In Nepal, many of the issues that caused violent conflict in the past are still evident today, such as exclusion, marginalisation and corruption. The fragility of the new federal system, compounded by the inexperience of the elected sub-national governments, could threaten the fragile peace.
In 2019–20, we supported marginalised communities and their elected representatives to navigate the new political system through a mentorship and accompaniment approach and through provincial and municipal cross-learning platforms. Led by our partners and members of community collaboration forums, ‘introduction to federalism’ sessions were held in 16 municipalities, reaching over 1,100 people. Alongside a federalism resource pack that was published in local languages and rolled out across three provinces, we also collaborated with a federalism working group to publish research to inform international donors and NGOs on how federalism is unfolding and whether or not it has helped to address the discrimination, marginalisation and political exclusion of women, Dalits, and other ethnic, religious and gender minorities. These initiatives have resulted in a considerable improvement in people’s understanding of the new federal system, which will contribute to their willingness and ability to engage with their respective municipal governments.
Our strong partnership with the Federation of Sexual and Gender Minorities Nepal has given us an opportunity to assess gender within our work and include more voices from sexual and gender minorities within our projects. Our network of partners is helping with humanitarian efforts in response to COVID-19, and we are supporting our partners’ work to advocate with local, provincial and national authorities for more conflict- and gender-sensitive responses to the pandemic. As COVID-19 continues to affect communities, our long-standing initiative on early warnings and early responses has helped us to analyse the unfolding context and its impact on people’s security, particularly on marginalised groups, and to share recommendations with donors to support inclusive responses.