In the Field
Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative
Peace & Justice Compass – Civil-Security Sector Engagement
An article discussing the IPJ’s civil-security sector engagement with the Nepal Police and Armed Police Force can be found on page 4 of the Fall 2011 issue of the Peace & Justice Compass newsletter.
Deputy Director Dee Aker and Nepal Program Officer Chris Groth traveled to Kathmandu, Birgunj and Pokhara from Nov. 8 to 22, 2011 as part of the IPJ’s Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative. Aker and Groth were joined on this field visit by Dr. Donald Gragg, a specialist in addiction medicine, who gave a training with Action for Addiction staff members from the IPJ’s local partner in Birgunj, Sano Paila. The IPJ team also conducted four conflict resolution workshops with members of civil society, the security sector (Nepal Police and Armed Police Force) and political parties.
The IPJ team also held interactive programs with the staff from Raksha Nepal in Kathmandu, members from a women’s organization in rural Nichuta village (Parsa District) and with officers from the Nepal Police in Birgunj. In the Western Region, the IPJ conducted community dialogues/assessment visits in two rural communities, Lekhnath and Lamachour, which participated in the 2005-06 IPJ Peace Radio Project. In addition, the IPJ held consultations with Nepali political party, security sector and civil society leaders, as well as U.S. embassy and U.N. officials, to assess options for sustaining post-conflict stability and possible next steps to address remaining root causes of conflict in the country.
Dr. Gragg wrote a short summary of his experience, which can be found on the IPJ Blog.
IPJ Nepal Spotlight – GATE College
IPJ local supporter Global Academy of Tourism & Hospitality Education (GATE) College was awarded “Best Innovative Training Program” at the 12th Annual Worldwide Hospitality Awards, hosted by the Paris based think tank MKG Group. GATE College founder and CEO Khem Raj Lakai, a previous IPJ training program participant, accepted the award on behalf of the college.
IPJ Daylight Series – A Conversation with Santosh Shah
IPJ local partner Santosh Shah (Founder and President, Today’s Youth Asia) shared his perspectives on the current political situation in Nepal and the role of youth in post-conflict recovery during an IPJ Daylight Series Event.
Women PeaceMakers Forum
IPJ local partner Mandira Raut (Projects Director and Producer, Today’s Youth Asia) participated, via virtual platform, as a speaker on the “Global Exchange: Voices from the Ground” panel during the 2011 IPJ Women PeaceMakers Forum, “Women, Media, Revolution”.
IPJ Country Partner Spotlight – Santosh Shah
IPJ local partner Santosh Shah (Founder and President, Today’s Youth Asia) was recognized by Diplomatic Courier as one of the “Top 99 Most Influential International Professionals Under 33.”
IPJ Nepal Spotlight – Raksha Nepal
Shabnaz Yousefia, IPJ fall 2011 graduate intern and Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies graduate (‘11), spent three months interning with Raksha Nepal, a Kathmandu-based organization dedicated to supporting women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. Raksha Nepal was founded in 2004 by Menuka Thapa, who is a previous IPJ training program participant.
IPJ Country Partner Spotlight – Sano Paila
A short profile on one of the IPJ’s partner organizations in Nepal, Sano Paila (“A Little Step”), can be found on page 4 of the Spring 2011 issue of the Peace & Justice Compass newsletter.
Responding to multiple requests made in 2010 from members of the security sector and civil society, IPJ Deputy Director Dee Aker and Nepal Program Officer Chris Groth returned to Nepal and conducted a series of communication and negotiation programs with the Armed Police Force, Nepal Police, civil society and political representatives in Kathmandu and youth and community leaders in Birgunj in the Terai. The trainings were designed to provide skills while also affording participants the space to begin conducting the important collaboration and conversations that are necessary to resolve longstanding conflicts in any community.
The IPJ was supported by Eric Henry (Managing Partner) and Gardner Heaton (Senior Consultant) from CMPartners during a two-day workshop with senior officers from the Armed Police Force in Kathmandu. Additional program support was provided by local partners Today’s Youth Asia and Women for Peace and Democracy-Nepal in Kathmandu and Sano Paila in Birgunj.
Further details from this trip can be found in the Nepal section of the IPJ Blog.
During the month of March, three Women PeaceMakers and IPJ Deputy Director Dee Aker were featured on Nepal Television Plus, in celebration of International Women’s Day. PeaceMakers Mary Ann Arnado, Milet Mendoza and Shreen Saroor were interviewed earlier this year by Today’s Youth Asia, while in Nepal for the first meeting of the Women PeaceMakers Asia Regional Network.
IPJ Daylight Series – Advancing Essential Conversations in Nepal
On February 10, IPJ staff members Dee Aker and Chris Groth reported on their work in Nepal in May and November 2010, which included communication and negotiation workshops held in Kathmandu, the Western Development Region (Pokhara) and the Terai region (Birgunj and Janakpur).
Building on the experience and recommendations of eight years of the IPJ’s Women PeaceMakers (WPM) Program, Asian WPM alumnae convened in Nepal from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2, 2011, to launch the inaugural Women PeaceMakers Asia Regional Network. The 10-day summit was designed as a pilot project to share ideas and learning on regional issues and peacebuilding strategies between WPMs in the region, and to share that expertise with local communities, politicians, civil society and peacebuilders.
Supported by the IPJ’s long history and strong institutional ties in Nepal, three WPMs – Milet Mendoza and Mary Ann Arnado of the Philippines and Shreen Saroor of Sri Lanka – and IPJ staff members Dee Aker and Jennifer Freeman were hosted by M.A. in peace and justice studies graduate Shobha Shrestha (‘08), founder/executive chair of Women for Peace and Democracy-Nepal. Together, the WPMs carried out a series of roundtable discussions, workshops and media interviews with local constituencies of women politicians, civil society leaders in Kathmandu and peacebuilders in the rural district of Makwanpur.
WorldLink Youth Town Meeting Briefing Session – Youth Confront Drugs in Nepal
On January 21, IPJ Deputy Director Dee Aker, Nepal Program Officer Chris Groth and Sano Paila Founder and Executive President Kanchan Jha presented during a session at the 2011 WorldLink Youth Town Meeting. The session, which was attended by high school youth from San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, covered drug trafficking in Nepal and used Sano Paila’s successful efforts to encourage farmers to switch from growing marijuana and opium to legal crops as an example to local students of the power of youth taking the initiative to solve a problem in their local community.
More information about the briefing session can be found on page 7 of the 2011 WorldLink Youth Newspaper.