Virtual Meeting on Local Level Planning Process and Participation of Citizens held
Dang Ghorahi, June 4, 2021: Rural Women Development Center (RWDC) organized a virtual meeting on the local level planning process and participation of citizens and the role of civic organizations during the planning process in Ghorahi Sub-Metropolis on June 3, 2021.
The virtual program was organized under the CS: MAP Project which is implemented in Dang district by RWDC and supported by Fhi 360 and funded by USAID.
More than 40 participants representing the senior staff of RWDC, its chairperson, project staff, various civic organizations, community based organizations, stakeholders, district coordination committee, local assemblies, radio listeners, media persons, tole development committees, mothers groups and representatives of local bodies had attended this virtual meeting which had lasted from 2pm to 5 pm.
Objective of Virtual Program:
- The main objective of the virtual program was to allow the local beneficiary community to know about the ongoing process of the local planning process which usually takes place from the month of Asar to Srawan in the new fiscal year in all local bodies.
- The second objective was to reach an understanding that how civic organizations and local citizens can partake in the local planning process without any hindrances.
- The third but not the least objective of the program was to pave the way for and ensuring inclusive participation of marginalized communities such as indigenous peoples, women, children, Dalits, Physically impaired people, Madhesis, and other backward communities during the planning process.
The Virtual was moderated by RWDC Dang Coordinator for CS:MA Project Mr. Nabin Chaudhary.
Although most of the participants from various ward level representatives had started entering into the google meeting room by 1:35 pm, while the main program started at around 2 pm in the afternoon when Pranab Bhattarai on behalf of Fhi 360 presented his PowerPoint slides focused on the various steps of the local planning process.
Mr. Bhattarai specially discussed how the local citizens should participate during the ongoing process of local development planning. He also stressed the significant role of civic organizations in empowering the local marginalized communities to get access to the planning process.
Bhola Bhattarai of Fhi360 also presented his papers on the inclusion of marginalized communities in the local planning process and the need for local societies and civic groups to ensure participation of these marginalized groups in meeting their development goals through the planning phase and development process.
Similarly, Santosh Sigdel of Fhi360 presented his PowerPoint slides regarding the human perspectives that should also be taken into consideration while participating in the local planning process.
One of the most remarkable parts of this virtual program was the free and fair participation of physically impaired persons who were facilitated by one of the participants during the entire virtual program.
Soon after the end of presentations on the steps of the local planning process from Fhi360, the floor was left open and participants were allowed to express their personal opinions and minds in the program.
Various participants raised questions regarding fairness and justified system of the local planning process which sometimes is wrapped up without the participation of marginalized people.
The participants also commented that excessive politicization of the local development process and lack of environment for marginalized communities to participate during the local planning process are worth mentioning here.
As one of the participants, Bimala Yogi said that the local child clubs and mothers groups, and local communities should be given priority to consult with while following the steps of the local development planning process.
Likewise, Hit Thapa from ward 13 of Ghorahi Sub-Metropolis expressed that most of the local planning process is limited to offices of the ward, municipality, and local representatives who are bent on avoiding the participation of genuine citizens and marginalized groups.
It all involves political corruption which has not dwindled so far. Referring to the human rights approach to the local planning process, he insisted that the marginalized groups should have access to UN’s human rights instruments such as ILO convention 169, UNDRIP, First and Prior Consent of Indigenous Peoples while planning or selecting the plans during the local planning process in future.
All budgets are distributed based on the political consensus reached among the political parties by eschewing the citizen’s participation. He also suggested that some measuring tools should be made ready to monitor the ongoing lapses in the local development planning process in the future.
At the end of the virtual session, the RWDC chairperson Aasmani Chaudhary congratulated all those thee resource persons of Fhi360 who had prepared their insightful papers and presented them before the stakeholders and beneficiary groups, and enlightened the participants on the various steps of the local development planning process.
She also said more accountability, social responsibility; good governance is expected to be showcased in the ongoing and upcoming local development planning process. After this, the virtual session was dispersed.