NPWG as an intensive networking
Introduction of NPWG: National Protection Working Group (NPWG) is a concept for intensive and nationwide campaign in Nepal. This campaign is designed for issue-based intervention in the issues of public interest. It has two tier implications. At one hand, it is a flexible network of stakeholders that include NGOs and social workers at the community level. At the other hand, its networking is intensive in nature and it aims to intervene after identifying the issues.
NPWG is a flexible structure having an intensive institutional framework based on minimum standard. It does not have formal post and status for its Network Members but it has a permanent Secretariat for smooth functioning of its activities. This is treated as a common network for the representatives from various walks of life. It functions as a network of the individuals and the institutions working with non-political interest. Representatives of the communities, organizations, human rights defenders, social development, social service, government line agencies, media persons, lawyers, professionals have been accommodated in this network. No formal qualification is required to involve in the network. But preference is given to the intellectuals, experts, social and development activists and the representatives of the national and international NGOs working in Nepal. NGOs working at the international level are welcome to involve in this network as experts and advisors.
NPWG accommodates representatives from the local level also. FOHRID in Morang and RSDC in Banke and Rupandehi districts started forming Community Protection Network (CPN) at community level form October 2004. District level networks have also been formed in those districts. In this way, the network has received intensive involvement of stakeholders at the grassroots, district as well as national level.
This is a networking formed under the banner of NPWG. Though it looks like a small organization in the first glance, it is not a structure of small scale. This is a campaign oriented group of organizations and individuals having common interest. It aims to make issue-based intervention in the national issues from local to national level. There are three levels of this campaign which can be illustrated in the following chart:
Community Protection Networking (CPN)
District Level Protection Working Group (DLPWG)
National Protection Working Group (NPWG)
Community Protection Networking (CPN): First level is the networking of CPN at the community level. It spreads the whole campaign at the grassroots level. In this sense, this structure holds the central position of the campaign. The CPN leads the campaign from grassroots level towards district and national level. It conducts advocacy and expands customized knowledge in the local community for immediate civic action.
District Level Protection Working Group (DLPWG): Second level is the DLPWG working at the district level. DLPWG advocates at the district level for implementation of policy in favour of vulnerable groups and marginalized communities. In fact, it works as a bridge between the CPN and NPWG.
National Protection Working Group (NPWG): Though this third level is a national level networking, it is firmly rooted to the CPN and the DLPWG. It is a networking where there are members representing NGOs and civil society from local to national level. This networking coordinates and leads the campaign creating pressure in the national level issues and serious problems. NPWG advocates for the improved situation of the pro-poor governance, protection and promotion of human rights, policy dialogue, development and social justice to the children, women and vulnerable groups at the community level. It prepares and implements work plan for the promotion of social and political participation and empowerment of the children, women and indigent groups. This enables the CPN members to contribute towards achievement of pro-poor governance. It enables the common people to achieve pro-poor governance through work plan for political participation. At the same time, it strengthens democratic norms and prepares citizens to fight against corrupt and anti democratic forces. NPWG stresses that the Nepalese people can determine their ruling system through democratic ways. This promotes pro-poor governance towards a system based on popular will.
- Commencement of the Campaign and its objectives:
FOHRID commenced a national campaign to form NPWG in October 2004. This campaign was started as part of initiative for the Rights to Sustainable Livelihood and the Enabling of Social and Political Participation of the vulnerable groups and marginalized communities, which was simultaneously implemented by different organizations in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Major objectives for the commencement of the NPWG are as follows:
- To create pressure to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to work on regional interest and welfare of people in the countries of South Asia; and conduct lobbying and advocacy for effective implementation of the SAARC Social Charter in this region.
- To integrate efforts and campaign for the establishment of the right to sustainable livelihood and social and political participation of the vulnerable groups and marginalized communities in Nepal.
- To create pressure and recommend to the government to prepare effective policy and programme for the upliftment and development of the vulnerable groups and marginalized communities for protection and promotion of their right to sustainable livelihood and the enabling of social and political participation.
- To play effective role for the institutional development of multiparty democracy and ensuring peaceful environment in the country.
- Issues related to NPWG and its relevance:
Popular movement of the 1990 and the restoration of multiparty democracy, as a consequence, gave Nepalese people an opportunity for prosperity and development. The democratic constitution and the commitments of the democratically elected governments were the assets of the new environment. But the parliamentary system could not get enough time to obtain maturity. Armed conflict emerged in 1996 started to gradually weaken democracy and human rights situation of the country. The political instability gave way for the activities of the reactionary forces. The royal proclamation of the 1st February 2005 marked the climax of the fragile democratic system. It ended up in declaring Nepal as a republic in May 2008.
