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Activity Report of FES Nepal in 2001


Under Social Political and Development areas FES supported 42 activities involving seminars, training, workshops, publication, material help, and exposure. The areas covered are: democracy, civic education, women and development, Dalit, development policies and regional cooperation in South Asia: The activity reports in detail are as follows:

Democracy <Go to Contents>

  1. Central Department of Political Science (CDPS) organized a five-day training on "Methodology for Improving Research and Teaching on Democracy" on March 19-23 in Kathmandu. The themes of the training involved importance of research skills in the promotion of democracy and good governance, understanding about the emerging global trends, public policy and democratic process, conceptual and theoretical aspects of problem formulation, scientific research, hypothesis and research process, statistics, data collection and proposal writing, survey research, tabulation and graphs, hypothesis testing and research design, survey project and questionnaire design, writing research report, etc. Fifteen political science teacher teaching post-graduate course from Kathmandu, Janakpur, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Dang, Surkhet, Mahendra Nagar and Pokhara and political science students of Central Campus Kirtipur participated the training. Eight colleges outside Kathmandu have offered post-graduate political science teaching and research. The chief guest of the training Dean of the University appreciated FES for helping the social science faculties to upgrade university teaching, research and material improvements through financial and technical cooperation. Five resource persons including a Fullbright Professor conducted the training course.
  2. Center for Studies on Democracy and Good Governance (CSDG) organized a one-day seminar and book-launching program on "A Decade of Democracy in Nepal," on June 30, in Kathmandu. CSDG is an office manned by the Secretary-Generals of NC, CPN-UML, RPP and Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP) including the Speaker of the Lower House and the Chairman of Upper House of parliament. The objective was to discuss on the recommendations of the book regarding the problems of democracy, local self-government, human rights, elections, media, economic development and poverty alleviation, constitutional issues, governance, corruption and judiciary. Former Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai was the chief guest, while leader of opposition in the parliament Madhav Kumar Nepal chaired the session. Forty-one participants involving members of parliament, secretaries, journalists, academicians, lawyers and policy makers participated the seminar. CSDG organized the second one-day seminar on "Strategies for Managing Political Instability in Nepal," on September 30 in Kathmandu. Three aspects of conflicts were articulated by five papers presented by experts: structural conflict between the government and the Maoists, manifest conflict between the government and opposition political parties and suppressed conflicts between the government and the societal forces, especially focusing on ethnicity, civil society, Dalits and women. The papers and the discussions suggested different modes of conflict resolution for different types of conflicts. The seminar was participated by Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, leader of Opposition, General Secretaries of major political parties, MPs, lawyers, civil servants and members of civil society. CSDG utilized the inputs of the seminars for preparing Governance Act for Nepal.
  3. The Martyrs Memorial Foundation (MMF) organized a two-day seminar on "Is Democratic Socialism Appropriate for Nepal?' at Hetaunda on August 13-14. Altogether 50 persons including Nepali Congress district committee presidents from the eastern, central and western development regions and representatives of civil society, trade unions, people's representatives and social workers participated the seminar. The theme of the seminar included the political, economic and social aspects of social democracy, evaluation of Nepalese development policies based on social democratic criteria and formulation of ways and means to resolve the deviation occurring in the nation. Three papers were presented by noted experts on the relevance of social democracy for Nepal by Dr. Bharat Prasad Dhital, Dr. Narayan Narsingh Khatri and ex-minister Narahari Acharya while Central Committee Member of Nepali Congress party Bimlenda Nidhi and ex-ministers Dip Kumar Upadhayay and Dhundi Raj Shastri offered comments. The presentation of papers was followed by group discussion. Participants unanimously viewed that "democratic socialism" should be the guiding principles of Nepali Congress party and government. The government should incorporate social democratic principles in the public policies of the government and must attune itself with the changes brought by socialist international.
