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[liberationtech] Looking for: ICT/telecom expertise in country in Nepal

Nick Ashton-Hart nashton at
Mon Apr 27 11:27:04 PDT 2015

+ Indiver

Dear Bill,

I've certainly experienced that dynamic before. I'm very glad to hear that families are all OK. I only wish it were true for everyone, and it is great that PCH has released staff to help out - very much in the Nepali spirit I might add!

In this instance, Im not in Nepal right now, and so I won't be telling anyone what they need or anything of the sort. Nor would I be doing any of that if I were there.

I'm helping OCHA get access to a pool of people with a variety of skills - especially at the moment in 'telecom triage' but I'm sure it will rapidly expand beyond that. This is a grassroots thing with the list mostly coming from Nepalis referred by NGOs in digital policy and ISOC chapters. Microsoft's country director is helping in large part due to his connections with universities' tech programmes but in typical Nepali fashion also personally.

Indiver, if you would like to be added to the gdoc where the list is kept, directly introduced to the chap at OCHA who is helping the teams on the ground with all this, or both, let me know, I'm happy to do either or both.

FWIW, the list currently has two PCH people who have put themselves forward: Dibya Khatiwada and Rustan Shrestha. The more the merrier!

On 27 Apr 2015, at 20:12, Bill Woodcock <woody at> wrote:

>> On Apr 27, 2015, at 5:53 AM, Yosem Companys <companys at> wrote:
>> From: Nick Ashton-Hart <nashton at> via bestbits at
>> If you, or someone you know, has hands-on ICTs and especially telecom infrastructure experience and is presently in Nepal can you let me know offlist?
>> I'm trying to help emergency teams in country gain access to in-country expertise.
> One of our larger offices is in Kathmandu.  Our staff and their families are all accounted for and okay, so we’ve released and funded them to do relief work.  Presumably they’ll principally be doing ICT-related work, and presumably that will be coordinated through the ICT industry association.  The current secretary of the industry association is Indiver Badal <ib at>, who was PCH’s peering coordinator for several years.
> One issue we’ve observed many times when doing relief work, perhaps worst in the 2004 tsunami, the 2003 conflict in the Congo, and 2010 in Haiti, is that areas with modest ICT infrastructure that was adequate to the sustainable needs of their market, are swamped by aid workers with immodest expectations.  i.e. a desire to video-chat with their families every day, play WoW, and download video porn.  So they all show up, and declare “repairing the Internet infrastructure” (to levels never before seen) to be their first priority.  They run rough-shod over the local infrastructure operators, step on carefully-regulated or carefully-negotiated frequency allocations, etc.
> I very much hope we won’t have to deal with that in this case.  Nepal’s ICT environment is mature, its professionals are expert, and its community is well connected.  If and when they need help, they’re perfectly capable of indicating what help they need, and anyone from the outside who believes they know better is WRONG.  So, if you’re interested in helping, by all means, make your availability known to Indiver or any of the many other ICT professionals in-country, but please don’t assume that you know what’s needed, or worse, that they don’t.
>                                -Bill

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