In fact, the Maoist insurgency and the unstable political situation affected sustainable livelihood and social and political participation of the people. The situation of vulnerable groups and marginalized communities was worsening day by day. Financial and humanitarian crisis increased to the worst level in the history of the country. The issue of strengthening campaign for pro-poor governance has again come to the forefront requiring due attention. Under these circumstances, the NPWG was established with links to the following issues:
- The rural community, poor people in the urban areas, conflict affected people, e.g., internally displaced persons (IDPs), vulnerable groups and the marginalized communities have not been able to enjoy their right to sustainable livelihood and social and political participation due to internal armed conflict and obstructed democratic system. NPWG aims to work for the guarantee of the right to sustainable livelihood and social and political participation of the vulnerable groups and marginalized community.
- Access to natural resources, participation in its development and right to share its benefits for the vulnerable groups and marginalized community are its prime concern. It emphasizes the issues of justice, equality, equity, equitable distribution and utilization of resources. It also stresses the elimination of social discrimination and promotes equality of all before law.
- NPWG exerts pressure to the State through its activities to make effective policies and programs for establishment of the right to sustainable livelihood and social and political participation of the vulnerable groups and marginalized communities.
- NPWG links to effective implementation and application of the instruments including 6 Core Conventions, International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and SAARC Social Charter at the domestic level. NPWG creates pressure to the SAARC Secretariat to play its due role effectively in this region and calls upon the Government for effective implementation of the SAARC Social Charter.
- An intensive campaign is felt necessary to revitalize democratic system which was derailed in the past. NPWG pays serious concern and denounces the activities of armed groups and non-democratic forces.
- NPWG links to creating public opinion in favour of peaceful political settlement of any dispute in the country. NPWG has firm belief that dynamic activities need to be selected according to the spirit of humanity, human rights and democracy for the sustainable resolution of any type of conflict.
- The policies dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organization (WTO) and carried out by the government of a developing country like Nepal cannot improve economic, social and cultural rights of the poor. It does not contribute to the realization of the civil and political rights of the people. Policies of these international organizations are creating unjust structure of society. NPWG links to the issue that if the peasants do not own and control the productive resources such as land, financial capital and technology, one cannot imagine human rights for them. NPWG strongly advocates right to food sovereignty for the people.
To make proceedings of the NPWG effective, its activities have been categorized into four groups. The activities listed below are the major components of the campaign:
- Empowerment and support for vulnerability protection;
- Implementation of activities for reducing vulnerability in the country and to work for peaceful political settlement of the ongoing armed conflict;
- Conducting consultation meeting, discussion, workshop, training and conference on the above issue at regional and national level;
- Conducting lobbying, organize policy dialogue and prepare recommendation to the policy and program formation level for the guarantee of the right to sustainable livelihood and social and political participation of the vulnerable groups and marginalized community.
As the banner of NPWG is a campaign and networking with long-term vision, there are two facets of its proceedings. First of these is formation and expansion of networking. This activity facilitates the local people to be organized. It acts as an intensive networking of the local organizations, institutions and individuals that can transfer the acquired information and knowledge to a broader audience at the local level. Second is intervention through the networking. Such proceedings are in the form of both pressure and academic campaign. The local people, on the ground of acquired awareness, information and knowledge, can claim their rights with the State. Hence, this networking aims to inform and create awareness among the stakeholders and to involve them in a result oriented campaign. Besides, awareness, training, discussion and advocacy campaigns are being conducted on special issues for effective intervention through the networking.
Organizations and individuals interested to be involved in this networking need to furnish following information:
- Name of individual / representative:
- Profession (if individual) / current designation (if organization):
- Organization name, if applicable:
- Phone / Fax/ E-mail:
- Mailing address:
- Working area:
Any interested organization / individual complying with the mission and objectives of the networking can involve in this campaign by providing above information in the Registration Form.
One permanent Secretariat has been set up to make the network and its activities effective and to provide guidelines for the networking. The Secretariat is currently stationed at the office of the FOHRID Human Rights and Democratic Forum in Kathmandu.
1.4. Financial management for commencement:
In the beginning, NESAC, RSDC and FOHRID arranged a Facilitator for this campaign under Regional Initiative for Rights to Sustainable Livelihood and the Enabling of Social and Political Participation. NESAC provided a computer for the Secretariat. N(o)VIB had funded the regional project. Enabling State Programme (ESP) provided a small grant for Secretariat support and website development in 2005.
We have the strategy to search for funding with donors to forward and sustain this campaign in the future. We request all the stakeholders to join hands in the campaign of the NPWG. We especially request the national / international donor community to contribute for the continuation of this campaign.