April 27, 2012– The U.S. Embassy partnered with the Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights organization at a workshop this morning to discuss ways to include the LGBTI community in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and relief programs.
The event, held at the Blue Diamond Society’s office in Lazimpat, Kathmandu, featured presentations from Nepal Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), USAID, and the Nepal Red Cross Society. Topics covered included Earthquake Risks, Personal Preparedness Measures, and How to Access Humanitarian Assistance.
The goal of the half-day workshop was to bring stakeholders from the LGBTI and DRR communities together to discuss how programs could be more LGBTI-inclusive.
“It’s important that our programs are accessible and appropriate for all populations,” said Sheila Roquitte, Director of Disaster Risk Reduction Office at USAID. “Working with the Blue Diamond Society, we believe targeted risk reduction education within the LGBTI community can be an effective tool for outreach.”
The Blue Diamond Society was founded in 2001 to advocate for and protect the sexual health and human rights of LGBTI people in Nepal. While research has demonstrated that LGBTI people can be especially vulnerable in the wake of disasters, the U.S. Embassy hopes that by partnering with local LGBTI organizations, it can reach out to communities and reduce risk.
USAID is committed to addressing LGBT rights in all of its development activities, including disaster risk reduction. Earlier this month at a film screening on LGBT Human Rights, USAID Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg said, “Promoting LGBT rights is not just a question of fairness but it is also a matter of effectiveness. The work of development experts is done more comprehensively and successfully when we ensure full inclusion and equality for all, including people with disabilities, indigenous groups, women, and the LGBT community.”