Lulu He and Esther Heesemann present their research

WIDER Seminar Series

WIDER Seminar Series - Lulu He and Esther Heesemann

On 25 April 2018, PhD students Lulu He of the University of Queensland and Esther Heesemann of the University of Göttingen will present their research. 

Lulu He: Abstract – Sustainability-smart local demands: A study on recovery process after the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal 

Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disasters such as earthquakes and landslides. The primary aim of this study is to understand the needs for commencing recovery under a localized context with the reconstruction practices following the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. This study is premised on the assumption that greater participation from local communities in the recovery planning process enhances the fairness and efficacy of recovery strategies. As such, if recovery strategies are meeting people’s needs, sustainability is more incorporated in the disaster risk reduction. 

We visited rural villages in the affected areas 10 months after the earthquake to collect qualitative data consist of 114 household interviews and six focus group discussions which were applied to capture the needs of resources for starting the recovery. Data suggest that demands of resources for recovery at the local community are of sustainable property. For instance, people choose the ownership of safe land over reconstructed houses, cash jobs and employment training over cash compensation. These demands are interlinked, which is manifest in the reliance on interventions from central government. This finding implies that successful recovery from the earthquake impacts requires reconstruction in multiple sections rather than addressing a sole demand. Despite the wide afflicted areas and diverse demands, it is still feasible to tailor policies to people’s needs by using local leadership network since residents count on their group leaders to represent them and make collective choices. This research echoes the call for engaging local communities in designing post-disaster recovery, of which the approaches and findings are applicable to disaster management in resource-lacking countries prone to natural hazards.

Esther Heesemann:  Abstract – “Lucky” Iron Leaf? The impact of a novel iron fortification device on child health and development: Evidence from India

In India, every second child under the age of five is anaemic. Anaemia, a sign of iron deficiency, causes tiredness, increases the risk of infections, and is negatively associated with psychomotor and socio-emotional skills. Despite the positive health effects, iron supplementation rates remain low. In our study, we test the effectiveness of an alternative mean of iron fortification on childhood anaemia and development. The fortification device called Lucky Iron LeafTM is an about 7cm large piece of iron, which fortifies meals when included in the cooking process together a few drops of citric acid. The study was conducted as a randomised controlled trial with 2,000 children in rural Bihar, India. One year after the distribution, we find no significant average treatment effect on the iron status, motor, language, cognitive or socio-emotional skills of two- to three-year-old children. Anaemia rates in adults however dropped significantly.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others interested in development topics. Click here to learn more.