WOREC Nepal
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Community Development

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Overview of community development in Nepal

Nepal is a country which ranks 127th on the Human Development Index. It is also a country in which 42 percent of the population is living below the poverty line and where the unemployment rate is 15.4 percent. Nepal is known by bio-and socio-cultural diversity. The socio-cultural diversity has been manifested in terms of racial/caste-ethnic, linguistic, religious cultural, gender and regional diversities. Discrimination based on caste, race, ethnicity, gender and geographical region is prevalent and has compromised the rights of many groups, particularly rurally-based, so-called low caste communities. The so-called Dalit community is one group that has been particularly marginalized from mainstream development, consequently experiencing even greater levels of poverty and discrimination.

Gender is also a very significant aspect in the Nepalese society and it has been dominated by patriarchy supported by Hindu religion and culture. The egalitarian social structure of many indigenous nationalities has been affected by caste hierarchy and the concept of purity and pollution due to the intensive process of Hinduization and Sanskritization (or internal colonization). In this context, community development requires a multi-faceted approach that empowers individuals and groups, particularly marginalized communities, to work towards social justice within their own communities, for the continued development and growth of the nation as a whole

Overview of community mediation

In Nepal, violence against women is one of the major factors responsible for poor health of women, livelihood insecurity, and inadequate social mobilization. With an aim of restoring social justice and peace through the elimination of gender-based or caste-based discrimination and violence at the grassroots level, WOREC has facilitated the formation of community mediation committees (CMC) in the targeted wards, VDCs/municipalities,, and started mobilizing local community groups, locally elected governmental bodies, and local intellectuals for that purpose.

Goals of WOREC's community mediation program

  • To strengthen the organizational capacity of community groups, and to continue to mobilize the community towards the promotion of community-based social justice and sustainable development.
  • To work towards the healthy resolution of conflict at the local level.

Activities of community mediation program

WOREC is involved in the implementation and strengthening of community mediation activities.

Each ward-level mediation committee consists of 7 members: 4 female and 3 male. The composition of the ward-level mediation committee is as follows:

  • Elected and nominated women ward representative - (1) Chairperson
  • Elected chairperson of ward - (1) Member
  • Representative of adolescent girls’ group - (1) Member
  • Representative of women’s group - (2) Member
  • Local leaders, teachers, etc. - (2) Member

Each mediation committee conducts a monthly meeting on a regular basis. The hearing of registered cases of the disputes takes place as per need.

Major achievements

  • By the end of 2001, there were altogether 8 VDC-level and 86 ward-level community mediation committees formed in Udayapur.
  • In 2001, altogether 241 cases were registered in the ward-level mediation committees in Udayapur.
  • The mediation committees resolved 239 (99%) of the total registered cases and only 1 percent of the cases was referred to the district court.

Overview of marginalized communities program

WOREC’s Marginalized Communities Program was implemented in Siraha and Udayapur districts in 2003 and is mainly focused on the existing untouchability practices between Dalit and non-Dalit people of the community. It focuses on rational utilization of local human and natural resources, and of traditional knowledge and experience. It hopes to change the existing discriminatory socio-cultural norms and values that are responsible for the subordination of women and marginalized ethnic minorities. In this way, WOREC continues to work for the establishment of equitable social justice, peace and an economically sound society, with basic human right guaranteed by the state. This program also focuses on people's citizenship and/or legal registration rights, health and education rights, and the right to economic resources for livelihood

The Marginalized Communities Program is not a separate WOREC program, but rather aims to implement existing programs and activities with groups who have been typically marginalized from development efforts.

Goals of WOREC's marginalized communities programs

  • To sensitize the community towards the existing practices of untouchability, caste- based discrimination and their human rights.
  • To reduce the process of marginalization on the basis of caste, class, sex, gender, religion, culture, geographical territory.
  • To increase community awareness about access to and control over natural resources, land ownership, social justice, legal registration etc.
  • To mobilize and empower community-based groups towards the women rights, children rights, citizenship, land rights, caste discrimination, and income generation activities for sustainable livelihood.
  • To eradicate the untouchability practices, and establish Dalit's human rights.

Activities of the marginalized communities programs

  • Improve leadership quality and enhance capacity of community groups to become effective agents and catalysts for socio-economic change.
  • Policy advocacy on the issues of rights of marginalized groups and ethnic minorities as well as women's human rights issues.
  • Workshops and trainings to increase the level of awareness among the community people on women and child rights issues.
  • Workshops and training to women to increase knowledge and skill on women's health management and relevant education.
  • Income generation activities and sustainable management of small agricultural farms.

Steps of programme implementation:

  1. Base-line Survey
  2. Capacity building of program staff
  3. Animation and people's organization
  4. Group formation
  5. Group strengthening and capacity building
  6. Development education
  7. Bio-intensive farming and micro-enterprises
  8. Re-Integration of WOREC's other programs on the basis of priority.
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