Sajhedari Bikkas: partnership for development
EAI improved the ability of communities to engage with local government and to advocate for their needs as an implementing partner to Pact on the USAID funded Sajhedari Bikaas project in Nepal.
A Project of —
Inspired by the Sajhedari Bikaas radio programs, I became a member of the Ward Citizen Forum, something that I never knew existed, and I encouraged other women in the community to participate. Through this Forum, the women on my Listening Group proposed a plan for building a small dam in the local river and it was approved! The credit goes to Sajhedari Bikaas for helping us become more confident after learning about how to become involved.” Raj Kumari Tharu Kumal, Chairperson, Janapriya LDAG, Dang
Nepal is emerging from decades of government instability, having undergone monarchical autocracy, Maoist insurgency, and the incessant power struggle between parliamentary political parties. The socio-cultural phenomenon of gender and caste discrimination is still deeply ingrained in political and societal constructs. Due to the historically unstable political structures, Nepali’s, particularly those from marginalized populations, are reluctant to be civically engaged which has meant that their interests and needs have not been represented. EAI leveraged the power of media and outreach to empower marginalized communities that have traditionally not been part of the process, to actively participate in shaping the future of their nation.
From 2013-2017, in six districts in the West and Far-West of Nepal, EAI worked to inform and engage citizens on issues of local governance and development. The goal of the program was to foster social action and civic engagement. EAI improved the ability of people to engage with local government and to advocate for their needs as an implementing partner to Pact on the USAID funded Sajhedari Bikaas project. EAI utilized a range of media and outreach activities that included:
- Production and broadcast of three original radio programs on governance and local development, many of which were produced in local languages
- Strengthened the capacity of local radio stations to create programming that catalyzes the local communities ability and desire to be civically engaged
- Mobilization of over 300 Listening, Discussion & Action Groups (LDAG) who became change agents in their communities
- Media outreach and other training that built the capacity of women and indigenous journalists and strategic communications training that strengthened the ability of local elected representatives to better communicate with and enable their constituents
- Through community-based monitoring and evaluation and by utilizing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) EAI employed a ‘generative feedback loop’ that ensured content and programming was relevant and coming from the communities themselves.
- Response activities after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal that included public service announcements on vital information
We learned about how important it is to participate in public hearings. For the first time, we spoke about the issue of garbage in our village. The next day the road was clean and the garbage removed.
Impact & Reach of this Project
Workshops teaching local government officials how to utilize media to reach their constituents
Radio programs on themes of governance and local development produced
of people who heard the PSAs shared messages with others
As a result of the program, women and marginalized groups in communities in the West and Far-West of Nepal understood the workings of local government structures and are actively engaging in the local level planning process and are collectively better able to advocate for their needs and the needs of their communities.
As the political structures have yet again changed and Nepal moves into a Federalist system, the groundwork that the Sajhedari Bikaas project laid is helping citizens understand the importance of being civically engaged to advocate for their needs to guide development will be instrumental in helping the country move forward.
The level of social awareness is weak in West Surkhet. To improve the level of civic consciousness, it is necessary to collaborate with the radio. We are planning to make strategic communications policies that required collaboration with local radio and other media so that citizen have access to important information.” Nirmala Rana
Vice-Chairperson, Chaukune Rural Municipality (Gaunpalika)