Replicating SUSASAN Pathshala in MDO-Nepal works

Replicating SUSASAN Pathshala in MDO-Nepal works

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Reported by: Ratan Bahadur Rawal, DPC, MDO-Nepal Achham

Location: Achham

The local elections in Nepal were held between May-September 2017 in three phases. With the technical and financial support of CECI Nepal/GAC, Malika Development Organization Nepal (MDO-Nepal) started the SUSASAN project right after these local level elections. The start of the project was at a very crucial time. The timing was crucial because the newly constituted 753   local governments (LG) had to function out of scratch. The LGs did not have any rules and regulations, laws as such to operate. They were already facing problems to perform their duties. There were confusions over citizens’ meaningful participation in the planning and implementation process. Citizens lacked knowledge of their rights including right to information.

Due to the lack of meaningful participation of citizen at local level planning process the LGs operational processes were not effective. In a situation where civic education is so important, there were no mechanism to develop the capacity of the citizens. In such circumstances, in 2017 MDO-Nepal commenced SUSASAN project, supported by CECI Nepal/GAC in Sanfebagar municipality and Bannigadhi Jayagadh Rural Municipality.  In addition to developing the capacity of the two LGs, MDO-Nepal works with Civil Society Organizations (CSO) of the two LGs. Through training and awareness campaigns the project envisioned to promote civic participation in governance and accountability mechanisms.  The actions supported LGs on issues of leadership and capacity development of citizens, enhancing meaningful participation of women and marginalized communities at all levels.

Training and awareness raising sessions for DCSOs/other CSOs to promote civic participation in governance and accountability mechanisms.

In order to aware and educate the citizens on their rights, functionality of LGs, accountability mechanisms and importance of citizens’ meaningful participation in LG governance; SUSASAN Pathshalas’ (Citizen School) were introduced at community levels.
Through SUSASAN Pathshala the participants were trained on the components of good governance. Participants exchanged shared experiences, knowledge and skills among themselves. In total 838 females and 701 males of the two LGs benefitted from these SUSASAN Pathsala. The Pathsals’ are facilitated by project trained Facilitators, who belong to the same community.

Realizing same needs in other LGs, MDO-Nepal with some modifications replicated the SUSASAN Pathsala modality to promote civic participation in governance and accountability mechanisms. MDO-Nepal renamed the Pathsala as Good Governance School (GGS) and introduced it in three LGs of the PARIWARTAN project supported by DCA/European Union. This project started in February 2019 and focuses on participation, inclusion, CSOs' actions for responsive, transparent and accountable local governance. The three LGs are Chaurpati, Mangalsen and Pachadewal Binayak. As of September 2020, 997 females and 18 males are actively participating in the 36 GGSs.

Knowledge of topics such as meaningful participation, transparency, social accountability and governance were transferred to the Pathsala participants through simple effective tools. Tools included mix of theoretical classes, group discussions, question-answers round, lecturing, games, pictures, debate and contests.  Based on SUSASAN learning, MDO-Nepal adjusted some contents and methodologies and developed a learning manual for GGS. PARIWARTAN project Social Mobilizer Nirmala Rawal feels that the tools applied help participants to increase their understanding level. PARIWARTAN Project Coordinator feels that women and marginalized people are empowered and able to raise their voices in an organized manner.

This modified replication of the SUSASAN Pathsala is a good example of how successful models can contribute to achieve to promote civic participation in governance and accountability mechanisms (Output 1113) in the communities and LGs.