  4. Nepal Center for Contemporary Studies (NCCS) organized its first a one-day seminar in Pokhara on "Dialogue Between People and Leaders" on August 19. More than 50 participants representing all walks of life took part in the meeting. Two leaders from Nepali Congress and CPN-UML represented respectively by Narahari Acharya and Jhal Nath Khanal both central committee members of their parties, initiated the dialogue on the Maoist problem and its solution and the provision of transparency for the constitutional dignity of monarchy. Other issues were related to the democratization of polity and reform measures undergoing in Nepal, such as land reforms, abolition of untouchability, provision of property rights to women and electoral reforms to make polity both representative and democratic. NCCS organized its second one-day seminar at Janakpur on December 5. Altogether 65 participants took part in the debate. Two central committee members of NC (Arjun Narsingh KC) and UML (Bharat Mohan Adhikari) respectively presented their views on "Current Political Situation of Nepal and Future Direction." The presentation was followed by critical discussion. While the state of emergency was thought to be a short-term solution, long-term measures for checks and balances among the constitutional organs, effectiveness of governance especially in matters of security, law and order, voice and participation and inclusiveness in public welfare were strongly articulated by the participants representing political parties, elected representatives, academics, journalists, government officials and representatives of civil society.
  5. Center for the Consolidation of Democracy in Nepal (CCD) organized a one-day seminar on "Democracy and Social Justice" in Kathmandu on November 29. Youth wing of Nepali Congress party, political leaders and ideologue of the party participated. The Chief Guest of the program, Minister without Portfolio Rishikesh Gautam, argued that there is a wave of social democracy worldwide. The Nepali Congress government as a member of socialist International must utilize the benefits from this wave. The Chairman of the program Sushil Koirala, Secretary-General of NC explained the contribution of Socialist International in promoting the idea of global social justice referring in part the Brandt Report and its relevance for developing countries including Nepal. Central Committee members of NC Bimlendra Nidhi, Prof. Narahari Acharya, Bhim Bahadur Tamang, MP Hom Nath Dahal, etc presented their views on social justice from different perspectives--social, economic, political and international cooperation. Dr. Yagnya Adhikari, Director of the Local Development Training Academy said that the NC should push the structural transformation of public sphere to make the state, market and civil society representative of public needs. Participants argued that social justice should take into account inter-generational, gender, ecological, inter-caste, inter-region and inter-class justice and that public policies should be made accordingly to address the questions of poverty, inequality, exclusion, dependency and alienation of people.
  6. CCD organized its second seminar on "Current National Situation of Nepal and Bases for Forging Consensus" on December 24 in Kathmandu. Altogether 65 Political leaders, Members of Parliament, member of Human Rights Commission, journalists and academicians participated the said meeting. Minister for Planning and Physical Works Chirinjibi Wagle was the chief guest while NC central Committee member Bhim B. Tamang was the chairman of the meeting. Prof. Krishna P. Khanal presented a discussion paper focusing on four themes: reforms and consolidation of current political system, question of socio-economic transformation, control of armed rebellion and the management of emergency and the exist of the state of emergency and the restoration of normalcy. Participants argued that achieving political democracy itself is not enough to make its functional. Its prerequisites must be established for, example, political consensus on the constitution, development policy, neutrality of public institution, strong penal system and the autonomy of civil society to articulate the diverse interests of the society. A functional democracy properly manages "consent" and "dissent" and brings the voice and participation of people in the national mainstream. Former Speaker of parliament Daman Nath Dhungana argued that there are three attacks to democracy: armed attack of Maoists, corrupt political class in power and opposition often consenting to government's policy and restlessness to come to power by any means. The opposition, which should have played role to protect citizens rights and often, deviated. Others argued that there should be a consensus among all the stakeholders of society to correct political flaws plaguing all aspects of public life and pull the country out of morass. They also noted that political parties should put pressure on the Maoists for dialogue and those victims of violence should be rehabilitated.

