- to middle-income, meaning there was potential for donation from the wealthier community members and deep interest in a safer school. The local government was also an eager partner. communities helps make sure that community demand is very high before initiating the project. However, they do not leave schools to operate alone. At the Kalika Secondary School, NSET facilitated the formation of community-based organisations (CBOs) that would spearhead school retrofit activities. NSET representatives accompanied the funding CBO to request donations from the community and district-level government offices. Again, in the company of an NSET representative, the CBO went to the steel manufacturer asking for a tax-deductible donation, which would be part of the steel company’s corporate social responsibility. As those negotiations began, NSET started to mobilise in-kind contributions of sand, boulders and bamboo that would eventually be necessary in the construction project. After developing a presence in the area, they were also able to secure some funding from a local NGO to support the project. NSET also maintained a consistent presence during construction. NSET engineers remained on the construction site throughout the process, providing on-the-job training for local masons. Trainings were not only focused on how to construct for earthquake safety, but on why the changes produce safer school buildings. After training masons, and tearing down one of the school buildings, a new three-story building was completed in 2010. Since then, around 60 percent of the construction completed by the trained masons has included earthquake-safer technology. NSET has seen masons tear down sections of their work when engineers point out deviations from the safer methods. Challenges to this approach Communities often resisted new construction practices at first. The initial scepticism made fina ncing especially difficult. Constructing a high-quality building was expensive, and NSET wanted the school to either contribute directly or be involved in gathering funds from other sources. Garnering the support and demand for the project took time before community members were willing to plunge into the project and provide time-consuming support. However, after decades of work the region, Nepal’s MoE now fully supports the community-based approach (see In context: Working towards a culture of safety in the Post-Construction Stage section). Key takeaways • Although adequate mobilisation can be time consuming, it can make drastic differences in project feasibility and procurement. In Nepal’s Nawalparasi District, NSET engineers answer questions at a shake table demonstration. Onlookers learn their traditional building may collapse in earthquakes, but that small changes in their construction practices can save their schools and their lives. Photo: NSET. Funding and retrofitting NSET requires communities to gather almost all the funding required for a school construction project. Challenging as that may seem, their exacting method for choosing 43 • Allocating a large proportion of resources to project selection can be useful when project goals include a focus on scaling-up. • Raising community awareness through demonstrations and public forums can generate invaluable conversations. • Shake tables are a particularly powerful tool for creating community interest and demand for safer construction. • If communities lack the resources to build a school, and they lack the skills to gather the funds from outside sources, implementing agencies can facilitate conversations with public and private groups that may be willing to make donations.