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From Marginalized to Respected: Community Reporters in Nepal

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Dil Kumari B.K, one of Equal Access’ rising community reporters from the Sajhedari Bikaas Project

“Dalit” synonymous to a low caste social group or untouchables or marginalized was once the only identity of Dil Kumari B.K., a permanent resident of Pipira, Jarbuta VDC-1, She now proudly says:

“I am now a Community Reporter in my community. As a Community Reporter, I make voices heard. People once looked down on me because of my status but now they recognize and respect me as a contributing member of society.

Creating an enabling environment for community development requires empowering people to voice ideas, goals and challenges. Once a ‘voiceless’ herself, Dil Kumari now enables community members in her VDC and beyond to make their voices heard on issues affecting their lives and development.

As part of the USAID funded Sajhedari Bikaas Project, 

Dil Kumari and 14 of her peers were trained as Community Reporters to be the ears, eyes and voices of their communities. They ensure that unheard issues and voices are raised and included in local dialogues and decision making processes. Community Reporters also may an important role in creating a link between community members, the government and the local media. 

The voices collected by the Community Reporters are incorporated into the ‘Naya Nepal’ and ‘Sajhedari’ radio programs, which encourage informed dialogue and collective action.

“I often receive invitations from the office of village development committee to attend meetings and gatherings, and now my position is valued. I never imagined that my community would be so enthused about making improvements and that I would be included in those discussions.”

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In Nepal, marginalized groups such as the Dalit have traditionally not been encouraged to be active participants in civic engagement, which has left their needs and issues neglected and unaddressed. Sajhedari Bikaas empowers women, youth, and members from the Dalit community and other marginalized groups to share their voices and play an active role in shaping local development policies. The project is part of a larger USAID-supported initiative to promote inclusive local community development in Mid-West and Far-West Region in Nepal.

 

 

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