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This research report was disclosed by project Team Leader Hira Bishwokarma at a presentation held at FEDO’s Central Office in Kupondol on 6th September 2012. Dipendra Bahadur Kshetry, Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission was the Chief Guest of the ceremony.
A baseline survey was carried out in four districts of Nepal, two from the Far-Western region, Bajhang and Bajura, and two from the central region of Nepal comprising of hill and Terai, Kavre and Dhanusha districts. From these districts, a sample survey collected data about the status of Dalit and marginalized communities in the public service.
According to Team Leader Hira Bishwokarma, the main objective of the baseline survey was to access the situation of Dalits in the project districts in relation to public services.
Methodologies used for the survey included a literature review and 581 questionnaires being put to participants. On the basis of the number of households and qualitative methodologies, the baseline survey captured those groups at the district level.
The Chief Guest and Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission Dipendra Bahadur Kshetry noted that looking at the results of the survey, the statistics show that the status of Dalits and marginalized communities are truly shocking. This survey is the first of its kind to collect this kind of data on marginalized communities who are so often left out of government structures.
According to Kshetry, the rate of people living under the poverty line is 25.2%. The government of Nepal is trying to decrease the rate to 21% over the next three years. Although the government made a positive discrimination policy to involve Dalit and marginalized communities in government structures as well as the public service, the administrative function is lagging behind in the implementation of this. In order to pursue state-provided rights, Dalits and marginalized groups themselves should march forward under the law and rules of the government.
There have been misconceptions regarding a letter sent to UNDP by the National Planning Commission which says that the rights of Dalits and marginalized communities should be undermined. The fact is that the NPC was actually drawing attention to the need to follow the Nepal Government’s rules and regulations for preparing UNDAF’s Strategic Plan. He informed everyone that the Nepal Government, the NPC and UNDP agreed on the terminologies used in the document with mutual understanding.
UNDP Programme Analyst, Dharma Swarnakar expressed his appreciation to the work of FEDO for undertaking the baseline survey in order to improve the status of Dalits in different fields. He stated that Dalits are the least studied groups and this study can be considered as milestone.
Although the plans and policies have been made, the implementation has not been strong, on the basis of the monitoring and the evaluation done. According to him, the poverty levels in the context of Nepal has decreased from 31 to 25% among which the poverty level of Dalits has decreased from 47 to 42% and that of Brahmin and Kshetry is has 10% only. Such statistics indicate that commitment needs to be made by the government, donor agencies, and NGOs to eradicate the existing poverty levels.
The next speaker, Dr. Man Bahadur Bishwokarma, representative of the Nepal Government and Director General of the Department of Labor was satisfied with the report, and at the same time he urged the needs to explore the why aspects of the problems faced by Dalits in the public sector. According to him, the report shows the high political awareness amongst the Dalits, but it is a matter of surprise to know that still 8% of Dalits do not have citizenship and they have not realized its importance.
Madhav Karki, representative of CECI, also spoke on how CECI is supporting 20 local level NGOs and 10 national NGOs to promote social accountability in Nepal. With regard to FEDO this project is meant for the upliftment of Dalit women by tracking the public service.
According to the Coordinator of PRAN, Richard Holloway from the World Bank, this project was launched with the cooperation of FEDO in order to implement the plans and policies made by the government and to act as a bridge between the service providers and the service receiver for upgrading the level of awareness of Dalits and marginalized communities. He expressed that the objective of the program will be fulfilled only when Dalit women can actively access the services as provide by the state and start questioning if they do not have it.
According to the President of FEDO, Durga Sob, when donors invest their budgets with the cooperation of the Nepal Government, often these funds are not being used properly. If the allocated budgets for the welfare of Dalits had been implemented properly by the Government, there would be no need for NGO-funded programs. She also added that FEDO has done many good and effective projects, with small amount of budget. She said how FEDO works on issues of women and it is largely a movement based organization. She reiterated the need of working closely with the government service providers and stated that FEDO want be bridge between Dalit women and the government.
FEDO is a national level Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded in 1994 to establish the rights of Dalit women by organizing and empowering them for their mainstreaming into national development. [+ read more]
- Global fund for Women
- International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)
- European Union (EU)
- Womankind Worldwide
- WaterAid Nepal
- Open Society Foundation (OSF)
- World Bank/CECI
- Australian Embassy
- DanChurch Aid (DCA)