Education <Go to Contents>

Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) organized its first one-day training on "Civic Education Program," at Tansen, Palpa on September 30. Fourty-five school, higher secondary education and college teachers and members of civil society participated. FES helped the higher education board of His Majesty's Government of Nepal to introduce the course on civic education and published book "Contemporary Nepali Society" to be distributed free of cost. During training four speakers presented different aspects of civic education and the need to introduce civic education program to train young generation about democracy.Some participants asked about the modality of the implementation of program, availability of the books, training of teachers and the problems in updating the course in the future while others noted that one should also provide knowledge about the merits and demerits of other system and compare them with democracy so that students as citizens develop critical thinking and be able to provide judgements on matters of social and public interest. A few of them said that our education on civic education should cater the needs of rural society rather than just focus on urban areas. The duration of training should also be enlarged. In the second one-day training on "Civic Education Program," on October 11 in Janakpur for schoolteachers there were 45 participants.Participants made suggestions to improve the content of the book and discussed the hurdles faced by them in implementing the newly prescribed civic education syllabus by the curriculum development authority. There were also voices that called for expanding the civic education program outside the realm of the formal education system. In the third one-day training on "Civic Education Program," for high school teachers organized on October 14 at Ilam, the eastern town of Nepal, there were 48 participants representing schools, colleges and civil society. The participants were particularly enthusiastic about the subject, as they had recently introduced it in their higher secondary curriculum. In this training participants asked for enlarging the training course to include geography, history, economy and ecology of Nepal and also the duration so that each and every aspect of theme is discussed properly.

Women and Development <Go to Contents>

  1. Padma Kanya Multiple Campus (PKMC) organized a two-day seminar on "Improving Gender Balanced Political Education of Elected Members of Selected Wards" of Kathmandu metropolis on September 5-6 in Kathmandu. The seminar aimed to provide an avenue for: sharing the experience of elected women of Kathmandu metropolis with the faculties of Women's Studies; highlighting their problems in working with male members of ward assemblies with the civil society, donors, teachers and students; and formulating strategies to strengthen their role in the local self-governance through education and collective action. Altogether 17 ward representatives of Kathmandu metropolis presented their position papers on their problems of collective action, a number of structural, psychological and cultural barriers, taboos and obstacles to their participation and the problems in involving in key decision-making areas. Mayor of Kathmandu was the chief guest while Registrar of Tribhuvan University chaired the session. Congress MP Kamala Pant highlighted that the need for sharing equal power, resource and authority by womenfolk is the key to their empowerment. She also viewed that like the mandatory provisions in the national and VDC/municipality elections, the government should introduce laws for equal representation of women at District level, which, at the moment, seems almost nil.
  2. Legal Aid and Consultancy Center (LAAC) organized two three-day training courses on "Gender Mainstreaming of School Teachers." The first took place on May 31-June 1 at Udaypur, Eastern Development Zone of Nepal and second at Chitwan on September 3-5. These programs are the continuation of program since last year and it is intended to prepare enlightened opinion makers for social change, democratization of the state and equal development for both male and female. Three resource persons in each training provided training to forty school teachers from various schools about the importance of gender equality, need for reforms in many discriminatory clauses of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, process of higher level of women's representation in governance, establishment of human rights provisions, knowledge about many international conventions endorsed by Nepal and the need to include gender-balanced education in the schools. The course provided civic education with a view to: restructure the existing gender discriminatory system in Nepalese society which denies women of their rights and deprives them of opportunities to develop as free human beings and to introduce strategies where men and women work together for similar objectives realizing the gender-differentiated realities as well as pulling the threads together to weave a more holistic vision of change that involves women and men, young and old, poor and rich and all other sectors of human society. House of Representative recently passed 11the Amendment to the Muluki Ain (Civil Code) which purports to grant a semblance of property rights to daughters and a commission has been constituted by the government to look into discriminatory provisions in the laws.

Dalit Upliftment <Go to Contents>

  1. Center for Economic and Technical Studies (CETS) organized a two-day seminar on "Strategies for Uplifting Dalits of Tarai in Nepal" on August 25-26 at Janakpur. Altogether 50 dalit and non-dalit representatives of five districts--Saptari, Sirha, Dhanusha, Mahottari and Sarlahi participated the meeting. Eleven concept papers focusing on different categories of terai Dalits were represented. The participants viewed that in the context of Prime Minister Deuba's announcement of constituting a Commission to look into Dalit matters, the seminar deserved special importance. Many central level leaders of Dalit articulated the belief that the recommendations of the seminar will be of great help both to educate policy makers about the specific problems of Dalits in Tarai and formulate strategies to overcome their backwardness and suppression. At the end of seminar Janakpur Declaration was drafted and issued that promised the liberation of untouchable castes and advocate for their entitlements and social opportunities in economic and political life of the nation. FES also provided educational material help to Dalit Welfare Youth Club of Sirha on June 20, to purchase furniture, books, and other necessary instruments to run a school by Dalits themselves.

