Dr. Ram Kumar Dahal
Dept. of Political Science, TU
The CSOs in
Types of CSOs in
These formal and informal organizations working in the field of “civic space” and exerting pressure for democratization of the political society and the development process can be categorized as such as Dahal (2001:36-38)
Economic and civil Society organizations
In post 1990-periods there are mushroom growth of these types of CSOs in
These CSOs (the formal and informal organizations) operating in financial and economic sectors (including productive, commercial ,banking ,business, professional tourist ,cooperative, advertising, export and import associations and networks) have contributed much for the development of these sectors. These institutions include, among others, Federation of the Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry ,Nepal Chamber of Commerce ,Dhikutis, Private Business Houses ,cooperatives ,Petty trader’s Association ,Financial Institutions ,Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industry ,Nepal-German Chamber of Commerce ,Nepal-US Chamber of commerce and Industry ,Consumer and Users Groups ,Association of Bankers, Management Association of Nepal, Hotel association of Nepal, Nepal Advertisement Agency association, Nepal Overseas Exporter’s Association ,Federation of Community Forest User’s Group of Nepal ,etc.
Ethno-based Socio- cultural CSOs
There is a number of ethno-based (formal and informal) socio- cultural CSOs that emerged particularly in post 1990 days (including ethno cultural, caste-based, communal, religious and other institutions/ and associations which advocate, defend and promote their collective interests goals and objectives ,rights and symbols, norms and values, faiths, identities and beliefs/indigenous knowledge e.g. dhamism ,jhakrism, tantra and mantra)that advocate and promote their own interests including their proper share in all layers of governance and decision making ,linguistic and religious freedoms. These institutions and associations, among others,
Guthi or trust like institutions, ethnic societies like Mithila Samaj, linguistic and ethnic groups like Manka Khala, Newa Khala (Of Newar community), Rodhi Samaj (of Gurungs), Nepal Tamang Ghedung, Tharu Welfare Society ,Thakali Welfare Committee ,Kirat yakthung Chumling,Depressed People’s Upliftment Platform , ,and a number of caste-based or ethnic societies in Char Varna Chhetis Varna–based Hindu society.
Eucational, research and academic CSOs
In post 1990, there is mushroom growth in formal and informal educational/ academic institutions in Nepal in promoting their interests in this sector which ,among others, autonomous research institutions( e.g. CEDA,CNAS,CERID) and Universities( including private ones) Nepal South Asia Centre ,Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies ,Centre for the Consolidation of Democracy ,Institute for Integrated Development Studies , AND Nepal Society for Contemporary studies(NCCS). Communication/ media or Informational CSOs
With the growth of private sector media in post 1990 period, a number of( formal and informal) media institutions( both printed and electronic) have developed in Nepal that provide to the people various services in media sector and, in general , devoted or dedicated to the production and dissemination public knowledge and information , news ,views, ideas, research findings , may be for profit motive and eservice oriented. These formal and informal institutions, among others ,include Nepal press council(PCN) Federation of Nepalese Journalist ,Communicator’s Group, Nepal Environmental Journalist Association ,Editor’s Guild, Nepal Press Institute, Nepal Institute of Mass Communication, International Nepal Press Institute, Women’s media Groups(Sancharika Samuha), and Nepal Sramajibi Patrakar Samuha.
In post 1990 periods, it has become almost impossible to count those institutions ( either registered in Social Welfare Council or Ministry of Industry or Commerce) that are committed to protect, advance or defend their own common functional or material of economic, financial interests of their members (either professional or other) .
When the concept of participatory development and democracy were encouraged in post 1990 periods, a number of developmental CSOs were established to raise and promote developmental issues, and promote or mobilize individual or institutional or international resources to improve the infrastructure, institutions, and quality of life of the community and societies.
In post 1990 period, a number of CSOs including the protection of the rights of the bonded labour/ Kamaiya, movements for peace, disarmament, environmental protection, gender issues, and land reform measures, consumer protection, control terrorism.
In order to promote and protect their interests, several Groups have been established in post 1990 days including Nepal Trade Union Congress, Democratic Confederation of Nepalese Trade Unions ,General Federation of Nepalese trade Unions ,Student Unions ,Nepal Teacher’s Association and Organization ,Federations of Village Development Committees (VDC),Municipality and District Development committees (DDC),Nepal Bar Association ,All Nepal Lawyers’ Association ,Nepal Medical Association , Nepal DOCTERS Association, Nepal University Teachers Association,PABSON, AND N/PABSON.
Relief and Development Associations
In post 1990 periods, various development and relief oriented organizations including
I/NGOs, self help Groups (SHOs), Federation of NGOs, Maiti
Advocacy TYPE CSOs
A number of groups including Nepal Federation of ethnic Groups and nationalists, Nepal Dalit Association, Women’s Pressure Group, Indigenous societies, Legal Aid and Consultancy center, Paribartan Nepal, and TEWA are involved in advocacy in their interests.
In post 1990 periods, there is mushroom growth in civic groups in different sectors which intend to “improve the political system and make it more democratic through human rights monitoring, voter education and Mobilization, poll-watching, anti-corruption efforts and so on” [Diamond 1994: 6, quoted from Bongartz and Dahal, 1996: 64-65].These CSOs include Human Right HRs Organizations (such as Informal Sector Service ,Human Right Organization of Nepal ,Amnesty International Nepal Chapter ,INHURED International ,Child Workers In Nepal Concerned Center, Kamaya Concerned Group, etc) and other groups and societies including, Election Observation Group, Transparency International ,Nepal Law Society ,Political Science Association of Nepal, Sociological and Anthropological Association of Nepal ,Intellectual Councils ,Centre for Good governance and Pro-public.,.
