Advisory Unit Meeting of ‘Women’s Inclusion in Politics- WIP’ Held


Jagaran Nepal organized Advisory Unit Meeting of the project “Policy Advocacy and Capacity Building for Women’s Political Inclusion-WIP” on May 16, 2012 at Jagaran Nepal hall. The meeting was happened amidst the participation of all advisory unit members along with Jagaran Nepal team. 
In the meeting, Sharmila Karki, Chairperson of Jagaran Nepal shared about the challenges and reflection of the project. She shared that the project has major three areas as youth, resource centre and VDC and district level women leaders. “The project has been making its space at VDC and district level as it has been empowering rural women on their leadership development and providing leadership skills to the district level women leaders who are seeking decision level leadership at their party structures”, she said. She mentioned that there is a challenge to address the capacity building needs of VDC and district level women and effectively make functional and active the women rights policy networks/groups without its effectively linkage mechanism at locally available funds. 
Following her remarks, Kiran Chalise, Project Coordinator presented a presentation focusing three thematic areas as progress achieved so far, challenges faced and things to be improved. He shared that some district level women rights policy advocacy networks are getting success in acquiring the locally available funds for similar type of program at VDC.  Presenting the current data of political participation of women at district and centre committees and at ministerial level, he mentioned that the political parties are in progressive thought in ensuring at least 33% women’s participation. He clarified that there is a major challenge of the project as making remarkably functional and active the women rights policy advocacy networks and groups in districts and VDCs without the availability of minimum funds. He mentioned that there is a challenge to settle the demands of adjoining VDCs and districts for similar type of program initiation. In things to be improved section, he shared that certain things like coordination  with IPWA and other like minded women rights groups/networks for joint initiative on the advocacy of women’s inclusion in politics including women rights issue; coordination with other RDIF partner organizations and CSOs; frequent visit with group and networks members; coordination and linkage building mechanism with local and district level govt. agencies and best practice transfer at adjoin districts and VDCs should be strengthened in further days for even more effective result and impact of the project at districts and VDC levels.  At the end of his presentation he put forward the discussion agenda for the meeting as sustainability plan or strategy for women’s inclusion in politics-WIP. 
In the agenda, all advisory unit members put forward their ideas on sustainability plan of the project. Putting forward the ideas, Dr. Padma Prasad Khatiwada, Inclusion Expert suggested in making the VDC level network clustering the 5 VDCs and building a linkage to the network of district level. For the expansion of the project he suggested to go for another cluster of VDCs and adjoining districts. He praised the initiative of youth sensitization and asked to implement it at local level also. He suggested for putting the summary of available categorical data in the website of Jagaran Nepal for attracting the academia and researchers in the resource centre of Jagaran Nepal. 
Following his remarks, Bijay Poudel, Senior Journalist asked to build a linkage to utilize the locally available funds for the sustainability of the taken action. He asked Jagaran Nepal to utilize the potentiality of already trained women leaders of the districts for further capacity building training in VDCs and districts. He suggested in mobilizing and utilizing the role of media in revealing the success achieved by the project so far and for that he suggested to utilize the local media for cost effectiveness. As the country has already gone in federal provincial states, he suggested in designing the program as per the structure and special needs of the particular states and provinces in women’s inclusion in politics.  
Admitting the suggestions put forward previously, Shanta Sedhain, Supreme Court Lawyer suggested for effectively mobilizing the already trained women leaders of VDC and district for further trainings at VDC and district levels. 
Senior Human Rights Activist, Devika Timilsina asked to bring forth the issue of VDC level women at district level and thereby at centre level for effectively lobbying and advocacy on women’s inclusion issue in politics. He suggested to make active the district level network for policy advocacy on the issue of women’s inclusion and asked Jagaran Nepal to design the program as per the need and scenario of different federal states and provinces in women’s inclusion in politics. He suggested not to ignore the fringe political parties at the local level for creating political neutrality and harmony in the initiatives. “The success case of utilized local funds by the network members should be highlighted by giving the vibration to the adjoining districts, VDCs and project other districts”, he said. 
Being watchful to the identical recognition of Jagaran Nepal as an organization working for Women’s Inclusion in Politics, Senior Human Rights Activist and Chairperson of NGO Federation of Nepal, Dr. Netra Timsina asked Jagaran Nepal to uphold the flagship of Jagaran Nepal as women’s inclusion in politics always. “To maintain the flagship in the long run is a difficult task and it is the main challenge of Jagaran Nepal too”, he said. He suggested to document the major learning of the project as the best practices through which different programs can be designed. He mentioned that there is a major challenge to Jagaran Nepal to nurture the built-up groups and networks in VDC and districts. To tackle the challenge he suggested to networking the partner organizations for further initiative on women’s inclusion in politics. “Strengthening the partner organizations and mobilizing them on the campaign is the best way to maintain the sustainability of the taken action”, he mentioned. Similarly, he asked to start the process of coordination at VDC level and to build up proactively the local funds (available for women) for ensuring the sustainability of the action. He asked to replicate the project for another 2 years in the nearer VDCs by using the best practices of the current project. 
Following his remarks, Chairperson of Dalit NGO Federation, Gajadhar Sunar asked Jagaran Nepal to design the program as per the perspective of the organization. He suggested for raising the flagship of Jagaran Nepal always with its thematic areas mainly concentrating on Resource Centre Service, VDC level initiative for women’s inclusion in politics and youth mobilization on the campaign of women’s inclusion in politics. He suggested Jagaran Nepal to link up the major strength of Jagaran Nepal in three areas mentioned above. “The resource centre approach should be further upgraded in documenting the policy draft of the govt., analytical assessment on the documented policies from women’s perspectives, and different research on the theme of women’s status and women’s inclusion”, he suggested. He further said that Jagaran Nepal can contribute to community women through the available resources of the resource centre. He asked Jagaran Nepal whether these groups at VDC can initiate cooperatives so that their economic burdens can be addressed. 
At the end of the meeting Jagaran Nepal Chairperson Sharmila Karki said that Jagaran Nepal is planning to have an external evaluation of the initiative taken for women’s inclusion in politics very soon. She admitted that there is a challenge to maintain the flagship of Jagaran Nepal and replicate its best practices in other districts.