International Cooperation and Development Policy <Go to Contents>

  1. Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA) organized a series of one-day seminar on "Nepal-India Open Border: Positive and Negative Aspects." The first seminar took place on April 11 at Nepalgunj, the biggest town of Far Western region of Nepal, second on May 4 at Birgunj, the central region, third at Biratnagar, the second largest town of the country in Eastern Development Zone on May 18 and the last one in Kathmandu on July 25. Dr. Vidya Bir Singh Kansakar, Chairman, Central Department of Geography, Tribhuvan University, presented the working paper. Altogether 136 participants involving Members of Parliament, Chief District Officers, lawyers, foreign ministry officials, custom and revenue department officials, chief of Special Police Force, Commander in Chief of the Army, Home Secretary, political party representatives, university professors, home secretary, planners and policy makers, officials of Indian Embassy, etc took part. Two participants were invited from the nearby bordering states of India for Kathmandu seminar. The seminar sought to collect feed-backs on both positive and negative aspects of open border and furnish measures to control negative aspects, such as cross border smuggling, drug peddling, girl trafficking, terrorism and other irritating aspects while promoting mutuality of interests as well as healthy social, economic and cultural cooperation between the governments and peoples of Nepal and India.
  2. Among the three options, such as sealing of border, regulating the border and maintaining status quo, majority of participants favored the proper regulation and management of border. They viewed that open border must be regulated both for the promotion of democracy and development in the country. Needs of people living in border areas should be assessed, historical documents regulating the border must be analyzed and viable options must be chosen to maintain historical identity of the nation as an independent kingdom. The open border has promoted underground trade affecting the revenue of the nation, unrestricted flow of people and goods, fake voters during elections and has even affected the country in formulating policy to control price of goods and commodities. Participants also viewed that before the management of border, the problem of citizenship of the people of Terai must be solved, Identity Card for all the cross border visitors must be introduced including the registration of their names and addresses, the purpose of their visit and the location of their activities. Basic needs of the people of border region for which they shuttle to and fro should be solved and the number of entry points should be mutually decided. Participants also raised the point that due to uncooperative attitude of India, operation of dry-port in Birgunj has become difficult. They noted the importance of introducing identity card for Indians visiting Nepal and the Nepalese visiting India for the short run and passport in the long-run, proper management of border pillars, solution of citizenship problems inside the country and regular dialogues with Indian officials on solving cross-border problems. The final Report will be submitted to the concerned Ministries and departments of the Governments as inputs for policy formulation and legislation.
  3. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) organized a one-day seminar on "Improvement of Social Charter on SAARC and inclusion of Workers Rights" on May 2 in Kathmandu. Participants involved the representatives of all three major trade unions-Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC), Democratic Confederation of Nepalese Trade Unions (DECONT) and General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT), director of industrial relation forum, academicians, government officials and representatives of civil society. Altogether 25 participants took part in the seminar. Participants viewed that a coalition of major trade unions in the country and their consultation process with the regional trade unions must be established to enforce workers' right in the SAARC Social Charter. SAARC should not leave the issue of worker while taking into account the interest of capital and the state. They viewed that asymmetric decision-making and a lack of social cooperation among the major actors of society have rendered cooperation process unsustainable in the long run.
  4. Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) organized a one-day national seminar on "Impact of WTO and Globalization on Nepalese Agriculture" on November 20 in Kathmandu. Altogether forty participants representing WTO cell of Nepal, Ministry of Agriculture, President of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, trade union leaders, diplomats, academics and journalists took part in the meeting. The discussion focused on: Nepal's accession to WTO; costs and benefits for Nepal in taking membership, how other countries are dealing the agriculture issues under WTO and impact of WTO on Nepalese agriculture focusing on environment, forestry, food security, labor, food production and trading of agriculture products. Participants identified a number of benefits upon entering WTO, for example, freedom of transit, concession for least developed countries, protection from dumping of goods from developed countries, market access, increased price for food grains and the possibility of foreign direct investments. Since there are no studies focusing the impact of WTO on agriculture participants viewed that from the instinctive feeling membership from WTO will give Nepal better opportunities from non-membership, as it is a rule-based system. Participants argued for more intensive workshops on every aspects of agriculture as it is regarded the most vital sector of Nepal's political economy.
  5. Coalition for Action on South Asian Cooperation (CASAC) organized a one-day workshop on "Sub-Regional Cooperation on Energy" on November 27 in Kathmandu. Altogether 36 highest level of water resource, energy, ecology and social science experts representing the government, political parties and Ministry of Industry and Water Resources, International Organizations and NGOs participated. Five scientific papers were presented on Hydro-Energy for National Development, Electric Power Trading in the SAARC Region, Role of Nepalese Water Resources for Meeting Energy Needs in South Asia, Economic Flows from Highland to Lowland and Energy as a Security Issue. The debate that followed after the paper presentation examined several policy options at national, sub-regional and regional levels, articulated the need to go beyond "consumer" approach in order to take into account the needs of future generation to make the development sustainable. Experts also noted that there should be a broad framework to define our future agreements on water resources with neighbors. This requires, they viewed, "linkage" (backward and forward) as well as "continuous process" approaches so that multiple use of water resources makes the game of sharing it in the regional context a win-win situation. Cooperation in water resources should capture four principles: harmonization of regional states' policies, sense of commonness among them, focus on human security and comparative advantage. Regional dialogues, negotiations among the stakeholders, creation of regional institutions to support cooperation framework and sharing of experiences should be continuous affairs to make cooperation meaningful and sustainable.

