Workshop report on Marginalised Women Participation
in CA Election
Election Awareness & Political Education
Organised by Legal Aid and Consultancy
22-23 May 2007,
Jhapa & 25-26 May 2007, Morang
Constitution assembly is the process of formulating
new constitution including equal participation of all sections
of people. The participatory process in CA is very much necessary.
It should be noted here that there should be an environment
of inclusive participatory process. For that the electoral process
should be such that all caste, indigenous/ethnic nationalities,
Dalit, Madhesis, minorities can have their reasonable representation.
It would be better to discuss how constitution would be made
so that all Nepali enjoys similar kinds of feeling of ownness
about the state. So inclusion of all socio-cultural groups according
to their population strength is necessary in this work.
The Constitution inspired by the objective
of securing social, political and economic justice guarantees
basic human rights to every citizen of Nepal. The overall development
of the country may be hard to realize without the inclusion
of half the population. People are talking about woman's right,
representation, participation, and inclusion. For these things
to happen into practice women should be included in every sphere
of the state and society. Only lip service is not sufficient
for women's right. It should turn into the implementation. Though
there are many conferences, seminars going on inclusion of women
but one can hardly see women in press conferences, daises of
any seminars, conferences, and mass gatherings. People are talking
about the future of the state and the new Nepal. If we need
a new Nepal then we need to learn new practices, which was not
in Nepal until now. It has been now proved that until and unless
there is inclusion of the half population the dream of 'new
and prosperous Nepal' cannot be true. Until and unless the halves
of the population participate in the process of restructuring
of the state, no development can happen in Nepal. More over,
until the marginalized women communities are aware of political
situation of the nation, they cannot realize importance of their
participation in the forthcoming election on CA.
- To raise awareness on constitute assembly
- To prepare targeted community to take part
meaningfully in constituent assembly
- To prepare how to use their voting rights
and to be candidate of CA
- To make aware about their importance and
make them participate in politics.
With financial support of FES, Legal Aid and
Consultancy Centre (LACC) conducted workshop from 22nd to 26th
April 2007. The workshop mainly focused on two themes: Marginalised
Women Participation in CA Election and Election Awareness &
Political Education in Nepal respectively. The two days workshop
was conducted for two different groups of marginalized women
community in the districts of Jhapa and Morang on 22nd - 23rd
and 25th - 26th April 2007 respectively.
The main objective of the workshop was to
provide basic information to the marginalized women communities
such as Satar, Rajbansi, Dhimal, Maeche, Mushar, Batad, Jhagad
and Tharus on the forthcoming constituent assembly and electoral
process. The advocacy mainly focused on importance of every
individual's meaningful participation for one's own right in
the forth coming constituent assembly. The stimulation behind
organizing constituent assembly is to create such constitution
which is "made by people for people". The targeted
women communities were made aware on their voting right as it
falls under women's fundamental right. They should thus utilize
their voting right without pressurized by other external concern,
such as husband, political parties or any other sources.
Further, it conveyed the message that we should
select /vote the right candidate as our leader / representative,
so that our voice and needs are reflected in the - to be made
new constitution. If women possess leadership quality and are
quite aware of political issues, then they should come forward
and be a candidate of election, representing their own community.
It was explained that the representatives that are selected
by voting process, will form a team and will be responsible
for constructing a new constitution. The workshop also highlighted
on the provisions of rights ensured by Nepal Interim constitution
2063, electoral process and it's procedural.
All the four events of the workshop were conducted
by Prof. Dr. Shanta Thapalia (resource person) accompanied by
Adv. Indira Shreesh (facilitator cum raporter). Mr. Chetnath
Achrya and Mr. Nem Chaudary were local liaison from Jhapa and
Morang district respectively. Similarly, Mr. Ratan Kumar Meche
( Meche) , Mr. Binaya Hasda
(Satar), Adv. Sunita Sundar Chaudary were interpreter. In total,
there were 332 participants from these two districts.
Report of Each District:
The workshop in Jalthal VDC, Jhapa district
was organized on 22nd and 23rd of April 2007 for the two different
groups. There were 162 participants from Satar, Rajbansi, Dhimal
and Maeche community in total. In comparison to the first group
of first day, there were more participants on the second day.
The programme was initially designed for women members of the
targeted communities only. However, the high demands from the
male members of the community to participate in the training
compel the organizer to change in the pre plan. Thus, seats
were organized on the floor and even outside the hall.
