Monday, February 28, 2011

Local Stakeholders Meeting - Nepal

A Local Stakeholders Meeting was organized at Lubhu VDC office on 23-02-2011 (Falgun 11, 2067), Wednesday. The programme started formally at nearly the pre-scheduled time in the morning at 8:00 am with the participation of 14 local key functionaries involving participants representing local NGOs, local intellectuals, water users association, social workers and women groups. It started with a succinct introduction about the project, its objectives and outcomes of the scoping phase by the research coordinator Mr. Rajesh Sada and a brief introduction from each of the participants.
He formally requested the research team leader Prof. Ashutosh Shukla to throw light on the details of the research project, who further clarified on the genesis of the research, the objectives, partner institutes and funding organization including research methodology. Committing on towards achieving targeted goals, he also proposed constituting an instrumental participatory committee involving local stakeholders and the nec research team which will be responsible for the dissemination of the information and findings of the research at the local level and as well as perform the role of local advisory committee.
In second session, the floor was opened to the participants for sharing their views on water security in the area, expectations from the project and suggestions for the smooth operation of the project. This brought forward the transforming situations of the VDC and its impact on water resources including the initiations made from the local level and the obstacles perceived for the water management in the VDC.
Realizing the water crisis scenario in the VDC, an action research as the one undergoing has been a need for this VDC and the participants have enthusiastically committed a constant support for the smooth operation of the research. However, the major local concern has been on the research not to be limited merely on a study and producing a report but also on the certainty of the implementation part for sustainable water management in the VDC. The major expectations of the participants noted from this meeting are listed below:
Ø  Initiative for control of water source pollution,
Ø  Identification and management of alternative water sources,
Ø  Study on the impact of existing pit latrine on surface as well as groundwater quality,
Ø  Study on the possibility of rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge,
Ø  Identification of the feasible water supply schemes and programme based tentative cost estimation for possible proposal submission from VDC level,
Ø  Report submission for archive maintenance at VDC,
Ø  Assistance and support in Filtration Tank and Reservoir Installation,
Ø  Formal signature in Letter of Intent among Local Stakeholders Committee and nec.
 The discussions during the meeting session led to an agreement of constructing of mutually responsible and committed committee during the meeting, scheduled on 28 Feb. 2011 at 7: 30 am and proceed forward. 

On the process of organizing stakeholders meeting at the selected research sites, a local stakeholders meeting was also held at Matatirtha VDC on 25th February, 2011. The design of this meeting was similar to the meeting at Lubhu VDC.
The meeting was held in the hall of the Matatirtha VDC office in the participation of 19 participants representing youth clubs, Aama samuha (mother groups), women groups, social workers, VDC officials and key functionaries working for water management within VDC. Despite a pre-notice circulated by the VDC office, the participation was quite limited in terms of intellectual participation. However the major plus point of the meeting was a representation from female groups brought forward an existing situation of water management within VDC at the household levels and also the representation from different wards and the views put forward revealed the existing competition and poor inter ward coordination  in water management.
Followed by the information dissemination on the research project and the bases for selecting Matatirtha VDC as site by the research coordinator Mr. Rajesh Sada and the team leader Prof. Ashutosh Shukla, the local representatives from varied sectors committed their help and support in the coming days.
The ex-chair person, Mr. Dharma Raj K. showed his short presence and shared his expectation regarding technical help from Nepal Engineering College in extending road network within VDC and a study on feasibility of proposed Integrated Water Supply Scheme. The interest of different communities within VDC has been quite diverse causing complication in identifying a more general action point in the VDC. In the meantime, Prof Shukla highlighted on the intervening points to be conducted in the VDC will be focused on the  quantification of the surface and ground water availability, including analysis of the water quality and committed the possible technical help to the VDC from nec family. He also informed about the ongoing research activities on collecting the thirty year long meteorological data from various meteorological stations within Kathmandu valley and analyzing the climatic data to study the congruency between locally perceived climate change/ variability and the scientific database.
The VDC secretary, Mr. Lomas Acharya suggested nominating a focal research person to co-ordinate research at the local level and networking between the research team and the local community. Unlike Lubhu, participants mentioned that it is not worthy to constitute a committee as one will not attend the meeting if there is the presence of another with different conflicting views. Due to this conflicting views of different people on politics, economics or water market in the VDC, its great challenge for the research team to conduct participatory research method. This meeting however provided a glimpse of unannounced active political interest among the people therefore alerting research team about the possible hurdles during research phase will be requiring some innovative efforts in networking and bringing different classes the concerned mass into same arena.

Authors: Rajesh Sada, Anushiya Shrestha 

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