Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on CSOs Issues

Major civil society representatives of the Bhaktpur District said that there are number of deficit in the preliminary draft of the Social Organization Bill, 2075 which was recently drafted by Government of Nepal. The views were put forth in an event organized by the GoGo Foundation on 15 February 2019 at Bhaktapur under the aegis of FHI 360; aiming to sensitize and collect the current issue and agenda of CSO for creating pressure and voice to concern policy maker for making CSO friendly laws .

As part of the project activities, the event was solely organized to discuss the existing challenges and issues confronted by civil society organizations (CSOs) in the process of their registration, renewal and project approval process. The event also highly led emphasis on the provisions of the draft social organization Bill, 2075 eliciting the responses of the participants.

Dialogue program Chaired by Som Sharma Bajgain, the President, NFN Bhaktapur Chapter, chief guest was Navaraj Gelal, Chief of District Coordination Committee, Bhaktapur and guest speakers were Pushkar Budhathoki, President, Federation of Nepalese Journalist, Bhaktapur Chapter, Narayan Shrestha, Chief Administration Officer ,National Youth Council, Bhaktapur and Devendra Shrestha, President, Nepal Bar Association, Bhaktapur.

In the beginning, Program Manager, Poshta KC welcomed the participants and highlighted the objectives. He said that CSOs have been playing a key role in nation building process. Despite such contribution, the CSOs have always been accused of dollar harvesting and other allegations.

To set the tone for the dialogue, the ED made a brief presentation on the CSO Sustainability Index, 2017 along with the existing provisions in the draft of the Social Organization Bill, 2075. In the presentation, he enumerated the challenges confronted by CSOs across the country while registering and renewing them. He also highlighted the provisions of the draft Social Organization Bill, 2075 urging the social activist representing different organization to recommend measures to make the bill CSOs centric.

Out of 12the participants openly and strongly put forth their views and concerns pointing the existing provisions in the Social Organization Bill, 2075. Some welcomed the provision saying that the bill looks in better shape but there are still some derogatory words which need to be corrected for making it CSOs friendly.

For instance, the renewal process of CSOs in the present bill has been proposed to 3-5 years. Many participants said that this indeed is a welcome move and we acknowledge it. Likewise, the number of member of the board has also been proposed 7 which is also praiseworthy initiative. However, there are still some weaknesses in the Bill which need to be taken to the public for wider participation and making it flawless from all aspects.

At the end of program, Narayan Shrestha, Chief Administration Officer, National Youth Council, enumerated the role played by youth in the nation building process. The Youth led CSOs can generate immense effect so we need to mainstream them. He added that CSOs and government stakeholder should collaborate each other for the overall development. Likewise Devendra Shrestha from BAR and Puskar Budhathoki from FNJ Bhaktapur ,said that some local government official are not fully responsible and accountable to make effectiveness of public service delivery and created unfavorable environment for CSO registration and renewal time.

District Coordination Committee Chief, Navaraj Gelal, said that some provisions in the present social organization bill are not CSOs centric. CSO has been playing a role of facilitator but they should be accountable and transparent to ensure good governance. It has been reported that nepotism and favoritism is deep rooted in CSOs ignoring meritocracy. We will extend our support for CSO problem embracing Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.

Vote of thanks was delivered by the chair of the event who said that the event not only highlighted the provisions of the Social Organization Bill, 2075 but also pointed out the recommendation that will be documented and shared with the concerned stakeholder for their incorporation in the final bill.