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2 women caucus in nepal

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  • 1. NEPAL MULTIPARTY WOMEN’S CAUCUS WORKSHOP WORKSHOP REPORT Submitted to: USAID/National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (USAID/NDINepal) Pradhan Villa, Lazimpat Kathmandu (Nepal) Submitted by: Raj Kumar Pandey GPO BOX: 19862, Kathmandu, Nepal Mobile: 98510-86884 rajkpandey2000@yahoo.com rajkpandey2000@hotmail.com rajkpandey2000@gmail.com
  • 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary Page 01. General Context 02. Formal Introduction 03. Ground Rules 04. Formal Session 05. NIWC Lesson Learned 06. Multi-Party Women’s Caucus (Indonesia) 07. Question-Answer Session 08. Justifications for the Caucus 09. Second Day’s Session 10. Action Plan Formation 11. Overall Evaluation of the Day 12. Final Day of the Workshop 13. Commitment For Caucus Formation 14. Formal Closing Session 15. Conclusion 16. Recommendations LIST OF APPENDIXES Annex-1: Workshop Schedule Annex-2: Brief Biography of the Workshop Participants Annex-3: List of Participants’ Expectations from the Workshop Annex-4: NDI/Nepal’s Activities in Increasing the Women’s Political Participation During 1997-2004 Annex-5: The Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition And the Belfast Talks Annex-6: Indonesian Women’s Political Caucus Annex-7: Action Plan Annex-8: Caucus Formation – Managing and Maintaining the Process Annex-9: Ten Rules of Leadership Annex-10: Organogram and Action Plan Annex-11: NDI Bangladesh’s Women Related Activities Annex-12: Contact List of Participants Annex-13: Workshop Photographs 01. General Context 1.1 National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI/Nepal) organized a two and half days’ workshop at the Park Village Resort, Kathmandu during September 30 - October 2, 2005. (See Annex-1: For Workshop Schedule). The main objectives of the workshop were to develop processes and procedures in forming an efficient, effective and sustainable women’s political caucus in Nepal and increasing the women’s political participation in the mainstream politics of the country. The workshop outcomes proved useful in preparing organizational structure, formulating strategies and action plan for the women’s political caucus. 1.2 Ms. Kate Fearon, Representative from the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC) facilitated the workshop with full cooperation from Ms. Kury Cobham,
  • 3. Resident Director and Ms. Anamika Rai, Program Manager, NDI/Nepal. Ms. Tasneem Hasan, Program Officer, NDI/Bangladesh took part on the workshop as a silent observer. Similarly, a representative from the USAID/Nepal was also present at the first half of the first day. Twenty-eight national level women political leaders, representing seven major political parties, actively participated on the workshop for the desired outcomes. (See Annex-2: For Brief Biography of the Workshop Participants). 1.3 The workshop was conducted in both English and Nepali languages for the easy flow of ideas and convenience of the participants and facilitators. A professional translator played an effective role in translating from English to Nepali and vice versa. The main methodologies to conduct the workshop were lectures, group discussion, presentation, exercises, etc. which created training environment for the mutual learning and sharing of the experience among all. 1.4 Ms. Cury Cobham welcomed all the participants and requested to write down minimum two expectations in each meta card which would be reviewed at the end of the training. (The term workshop and training is interchangeably used in this report). She also explained the importance of collecting the various ideas, which can guide facilitator to modify and design the workshop in accordance with the desires of the participants for the development of an effective caucus. (See Annex-3: For List of Participants’ Expectations). 02. Formal Introduction 2.1 Ms. Cury Cobham facilitated the formal introductory session of the training. For this purpose, she used “pertain cookie” technique, in which different relevant questions were distributed and accordingly participants introduced themselves along with their answer that made easier to remember the members’ names. 2.2 All participants enjoyed for learning the new technique of introduction and Ms. Cobham thanked all for creative approaches that supported for the team building process. Moreover, she also requested to be punctual during this training period and submit the biography form to maintain the roster in the Database System of the NDI/Nepal. The roster can be used in contacting the participants as per need of the NDI/Nepal for the possible partnership activities in the future. 03. Ground Rules 3.1 Ms. Cobham also facilitated in collecting the working agreements to be flowed during the entire training period. The participants also agreed that in case of breaking the rules they will sing and dance. Moreover, Ms. Sahana Pradhan, Ms. Asta Laxmi Shakya and Ms. Suprabha Ghimire were chosen as a group leader in maintaining and monitoring the disciplines among the participants. 3.2 The participants mutually agreed to keep their mobile off or in vibration mode; punctuality; no side talk; raising hand to ask any questions; attentively listening each other and properly managing the time during the entire workshop period.
