Goma Karki: "DRR is a great space to learn, grow and give back to the community, so come be part of it!"

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Portrait of Goma Karki
UNDRR/Antoine Tardy

“My interest in DRR started really early,” Goma says. “I remember when I was in primary and secondary school, we had to walk an hour to get to school. And during monsoon season, we had to pass through landslides. Later on, I studied in Cambodia where I lived with communities that were suffering, due to the impact of climate change. These experiences sparked my interest in environmental research and sustainability.”

Goma then went to the Netherlands where she completed her master’s degree in Sustainability Science and Policy. Today, she works as Project Manager for Youth Innovation Lab in Kathmandu, Nepal, leading the Nepali Yuwa in Climate Action and Green Growth (The Youth CAN) project.

The four-year project, funded by the European Union, aims to create an impact where young people make their communities sustainable and resilient. One of the components of the project is the Climate Fellowship and DRR Fellowship which provides an experiential platform for youth at the early stage of their career to gain in-depth knowledge of DRRM and Climate Change Adaptation. It further creates the next generation of young professionals who will enhance DRRM and CCA to build resilient communities.

“Throughout my academic and professional career, I have been interested in working with young people and communities to enhance their resilience.” She continues: “Lately, we have focused more on promoting data-driven decision-making. That is definitely something I want to continue working on and see our government get more and more involved in.”

Through the DRR & Climate Fellowship, Goma has indeed been leading the localization of Nepal’s first integrated Disaster Information Management System Bipad Portal. The portal is owned by the Government of Nepal through the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority.

To support the localization of the Bipad Portal, Goma Karki has worked closely with young professionals, providing training and mentoring to help them assess data needs and gaps, bridge the data gap by field data collection, sensitize to the importance of data for planning and budgeting, transfer technical capacity to run Bipad Portal and use data for informed decision making.

Under her leadership, the Bipad Portal has been localized in 54 municipalities in seven provinces and created a pool of local professionals with an understanding of DRR governance. Point-data of critical infrastructures have been integrated into the portal, buildings and roads have been mapped, training has been provided and standard operating procedures for the portal have been endorsed with her support.

“Through my work with youth and young professionals, I have seen a growing inclination to work alongside the local government to understand DRR governance. After completing the fellowship, 14 graduated fellows have joined various government positions and they have become ambassadors for the Bipad Portal to support data-driven decision-making. As a result, we have started to see a shift in the partner municipalities, where elected representatives are talking about the need for data for informed decision-making.”

When asked about gender dynamics in her country and field of work, Goma makes a blunt observation: “gender gaps are really visible. At our events for instance in the various municipalities we work with, women are often placed there as tokens, just to have some level of female representation. They do not actively participate. Traditionally and culturally, our society has been male-dominated. It has been difficult to make a transition. But nonetheless, it is slowly happening.”

She concludes: “to the young women who think of starting a career in DRR, I want to say that it is a really exciting space which needs more women representation, so that we can all have a voice at the table. It is also a great space to learn, grow and give back to the community, so come be part of it!”.

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Themes Gender
Country and region Nepal
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