Trade Union Cooperation <Go to Contents>

  1. Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC) organized its first two-day "Leadership Development Training Program" on August 26-27 in Kaski-Pokhara. Congress MP Sukra Raj Sharma was the chief guest. 32 workers from Hotel Workers Union took part in the program. There were three resource persons. The training contents involved: FES contribution to international trade union movement, current challenges to trade unions, information for trade union activities, trade union education (registration process of Union, group work, campaign organizing, operation process, funds and functions, leadership, communication and solidarity building process), Labour Act, Trade Union Act, Collective Bargaining, etc and strategic plan for the future. One key problem raised by the workers was poor enforcement and application of ratified convention that created big problems for the Nepalese workers. In the context of new industrial challenges occurring at global and national levels, workers found the program highly effective and relevant. NTUC organized its second two-day "Leadership Development Training Program," on October 6-7 in Kathmandu. 35 workers related to health field participated the training. There were 6 resource persons. Congress Member of Parliament Krishna Prasad Sitaula was the chief guest. The contents of the course involved introduction of FES and NTUC, international trade union movement, emerging global issues and challenges for trade unions, information for trade union activities, trade union registration process, Labor Act, Trade Union Act, Collective Bargaining, Strategic Plan of Action for the Future with the management-proposed by hotel owners recently, trade union education in Nepal and the importance of campaigning, operational modalities of trade unions, especially fund and organizational processes, leadership, public speaking and communication, etc . The feedback from the participants seemed very encouraging. They found the program good, relevant and appropriate and believed that it would be followed by refresher leadership training in the future.
  2. Democratic Confederation of Nepalese Trade Unions (DECONT) organized a series of two-day workshop on "Leadership Training Program." The first workshop took place on May 2-3 at Hetaunda, Makwanpur District, the second on May 24-25 at Dubahi, Sunsari District and third on July 1-2 in Kathmandu. Altogether 90, thirty in each workshop, union representatives from various districts attended the program. Each workshop was conducted by four resource persons. They discussed about the role of FES in promoting trade union activities, problems of unorganized sectors especially those having the occupation of barbers, problems in the expansion of membership, leadership communication and motivation, roles and skill, financial management of trade unions, trade union and cooperatives and Nepal Barber's Association and its future programs, etc. Participatory method was applied in the training and participants found the program very useful and effective both in terms of learning and establishing solidarity networks. The content of latter two workshops involved the problems of unorganized sectors especially those having the occupation of informal sectors, problems in the expansion of membership, leadership development, communication and motivation, role occupation, skill enhancement, financial management of trade unions, cooperation between informal and formal sector trade unions, establishment of workers' cooperatives and political problems faced by trade unions and their future programs, etc. These workshops also reviewed the problems associated with trade union movement in Nepal especially the trampling of labor laws by the government, need for solidarity movement, the costs of too much partisan type of mainstream trade unions and negative effects of economic policies on poverty, unemployment and social disintegration, etc.
  3. General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) organized a three-day training program on February 24-26 on "National Planning Workshop" in Kathmandu. The workshop helped to formulate plan for the year 2001 for GEFONT activities, make organizational communication between national/zonal and enterprise level unions effective, lobby for the enforcement of trade union acts at those enterprise levels where laws are not implemented and discuss about the trade union skills to organize membership at both formal and informal sectors. The training program also provided an opportunity for all the zonal and national level treasurers, presidents and secretaries to discuss on how office management and finance are handled properly, effectively and honestly. Altogether 50 participants from 11 zone participated in the training. The method of training was highly participatory. The second GEFONT training course on "Core Leadership Training Program for Regional Level Leaders" took place at Itahari on September 21-22 while the third one was held at Hetaunda on September 20-21 where 70 executive members of the zonal committees from Jhapa, Biratnagar, Janakpur, Birgunj and Makwanpur participated.
  4. Issues for both the workshops were: education campaign, organizational expansion and mobilization, development of unified trade union movement, involvement in the issues of social concern, planned movement at basic level, social security campaign, campaign for effective implementation of labor laws, program for human resource development, workers' cooperatives for collective welfare, program for financial independence, campaign for organizing women workers, action research and policy intervention, joining hands with political parties for social transformation, foreign employment and programs for migrant workers, development of international relations and publications relating social development focusing on target groups. Altogether 9 resource persons were involved in conducting the training course for mid-career trade union leaders who are involved in field level activities, coordination, conflict resolution, monitoring and evaluation.
  5. Study Report on "Maoist Problems in Nepal: Its Nature, Causes and Solutions" submitted by Dr. Prakash S. Mahat on June 11.
  6. Material Help to Nepal South Asia Center (NESAC) "Purchase of Library Books" June 14, 2001.
  7. Material Help to DWYC "Material Support for Dalit Training in Sirha" June 20, 2001.
  8. Material Help to Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC) "Purchase of a Computer and Printer" June.
  9. Reprint of NEFAS Publication on "Political Economy of Small States" October, 2001.
  10. Reprint of NEFAS Publication on " Civil Society and Democratization in Nepal" October 2001.
  11. Publication of GEFONT Handbook for Trade Union Organizers, December 2001.
  12. Publication of GDS study on Good Governance and Decentralization in Nepal,2001.

