15 YEARS OF AIN
VOL. 05,NO. 07, September 30, 2011 (Ashwin 13, 2068)
As Development Platform
For the last 15 years, the Association of INGOs in Nepal (AIN) has been supporting Nepal’s development efforts as an important platform to bring the development partners together
By A CORRESSPONDENT
Although International NGOs started work in Nepal 60 years back, their visible and organized representation began only with the formation of the Association of International NGOs fifteen years ago.
Early INGOs were scattered and had to deal with the government and concerned authorities regarding their projects and policy matters individually. Despite offering a variety of working experiences, they didn’t have a common platform to share. The situation prompted leaders of the INGOs to conceive a common platform in 1996.
“AIN is a fantastic platform where we can share, learn and make a position to safeguard the commitment of INGOs to bring about positive changes in the poor people’s lives,” said Achyut Luitel, chairperson of AIN.
AIN has been working in almost all areas of development, from sanitation to livelihood improvement and from health to education.
“If the total contribution of INGOs working in Nepal is calculated, it will be big,” said Luitel, country representative of Practical Action. “AIN's contribution of 10 billion rupees annually (based on survey conducted in 2010, in which about 60 organizations responded) works out to 6% of the development budget, 12% of foreign aid, 15% of foreign grants, 45% of foreign loans, and 18% of deficit budget for the fiscal year 2066/67,” said Luitel.
AIN promotes mutual understanding, and exchange of information, experience and learning in the development work in Nepal.
“AIN is a group of like-minded people working in development of Nepal- an oasis of sorts of those who need it,” said Brian J. Hunter, country director of Save the Children and treasurer of the AIN.
With the historical turn in Nepal’s politics after Janandolan II, the country has been passing through a critical phase of political, social and economic transformation. AIN has been a partner in the process for a just, democratic and socially inclusive development in Nepal.
“By supporting Janandolan II in 2006, AIN has shown solidarity to the cause of democracy, human rights and inclusion. This was the turning point in history. The civil society has recognized us for our role,” said Dr. Shibehs C. Regmi, regional associate and vice president of the World Neighbors.
“AIN is a platform for INGOs to bring about meaningful changes in the lives of poor, marginalized and excluded people of Nepal,” Regmi, a former chairperson of AIN, added.
As the young population grows up in a new political, social and economic environment, AIN has to take stock of the changing scenario to make its work more relevant. Former chairperson Dale Davis said the present scenario is different from that of 15 years ago. With increasing number of young and educated Nepalese in an inclusive society, new working environment, with greater transparency and accountability, is imperative.
Out of 200 INGOs registered in Nepal, 97 INGOs have secured the membership of AIN and many more members are joining it. “AIN, a unique organization in many ways, is a symbol of solidarity among almost 100 INGOs working towards the common goal of poverty reduction, sustainable development, protection and promotion of human rights and good governance in Nepal,” said Chij K.Shrestha, former chairperson of AIN, and vice president and country director of the World Education.
Currently, AIN is working on a wide range of issues and sectors that include education, health, drinking water, hygiene and sanitation, natural resources management, governance, human rights and rural infrastructure to contribute to community development in Nepal.
“As a member secretary of the Social Welfare Council, I am very happy that the presence of AIN helps us a lot whenever we need to disseminate information,” said Chhewang Lama Sherpa, adding, the two were like development partners.
“I feel that the experience sharing has been building my capacity as well as the organization’s empowering people, in advocacy, and for institutional development and strengthening in Nepal,” said Chanda Rai, CCS Italy’s country director.
Some of the key initiatives of AIN were policy research studies in areas related to the PRSP, MDGs and conflict, policy discourses with stakeholders, including the government, for advocacy on various issues, and support to government agencies such as the Social Welfare Council in matters relating to the development of INGOs in the country.
“It is heartening for me to see AIN grow from a very small, a handful of INGOs, to its present size with such significant capacity for advocacy and service provision to its members. It may continue to grow in the quality and strength of its services which will enable members to contribute even more to Nepal,” said Scott Falla,” country representative of Oxfam.
“Congratulation AIN on 15 years of cooperation for the betterment of Nepal,” said Michael Frank country director World Vision International Nepal.
INGO’s In Nepal
Founded in 1954, the United Mission to Nepal, an international interdenominational Christian Mission, is the first INGO to come to Nepal. For a long period after that, only a few international non-governmental organizations were allowed to work. Swiss INGO Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Nepal was another long time INGO in Nepal.
Helvetas came to Nepal in 1956 and now it cooperates with many technical and social organizations in all the 75 districts across the country. Helvetas Nepal works within four main sectors like Water and Infrastructure, Governance and Peace, Education and Skill Development, Environment and Climate and Rural Economy.
Leprosy Mission International came in 1957, opening the Anandaban Leprosy Hospital in Lalitpur. Anandaban is the largest Leprosy Hospital in Nepal, with 100 beds for leprosy patients and a further 25 for general admissions.
After the promulgation of the new federal constitution, Nepal will enter into a new era. “There is the need to change the pattern of working as we need to reach out to all stakeholders. Realizing the need of the changed atmosphere, we have developed a communications strategy to reach to the people through the media,” said Phanindra Adhikari, former chairperson of AIN.
Over the years, INGOs have played a crucial role as key stakeholders and partners in the development of Nepal. “We would like to continue to engage with the government, donors, various other sectors of the civil society, NGOs and poor and excluded people on development issues.”
Nepal- Russia Relationship
The diplomatic relationship between Nepal and the Soviet Union was established back on July 20, 1956. From then, Russia has given continuous support to Nepal. The support came mainly in the fields of economy, tourism, infrastructure and education. However, in the current times there has been a gap in the relationship between the two nations.
At an interaction program organized by Nepal-Russia Press Club (NRPC) and Russian Centre of Science and Culture (RCSC) to mark the ‘International Day of Solidarity of Journalists’ at RCSC building, Ambassador of Russian federation in Nepal, Dr. Sergey V. Velichkin agreed that there has been a gap in the Russian relationship with Nepal and said that Russia has already started to take measures to improve the relationships. “We have started to improve the diplomatic relationship with Nepal which was drifted in the past,” he said.
He said he met with Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and stated that Russia was ready to help Nepal to achieve peace and economic prosperity.
Dr. Sergey V. Velichkin also pointed out the importance of journalists and value of journalism to society and said Russian diplomacy has paid uttermost respect to journalists.
At the event, Shiva Gaunle, chairperson of Federation of Nepalese Journalists of Nepal shared his experience of his Russia visit and said, “We can learn lots of things from the experience of Russian journalists from their vast exposure to Europe and technology.”
He explained the importance of Nepal-Russian Press Club (NRPC) and said, “Around 800 journalists will be involved in this club in some form and this club will also help improve Nepal- Russia relationship.”