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Book Review:

Partners For Progress

A panel of experts probes the prospects of greater partnership among civil society, non-governmental organizations and the government in the development process

NGOs, Civil Society and Government in Nepal

Editors: Krishna B. Bhattachan, Dev Raj Dahal, Sheetal Rana, Jyoti Gyawali, Min Bahadur Basnet, Kashi Ram Bhusal and Ram Raj Pokharel

Published by Central Department of Sociology, Tribhuvan University in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

Price: Not disclosed, Pages: 186

With the restoration of democracy in 1990, a new debate has begun on the role of non-governmental organizations, civil society and the government in the process of development and in raising public awareness on various issues of concern.

At a time when Nepal is facing many challenges in carrying out development works effectively, encouraging more fruitful partnership among non-governmental organizations, civil society and the government assumes added importance. The government in Nepal has taken several steps to bring together these concerned parties on a common endeavor. However, the benefits of a harmonization of efforts are yet to fully materialize.

The Social Welfare Act 1992, the Ninth Plan document 1997-2002 and the Local Self-government Act 1998 have underlined a legislative framework for the operation of people’s institutions, non-governmental organizations and civil society in local self-government and in the development process.

One can see many successful experiments jointly launched by the government, non-governmental organizations and civil society. In the area of poverty alleviation, there is a wide scope to carry out such collaborative efforts.

With this three-pronged partnership, many new programs have been successfully implemented across the country. The demand of citizens of donor countries for accountability of performance at the grassroots level is expected to secure better conditions, especially in matters of improving the life of poor people.

In an effort to study various aspects of these institutions, Tribhuvan University’s Central Department of Sociology and Anthropology organized a seminar focusing on the effectiveness of the roles non-governmental organizations and civil society have been playing to address the concerns of the poor people.

The book, the proceedings of that exercise, is divided into two parts. The first deals with non-governmental organizations, civil society and the government in Nepal. The second part deals with student initiated lecture series on non-governmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations in Nepal. Most of the contributors to book are well-known experts and have tried to explain the challenges in bringing various institutions together.

In his article "New Predicaments of Humanitarian Organizations", Dr Chaitanya Mishra discusses the various characteristics of humanitarian organizations and their theoretical base. As a research paper, Dr. Mishra spends most of his time discussing theoretical approaches.

Deepak Gyawali in his paper "Are NGOs in Nepal Old Wine or New Bottle?" critically evaluates all aspects of non-governmental organizations. He compares various phases of the development of non-governmental organizations and their contributions to social and economic development. Commenting on Gyawali’s paper, Ram B. Chettri stresses the need to change the functioning of non-governmental organizations.

As Nepal has witnessed the emergence of a large number of non-governmental organizations as well as international organizations following the restoration of democracy, duplication of work has already aroused some concern. Bihari Krishna Shrestha’s article tries to explore different phases of development from this perspective.

Krishna Bhattachan discusses the roles of international non-governmental organizations and disadvantaged groups in Nepal.

Dilli Ram Dahal’s paper also tries to analyze the problems and prospects of the relationship between government organizations and NGOs\INGOs in Nepal.

At a time when the country is gripped by a debate over the complementary and conflicting roles of non-governmental organizations and civil society, the book illuminates critical aspects of the issues involved and suggests ways of bridging the gap.

SPOTLIGHT The National Newsmagazine, Vol. 20, No. 44, May 18 - May 24 , 2001.

Copyright©2001. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Nepal Office
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