Other Activities <Go to Contents>

  1. Provided inputs to Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) publication on the second edition of "Contemporary Nepali Society"
  2. Organized a series of meeting with NDI and NEFAS to prepare a book and teaching manual on "Civics Course. " Both the book and manual are printed and distributed among schoolteachers and are included in the government curriculum.
  3. Center for the Consolidation of Democracy published a book on "Democracy in Nepal and a Question of Socialist Transformation," July 22.
  4. Organization of FES and UNI APRO Sub-Regional Educators Course on 17-23 September 2001, Kathmandu, Orchid Hotel
  5. Provided inputs for country cooperation frameworks for DANIDA, UNDP, DFID and The Asia Foundation.
  6. Provided inputs for the formulation of course on Rural Development to Tribhuvan University and on Social Sciences to Higher Education Board of HMGN.
  7. Inputs for His Majesty's Government (Conduct of Governance) Bill, 2001.
  8. Organization of FES-ITGLWF-TWARO South Asia Workshop on "Laws and Practices of Social Safety Nets," December 13-15, Kathmandu.

Media Activities <Go to Contents>

A brief summary of the various media activities/programmes that took place with FES support is as follows:

1. Partial financial support was extended to 12 publishers/managers and editors of Nepalese media who attended the International Press Institute's World Congress from January 29 to 29 in the Indian capital of New Delhi. The support was more or less equivalent to an airfare to and from New Delhi. It was an extremely rare opportunity for the Nepalese media-related people to take part in the IPI meet which attracted media managers, publishers and editors from all over the world. The cost-sharing experiment was highly successful since there were quite a few others who wanted to attend the New Delhi conference with partial support from FES but FES decided to limit the number to 12. The goals and objectives of IPI impressed the Nepalese participants. In fact, the Nepalese members have submitted a formal request to IPI headquarters to accord recognition to the Nepal Chapter of IPI, which was formed by the participants of the New Delhi IPI conference.

