Nepal’s new Constitution enshrines a federal form of governance and mandates local, provincial, and national elections by January 2018. The return of elected local government after nearly two decades represents an opportunity to bridge the historical gap between the state and the people. The Asia Foundation supports Nepal’s efforts to strengthen subnational governance, mitigate conflict, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation.
Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding
Nepal’s citizens face both a weak and inaccessible formal justice system and inadequate means of resolving local disputes. In this context, our community mediation (CM) program has helped by providing immediate, affordable, and locally accessible dispute resolution services. CM has also contributed in increasing social harmony, building peace, and improving local governance. Based on our decade-plus locally grounded experience, we were able to promptly implement CM and facilitated dialogue programs to address interpersonal and policy-level conflicts related to earthquake relief and recovery in seven earthquake-affected districts. Last year, we also provided technical support to the Nepali government’s Mediation Council to implement the Mediation Act and organized an international conference to create a shared vision of CM and broaden its application in a development context.
NEWS FROM NEPAL
Resilient Radio Station
The devastating earthquakes that rocked the country in 2015 exposed numerous vulnerabilities, including the complete collapse of local information sharing mechanisms such as community radio stations, causing widespread communication blackouts. This dramatically illustrated the need for functional radio services during emergencies, as community radio networks serve as the primary source of information in Nepal on relief efforts and government service delivery to affected communities. The Foundation supported a rapid needs assessment of all affected districts as well as a new purpose-built, earthquake resilient facility at Sagarmatha Radio in Kathmandu for replication by other radio stations. This new design is cost-effective and can be quickly replicated in remote rural areas, offering Nepali citizens access to critical information in situations of crises.
Independent Impacts and Recovery Monitoring Nepal
On 25 April 2015, a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. Thousands were killed, tens of thousands were injured, and hundreds of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. A second major earthquake struck less than three weeks later, killing hundreds more and adding to the destruction. National and international aid providers quickly responded with emergency aid. But developing effective plans for long-term sustainable recovery requires knowledge of the needs of the affected, how they evolve over time, and the effectiveness of aid in addressing these needs. The Independent Impacts and Recovery Monitoring Nepal (IRM) project contributes to this by assessing longitudinally five issues through two research components.
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