The workshop started in 10am and ended in
5 pm. The master of ceremony was done by Adv. Laxmi Khanal,
district coordinator of LACC branch office. Adv. Indira Shreesh
highlighted on the objective of the workshop and presented a
small introduction of LACC. The programme started with informal
discussion between participants and resource person on constitution
assembly. The intention behind this discussion was to find out
whether the participants were familiar to the topic or not.
The issues of informal discussion were based
on following questions:
- What is Constitution?
- What is Constituent Assembly?
- What is Interim Constitution?
- What is Electoral Process?
- What is Voting Right?
Through the informal discussion, it was found
that most of the women participants were unaware of the word
'Constitution' and they said that they have heard the word for
the first time in this workshop. Some few women had heard the
word 'Constitution' but they didn't know what it meant. Similarly,
the male participants also expressed their unfamiliarity on
the topic, though some of them have heard the word 'constitution'.
Prof. Dr. Shanta Thapalia described the meaning of constitution,
constitution assembly, Interim constitution and electoral process.
Since most of the participants were illiterate, it was really
difficult to make them familiar. For example: the meaning of
Constitution was described as -"As grand father is the
head of a family, in the same way Constitution is the main Law
of the nation." To make the local women community clear
about the concept, Mr Ratan Kumar Meche (in Meche Language)
and Mr. Binaya Hasda (in satar language) translated Prof. Dr.
Shanta Thapalia in their communal languages. Adv. Indira Shreesh
informed the participants on Interim Constitution of Nepal and
provisions ensured by this constitution for the rights of women
and indigenous people. The lunch time environment was refreshed
by communal song of women participants from Satar and Meche
community. After lunch break of one hour, the second session
started at 2:30 pm. Prof. Dr. Shanta Thapalia continued the
programme and explained in detail about the rights of women
ensured by Interim Constitution especially focusing on women's
voting right. It was also observed that women participants were
unfamiliar with electoral process and voting right. The programme
ended with a brief summing up of meaning of constitution, constituent
assembly, interim constitution, electoral process, women's voting
right and importance of women's participation in the forth coming
The workshop entitled Marginalized Women Participation
in CA Election and Election Awareness & Political Education
in Nepal in Morang district was organized on 25th and 26th of
April 2007 in Tataria and Banigama VDC respectively. The workshop
started on 11am and ended on 5pm. There were 170 participants
in the workshop from Mushar, Batad, Jhagad and Tharus community
in total. The master of ceremony was done by Adv. Sunita Sundar
Chaudary. She further presented introduction of LACC.
Adv. Indira Shreesh started the session on
10am by highlighting the objective of workshop. The participants
were asked informally about the constitution, constitution assembly,
interim constitution and electoral process. To make the workshop
effective, Adv. Sunita Sundar Chudhary played the role of interpreter
and translated all proceedings in the local Tharu language.
Most of the women participants were found unfamiliar with the
workshop's topic 'constitution'. They said that it is the first
time that they have heard the term 'constitution'. Prof. Dr.
Shanta Thapalia explained constitution, constitution assembly,
in simple language which was translated by interpreter in the
local language. In the second session, Adv. Indira Shreesh 'explained
the rights of women in interim constitution'. Similarly, the
participants were inquired about 'voting right'. They were found
unfamiliar with the subject matter, which was later explained
by Prof. Dr. Shanta Thapalia. The programme ended with a brief
summing up of meaning of constitution, constituent assembly,
interim constitution, electoral process, women's voting right
and importance of women's participation in the forth coming
LEARNING AND RECOMMENDATION
The meaning of constituent assembly and the
realistic practical knowledge of civic society regarding the
subject seems missing. Only handfuls of public who are politically
aware and living in urban areas are well conscious about 'constituent
assembly' and its significance. As obvious, the ratio of illiterate
and marginalized population is high than literate people in
Nepal. Marginalized tribal communities are far from every opportunity.
Thus, it is the urgent need of the nation to create a favorable
ground to disseminate the meaning of 'constituent assembly'
to these groups; so that each of the citizens takes active and
meaningful participation in the forthcoming 'constituent assembly'.
Mostly, remote areas and marginalized group are seen totally
unaware of the subject matter. Despite the fact that they are
ignorant, their desire to gain knowledge is praiseworthy. If
information is shared, they can act significantly and make the
constituent assembly a real success. It is felt that such information
disseminating activities should be rapidly conducted all over
the nation, especially to women from marginalized communities.