The Nepal Chapter of IPI also organised a FES-supported seminar on "Media Freedom" (September 30). There were about 40 participants, including some senior journalists. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba made an inaugural address to the gathering, which emphasised the need to exercise media freedom with a sense of social responsibility.

Support was also provided to an IT expert to attend INET 2001 Conference on IT in Hong Kong and Stockholm. The participant at the Stockholm subsequently proved resourcesful in coordinating the FES-organised ICT Conference in Kathmandu in November 2001.

FES also extended assistance to Nepalese IT expert and journalists to attend WTO conference (Qatar) in November and another conference on news reporting in times of crisis ( Zeneva) in December.

2. Press Chautari organised day-long interaction programmes on "Pre-requisites of an Informed Society" in Pokhara ( March 18) and Kathmandu (April 27). There were more than 45 participants in each programme. The conference in Kathmandu attracted participants from various districts. Discussions were held on various aspects of the overall Nepalese media, including the strengths and shortcomings of the media operating in Nepal.

Press Chautari also organised a day-long seminar on "Information Flow and Professionalism" in Kathmandu (December 28). About 40 participants attended the programme and discussed ways and means of promoting timely flow of information to the public in a professional manner so that media credibility could be high. Leader of the main Opposition party in parliament, Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal made the inaugural address.

3. Federation of Nepalese Journalists, the largest and most influential media organisation in Nepal, organised four seminars of one day each on "Right to Information and Good Governance", one of them in Kathmandu (June 20) and the rest in other parts of the country-Ilam (March 20), Baglung (April 18) and Dang (May 8). There were 35-40 participants in the seminars, with the main focus on the significance of access to information for good governance. The resource persons and participants included not only journalists but also political scientists and political figures. They also strongly called for a Right to Information Act. The Minister of State for Information and Communication, Mr. Pushkar Nath Ojha, made the inaugural address in the Kathmandu seminar. The general consensus among the participants was that access to information was essential for good governance, and the media can serve as an important component in promoting good governance and making the government and public institutions in particular transparent and accountable to the public. FNJ's Dang district unit was associated with FES-supported half-day interaction programme (November) on "Channels of Communication", with the focus being on community communication.

4. Nepal Press Union organised a seminar on "Working Journalists' Act: A Review" in Biratnagar (May 24), the country's second largest industrial town. The Working Journalists' Act is about five years old and yet it has hardly been implemented properly in almost all media organisations. The review raised the issue in Biratnagar. The Nepal Press Union also organised a conference on the same topic in Kathmandu (November 12), during which the issue drew a lot of attention for various quarters. Both the activities drew about 40 participants each.

5. Nepal Association of Media Educators organised two workshops on "Depth and Interpretive Reporting" in Janakpur (February 9-10) and Chitwan (March 23-24). The proved very successful as they imparted skills on reporting beyond the general news reporting. It was the first time that such a topic was incorporated in a workshop and the demand for similar workshop has come from other parts of the country. About 35 journalists attended each workshop.

NAME also organised two conferences, one on "Public Service Functioning of Radio" in Pokhara (November 5) and the other on "TV and Its Impact on Nepali Society" in Kathmandu (August 10). Both the programmes attracted about 40 participants each. All the four FM radio stations in Pokahara were represented in the Pokhara seminar and the Kathmandu meeting also recorded not only representatives from Nepal Television and Spacetime Television Network but also from other sections of the media, including media academics. The thrust of the discussion was on "the public service role" of the broadcast media.

6. Nepal Institute of Mass Communication organised one-day workshop on "News Editing" in Pokhara ( April 24). Various aspects of editing, including use of words, word economy, headline writing, news selection, page design, were among the topics discussed and illustrated. About 30 senior journalists participated.

