postheadericon Message from Dr. Prabin Manandhar

It’s with pleasure that I write this message for SOLVE on its 20th year of working with local people and development partners in Nepal. SOLVE started as a volunteer group in 1989 working on local issues and now it has emerged as a national actor working on national issues of importance. SOLVE is a trusted partner of CIDA/CCO for its work on rural livelihoods, community empowerment to peace and constitution making processes. And, SOLVE is one of few organizations who has consistently performed during the violent conflict and the current fragile political transition. It’s a healthy and vibrant organization. Based on my assessment, many NGOs can learn from SOLVE, and SOLVE should also become a learning organization as it moves forward in the post conflict Nepal (New Nepal?).

Nepal is emerging from conflict and we need more inclusion and more decentralization.SOLVE has been successful providing basic human needs, production credit and rural infrastructure at the local level, and there are many other NGOs who have successfully played these roles over the years. But NGOs are not parallel to the government. NGOs also have limited capacity and reach. In this context, NGOs must work on demand side governance in communities’ demand for services from the government and local bodies. The communities, particularly women, poor and disadvantaged must be mobilized to participate in local planning and decision making processes. SOLVE has now started working on demand side governance and I trust it can promote this work by improving governance processes, allocation of resources, service delivery outcomes, and reduction of corruption. Integrative strategies are required across local and central governments to create linkages between key policy areas. There is a struggle for social justice and the desiring for recognition and selfesteem among various communities. In this process, identity politics is an issue in development and peace process as it can work on both sides empowering or dividing communities. SOLVE has been successful mobilizing local people and their participation in peace and constitution making processes. What needs to be further strengthened is social capital for local reconciliation. Social capital is an old concept, which has recently emerged from the debates on civil society. If civil society broadly describes social groups, organisations and associations of people, social capital refers to features (of social groups, organisations and associations) such as trust, relationships, norms of reciprocity and networks that shape the quality and quantity of a society’s social interactions. It is the glue that holds people, communities and institutions together. Trust and willingness to co-operate allows people to form groups and associations, which facilitate co-existence and the realization of shared goals and can make co-operative and co-ordinated action possible. There is more politics and less economy in the current Nepal. Economic intervention has not been an integral part restructuring and stabilization program. I appreciate SOLVE’s micro-credit and capacity building works among the poor communities in rural areas. I suggest SOLVE to expand micro finance programs to develop business skills, provide credits and strengthen post production value chains of small farmers. In addition, SOLVE should be selective to manage change in a sustainable manner.

I wish SOLVE all the best in its efforts to human development and democracy building.

Dr. P Manandhar

Dr. Prabin Manandhar
Canadian Cooperation Office - Nepal