On June 14, I visited a Mobile Service Camp inKohalpur located outside of Nepalgunj, in the Western Terai near the Indian border, where Pact has its main office in Nepal. The purpose of my visit was twofold:
First, to witness the Government of Nepal’s efforts to provide citizenship certificates and voter identity cards to the people of Nepal in an easy and accessible way prior to the anticipated November 19th elections for the Constituent Assembly. In particular women, youth and marginalized ethnic communities, many of whom have been deprived of citizenship and voter registration opportunities, were targeted through the campaign.
Pact and its partner Equal Access worked with radio stations in six districts across the Mid-West and Far-West regions of Nepal to produce and air a number of Public Service Announcements (PSA) promoting these services.
Secondly, I met with the Village Development Council Secretary, a member of the Ward Citizens Forum and a social mobilizer to discuss how Pact’s programming can support and enhance historically marginalized citizens participation in local governance through engaging in budget making and development planning processes; and, to assist local government to be more inclusive and responsive to citizens’ needs for basic services such as potable water, access to health services and alternative livelihood opportunities.
Pact’s program in Nepal is only just getting underway. The Pact Team is building a solid relationship with local citizens, civil society groups and government through an open, transparent and participatory process of selecting the villages where it will target its resources.
These confidence building measures will go a long way to ensuring lasting results.