Trust like CSO and Private Philanthropic Associations
In Nepal, there are numbers of trust like CSOs including Pashupati Area Development trusts, King Mahendra Trust for nature Conservation, Lumbini Development Trust, Madan –Ashrit Memorial Trust, Mana Mohan Memorial Foundation, Ganeshman Foundation, B.P. Koirala Foundation, Tanka Prasad Acharya Memorial trust and Private Philanthropic Associations including Bhupal Man Karki foundation which are operating in different sectors., Buddha –Gandhi Foundation and , Madan Puraskar Guthi are operating even in present day Nepal.
The CSOs in post 1990 periods have also to involve in a number of activities including providing civic education to the people. They have to impart knowledge or train the people/citizens in varieties of areas including principles of(participatory and inclusive) democracy, constitutional and legal provisions, HRs and fundamental freedoms, good (and rights based) governance, civil society ,citizenship and other democratic values.
CSOs Politics in Rural
NGOs, like in other developing countries, have played important role in the development of the rural areas in
CSOs, NGOs and Local Development in
The CSOs and NGOs have been playing crucial role in the development of rural villages and have dared to reach to those remote areas (e.g. Himalayan zones and reach to those remote districts where the presence of government was not realized). But in post 1996 period, after the beginning of the Maoist insurgency, the NGO sector has suffered most. In general, NGO sector has played important role in
Achievements of CSOs movement in
In post 1990 days, the CSOs have played very significant role in Nepalese society in a number of ways including successfully arousing consciousness and making advocacy of/for a number of current issues/ HRs and other global democratic values( good governance, civil society, globalization ,privatization ,liberalization ,transparency, responsibility ,participatory democracy and development ,decentralization, absolute democracy/loktantra ).The CSOs had played significant role in overthrowing the autocratic non party panchayat polity and pressuring the post 1990 democratically elected governments to be responsive and accountable to the people. Moreover, in post 1996 periods, they had participated in civic mediation and tried to bridge the gap between the two conflicting parties: the governments and the Maoists and creating favorable background for two rounds of talks in 2001 and 2003. Their role in this direction, (e.g. in the civic mediation), is particularly important, as one expert put it, “when major stake holders of Nepali conflict vis-a- vis Maoist ,monarchy, and mainstream political parties have their own different road maps to peace for that reason conflict resolution.” In such situation of varieties of political opinions, ideologies and road maps, it is the civil society that can bridge the gap and mediate between them. The role of civil society in the political process (both positive and negative) is no less important. In this context, as the civil society expert points out, the post modern concept of CSOs in Nepalese society has emerged as a part of oppositional politics and has, in many respects, contributed to respect for and observance of HRs of the citizens and making the government more accountable and responsible to the people. In the post 2002 periods (between 2002 and 2006), the CSOs have contributed much for the restoration of MPD and particularly, in the 19 -day mass uprising which was concluded by the midnight declaration made by King Gyanendra on April 24,2006 that restored the House of Representatives (elected in 1999).
The CSOs have either interacted or linkage with the beneficiaries, user groups, self help organizations (SHOs), CBOs, and other people’s organizations or part of them and have also linkages with external actors/forces ,they have successfully mediated or played the role of mediators and communicators between the state /government and the people and tried to bridged the gap. They have played important role in advocacy and campaign (e.g. in the protection of HRs, conflict management, peace march/rallies, disarmament), empowerment (poor, women, marginalized, Dalits, Adibasi janajaties, powerless, voiceless, vulnerable groups, and empower the poor for self help development and networking), governance, capacity building (e.g. Of institutions and elected authorities, development planning , information exchange, training of personnel, institutional building)and management(coordination of activities monitoring control evaluation feedback and reporting) .The CSOs have also played significant role in identifying developmental needs priorities and activities and recommending the policy makers to correcting their weakness and for their effective implementation .Some CSOs have also worked as umbrella organizations including many intermediary institutions ,voluntary organizations and associations ,user’s groups .CBOs and SHOs. Some CSOs have even tried to penetrate in a remote rural areas contributing or monitoring the developmental activities of the local organizations. Some of them have even contributed to strengthen the developmental power of the people to overcome their existing problem, issues, challenges (e.g. poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and powerless), miseries and inequalities. The non- hierarchical and informal nature of functioning of CSOs have helped /contribute them to ,in most cases, interest articulation, aggregation, communication and raise issues like popular representation and participation in all layers of governance and decision making. It is the CSOs in Nepal that have very successfully raised the issues of the neglected, exploited, suppressed oppressed, vulnerable and marginalized (e,g,,the Dalits,adibasi janajaties,pidits, utpidits, women), and attempted to bring them in the mainstream politics and development and accordingly, advocated the interests of the linguistic, socio-cultural, ethnic and religious minorities. Some of them have contributed in the time of emergency and natural calamities (e.g. victims of earthquake, flood, fire and internal displacement of Maoist affected people)and have provided efficient training and workshop in a number of areas .Many of them have raised voices in the fulfillment of basic needs ,providing services to the internally displaced persons (by the Maoists) environmental protection ,population control, welfare social services, promotion and protection of arts and culture and development of scientific and technical capacities of the people and raising voices against a number of malpractices (e.g. corruption, delays in government works ),social evils (Caste system, untouchability, witch craft, traditional values, beliefs and norms) and contraband goods and illegal deeds (e.g. narcotic drugs, trafficking of women, child labor, herbs and resources ).In short ,there may be ,as International IDEA,(1997:34)views well room for a genuine civil society movement ,particularly for non partisan groups that do not want power but are willing to take political risks.
(Excerpts from the paper presented by the author at a seminar held by the Institute of Foreign Affairs on