7. Editor's Guild of Nepal organised a day-long seminar on "Prospects and Problems of Weekly Papers" in Kathmandu (May 24). There are more than 100 weekly papers that come out regularly from various parts of the country. Weekly papers, more than any other category of news publication, played a very important role in championing the cause of multiparty democracy during the now-defunct partyless Panchayat days. The weeklies, however, face many constraints and hence the various issues discussed at the seminar, which attracted very senior journalists, mostly working in national weeklies.

8. Department of Journalism and Mass Communication (R.R. Campus, Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu) was the beneficiary of FES material support in the form of books on journalism and mass communication. R.R. Campus is Nepal's only institute that offers Bachelor level course in journalism and mass communication.

DJMC was supported to write a book on professional journalism. The manuscript has been completed and submitted to FES. It also organised seminars of one day each in Kathmandu (August 15) and Dharan (December 28) on "Media Education". Till the year 2001, only one university campus offered a Bachelor's level course on journalism and mass communication. Although the academic course of journalism and mass communication at B.A. level was introduced in 1979, no campus offered any course at the Master's level on journalism and mass communication. In the course of the DJMC seminars, most speakers pressed for introducing M.A. level courses on journalism and mass communication but with adequate trained manpower, library and laboratory facilities. Leading media educators were among the 40 participants in the seminars and the suggestions from these programmes did have a bearing on the academics concerned in that three campuses in Kathmandu are introducing M.A. level courses on journalism and mass communication from the first quarter of 2002. While two of these campuses are in the private sector, one is a public campus-Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus--affiliated to the kingdom's premier university, Tribhuvan University.

9. Women and Development Communication Centre organised two workshops of one day each on "Community Radio: Opportunities and Challenges" in Kathmandu (December 19) and Hetauda (July 5). About 40 participants took part in both the workshops, underlining the need for utilising all available opportunities for promoting community radio in a country like Nepal where literacy is low and radio constitutes the most effective form of mass communication. Training for radio people is essential, they said, adding that the government should offer incentives to community radio in terms of reduced annual fee and permission to broadcast news bulletins as well. The workshop in Kathmandu drew representatives from all the eight FM stations in Kathmandu Valley in addition to Radio Nepal.

10. Sancharika Samuha Nepal organised a conference on "Role of Media in Empowerment of Women" in Chitwan ( July 24). More than 35 participants took part in the programme, which noted that the media focus on the need for promoting empowerment of women had increased in the recent years but they need to make greater efforts to highlight relevant issues pertaining to women's empowerment.

11. People's Campus, which offers journalism course at the Certificate (10+2 level), received material help by way of books on journalism and mass communication. The various titles of books have considerably improved the library stock of books on journalism and mass communication. The campus has been conducting journalism course since 15 years.

12. Media Point received FES material help in the form of an overhead projector. The organisation, a training institute offering basic journalism course, whose products work in various media houses, is known to be utilising the overhead projector in its training classes. It trains 25-30 persons during its ten-month course.

13. National Union of Journalists was extended a modest support to meet the expenses of its resource persons only for a seminar organised on "Media in Times of Crisis" in Kathmandu (December 10). Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and four other senior leaders of four major political parties were among those who addressed the opening session of the programme.

14. The Telegraph Weekly organised a half-day seminar on "Role of Media in Enhancing Good Governance" in Kathmandu (December 20). About 50 participants, including some senior journalists and academics, took part in the programme, which was described as timely and relevant at a time when the cross-section of the Nepalese society has been pressing for good governance.

15. Press Council Nepal organised a half-day seminar on "Challenges of Professionalism in Present Context" in Kathmandu (December 27), with special focus on media functioning during the existing state of emergency in Nepal whereby the media have been issued certain directives by the government to ensure that they did not carry news or comments that "boosted" the morale of the Maoist rebels and "lowered" the morale of the army which has been deployed to quell the rebels.

16. The National Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) organised a day-long seminar on "Documentary and Development Film Making in Nepal" (November22). Leading film makers were among the participants who emphasised the need for more quality films and screening outlets in order to demonstrate that development films can serve as effective catalyst for change in society.

17. FES published a book containing various papers submitted by experts from different parts of the world in connection with the ICT conference that FES organised in Kathmandu (November 29-30, 2001.)


Note: FES has also been associated with other media-related activities such as counselling and providing media-related publications.

 
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