LIFE Nepal / Strategies
The uniqueness of LIFE Nepal is that we engage our local communities. We do this through support groups throughout the project management cycle including moments such as during need assessments, issue prioritization, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. We believe that the interventions can only succeed when the key stakeholders are engaged in the program from the very beginning. The involvement of the community support groups like the SMC (School Management Committee), the PTA (Parent Teacher Association), child clubs at different levels and, more importantly, local leaders means that the project has become community owned. The involvement of the local community also increases their vigilance in child protection.
To reach the most marginalized communities such as the Dalit, Janajati, Madhesi, Muslim, and children (including children with disabilities and girls) there is no other choice other than the promotion of gender equity and social inclusion-GESI. Due to social class, the current political structures and culture, these groups are always neglected. Our first target is therefore to ensure their participation in each aspect of the program, including staff selection, planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. In order to guarantee that their voices are heard within all programs organized by LIFE Nepal, we adhere to a strict policy of participation and representation. This policy ensures that 50% of participation and representation comes from women and 35% from marginalized communities, including the Dalit (18%), Janajati (10%), Muslim (4%) and people with disabilities (3%). This guarantees gender and social inclusion and is based on the population and representation in the communities. It also ensures that the program efficiently reaches those most in need of it.
Networking and partnerships are the key approaches for the success of a program. We believe that partnerships with different like-minded actors who have diverse skills and competencies perfectly complements our programs. More importantly, program interventions require a vast range of skills and competencies. Therefore, we have increased our cooperation with other significant players, mainly the district line agencies such as the education, health, child protection, administration, women and child development offices, district development committees, NGOs, police and law enforcement officers, the probation and social welfare officers, the parent and community members, and a wide range of institutional partners at the local and district level.
It has been found that there is very limited participation of marginalized groups such as women, Dalit, Janajati, Madheshi and Muslim in both the municipal and district level planning and decision-making processes. Additionally, the participation of children and people with disabilities is neglected. Participating may rarely be carried out, but this is for the formalities only. Once they have participated, their voices are not heard, and plans are not prioritized and reflected in Rural Municipality and DCC (District Coordination Committee) level program planning and budgeting. 35% of the municipality budget related to local bodies’ resource management and mobilization meant for them is not planned or utilized properly. Therefore, we focus on this area and ensure their active and meaningful participation in the planning and decision-making processes so that their voices and choices are reflected in RM and DCC level planning. We also ensure that the targeted groups budget is properly mobilized and utilized.
This approach is applied in order to empower people and allow them to know and claim their rights, thus increasing the ability and accountability of individuals and institutions who are responsible for respecting, protecting and fulfilling rights. This approach helps us analyze inequalities which lie at the heart of development problems and redress discriminatory practices and unjust distributions of power that impede development, often resulting in groups of people being left behind. Furthermore, it will help to empower the most vulnerable people to participate in decision-making processes. Similarly, the capacity of duty-bearers who have the obligation to respect, protect, promote, and fulfil human rights will be strengthened. Rights-holders can be both individuals or social groups.
We have been practicing safeguarding policies for the protection and safeguarding of project beneficiaries, staff and stakeholders since the beginning. In addition to that, an effective complaint-response mechanism that enables beneficiaries and stakeholders to raise their voices, and have their voice heard at all levels has been instituted. Through these tools, we can inform all the components of the project interventions and provide related information to the beneficiaries. Similarly, we apply this approach in the targeted communities so that projects cause no further complications or harm to the beneficiaries who would consequently have to pay for it from the conflict sensitivity and confidentiality perspective.
One of the key approaches for mass awareness and sensitization applied by us is the use of a multimedia approach where we mobilize both print and online media. In doing so, we can coordinate using print and online media, orient stakeholders on the programs, collaborate for the publication and dissemination of news, publish interactions and reports related with social issues and people’s rights. This helps us inform, raise awareness for, and sensitize people at a larger scale and in a more effective manner.