National Workshop on " Women's Participation in Local Election : Reflection, Challenges and Future Strategy "

Jagaran Nepal, in its initiation conducted one day national level workshop  on "Women's Participation in Local Election : Reflection, Challenges and Future Strategy  " on 31st August, 2017 in Alfa House, Baneshwor  with the support of DCA under WoRLD ( Women's Representation and Leadership Development Project).The program was organized with the objective  to discuss on various challenges faced by elected women representatives and to clarify on their roles, responsibilities and duties as per the laws of the nation along with forming the future programs and strategies for their effective termination period.

Women representatives from 12 districts were present in the workshop who were elected in various posts; Mayor, Deputy-Mayor, Ward President and Dalit ward members. A total of 65 participants participated in the program including women representatives, journalists, representatives of various NGO, stakeholders .The program began with welcome remarks and objective sharing of Ms. Purna Kala Rai ,Project Coordinator chaired by Ms. Samjhana Pokharel, Chairperson of Jagaran Nepal.

Three eloquent presentations on the topic – "GESI Favour Policy Formulation and Implementation in Local Level", "Local Level Judicial Authority"  and  "Local Level Leadership & Role of Media"  were presented by three different experts; Ms. Lila Adhikari, Mr. Kedar Koirala and Mr. Bijaya Paudel respectively.  

Ms Adhikari, Under Secretary of  Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development,  stressed on the need for formulating gender friendly policies in local level and provided some measures in achieving such policies.  She gave emphasis on gender equality and quoted Kofi Annnan's view on gender equality as  precondition for meeting challenges of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.  Similarly, Advocate Mr. Koirala shed the light on Judicial Committee formed as per Article 217 of Constitution of Nepal, 2015 which mentions that three-member judicial committee is to be coordinated by its Vice Chairperson in the case of a Village Body and by its Deputy Mayor in the case of a Municipality, in order to settle disputes under their respective jurisdictions in accordance with law. He mentioned about the  roles and responsibilities of this Committee  highlightening on many issues like dispute settlement and its legal measures including justice delivery procedures, case hearing and decision. 

Journalist , Mr . Paudel expressed on the pivotal role of media in local level elections and how media can be used as effective tool in the election procedures.  He put forth the provisions of Right to Information Act, 2064 explaining that local body falls under "public body", who  needs  to respect and protect the right to information of citizen. It can use mass media while publishing, broadcasting or making information public. He pointed out the relation between public, media and governance and described vigorously regarding the benefits that can be obtained through media advocacy in elections.

Deputy Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan city, Ms Haripriya Khadgi opined that since 90% elected position is limited to Deputy Mayor and Vice-President , they have to constantly collaborate with Mayor and President as a result of which various rights of women are curtailed  and stressed on the need of women to fight for making gender friendly policies. Mayor of Dipayal SilGadi, Doti, Ms. Manju Malasi argued that despite various hurdles faced by women, they need to prove themselves by making and implementing some exemplary works.

The later part of the program carried out the  workshop among the participants by dividing them into 4 groups who were given 30 minutes to discuss on the issues listed out and make the presentations accordingly.  Open floor discussions took place where the experts clarified on the issues as per the  need . The discussions took place regarding the challenges on policy and program budget formulation of local body  and strategies to make women friendly elections for federal and provincial assemblies. At the end of the discussion, the elected women representatives committed to conduct exemplary works  for peace and development despite of social, political and economic hindrances. They further committed on complying with good governance and to work for the betterment of the society as result of which more women could  win the posts of Mayor and President in coming elections.

The workshop ended with the participants thanking for the effective workshop and urged for similar workshops in future for their capacity enhancement. Founding President of Jagaran Nepal and immediate past President of NGO Federation, Ms. Sharmila Karki  expressed her happiness and pride as many women got elected in various posts in the local level elections from the women groups formed by Jagaran Nepal in almost 40 districts of the nation which has been advocating for women rights, peace and governance.  She urged the elected women representatives for formulating effective policies and wished for the successful tenure of elected women representatives.