  • 4. 04. Formal Session 4.1 Ms. Anamika Rai highlighted the need of the women’s caucus and requested Ms. Sahana Pradhan to briefly present the developmental stages of political women’s caucus in the context of Nepal. 4.2 Ms. Pradhan explained that Nepalese political women have been discussing for the formation of caucus from the very earlier days. She also explained that NDI/Nepal has been actively working in strengthening the different groups of the people but the concept of caucus has not been materialized yet into the reality. 4.3 She stressed the need of caucus and requested all women that they must voice their problems collectively for the protection of the women’s rights. She further added that the women’s issues should not be politically colored as they are directly related to the women not the political parties of the county. Moreover, all women’s voices and demands must be same and the slogans related with the women must generate within the county. Nepal does not need imported issues and slogans in the name of empowering Nepalese women. 4.4 Ms. Anamika Rai also highlighted the NDI/Nepal’s activities in increasing the women’s political participation in leadership from grassroots to central level. She briefly outlined about the entire workshop. (See Annex-4: For NDI/Nepal’s Activities in Increasing the Women’s Political Participation During 1997-2004). 4.5 Ms. Kate Fearon shared her practical experience about the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC), which was inspiring even to the Nepalese women to take lead role in negotiating the present conflict in the context of Nepal. At the initial stage in the Northern Ireland, women approached to the political parties with their problems but the male dominated parties did not seriously consider the women’s issues. As a result, women themselves actively took part in the election. However, males not only hardly cooperated but also discouraged and laughed over women. This group of women worked hard, faced several challenges and eventually acquired the social identity and recognization through the NIWC. (See Annex-5: The Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition And the Belfast Talks). 05. NIWC Lessons Learned  The cast and religion was matter of challenge for NIWC  NIWC was in middle of the position not in extreme  NIWC was balance in dealing conflicting groups  The strategies and approaches of the women were different than others  They added different priorities  It was non-competitive but it was based on cooperation  NIWC broadened the agenda  Ethnically mixed negotiation team  Believed in possibilities of agreement  Promoted an inclusive process
  • 5. 06. Multi-Party Women’s Caucus (Indonesia) 6.1 Ms. Anamika Rai, after energizing the tired participants by the means of writing own name on wind through legs and hands, presented about the Indonesian Women’s Political Caucus. KPPI was established in August 2000 that includes representatives from 17 political parties along with civil societies and academic institutions. For its outstanding performance, KPPI received Madeleine Albright Grant in May 2005. (See Annex-6: For Indonesian Women’s Political Caucus). 6.2 Ms. Rai also explained about the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus-Malawi that was formed in 1995 and actively advocated to pass the major laws, which are directly related for the protection of the women’s rights. 07. Question-Answer Session 7.1 Participants were asked to raise the queries and constructive comments and criticisms for the previous presentations. The major questions were:  What is the present situation of NIWC in Northern Ireland?  What were the attitudes of e family members towards women who joined NIWC?  What is the future plan of NIWC?  Why NIWC could not win any seats in parliament?  Women could continually fight for their rights within major political parties, why separate party needed? 7.2 The external political parties started to play against the NIWC; the ceasefire was unsuccessful; and old phenomenon was repeated. However, the NIWC worked with hope and confidence even though there was uncertainty. People seeked certainty and their own identity. Finally, NIWC could not get any seats in the parliament so that currently it is not active anymore in the mainstream politics. 7.3 Family members were quite cooperatives towards the NIWC members. Ms. Kate Fearon shared her own experience that her brother and other relatives, who were involved in the different political parties, supported her during election campaign. 7.4 The NIWC has changed its strategy and has started working as a pressure group than a political party. However, if there arises some opportunities in the future to work for the formal politics, the NIWC will definitely take part in this purpose. 7.5 Currently, NIWC has zero seats in the parliament due to narrowing of the political stage; could not address the people’s higher expectations and general public returned to the traditional parties. 7.6 Women work in the political party as a project and their interests are not properly addressed as male dominates the entire decisions. Women’s roles in the parties are just to support the party’s views and work for the camping during election. 08. Justifications for the Caucus
  • 6. 8.1 Ms. Kate divided the group and requested to write down, at least, three reasons for establishing the caucus within twenty minutes of time. Her questions were: What do I want? Why have a caucus? What is the main anticipated strength, weakness, opportunities and threats including required resources for the caucus? 8.2 The group separately presented the need of caucus due to: carry on the voices of women effectively and collectively; collective power for the gender equality; to change the status qua situation of women; common views for women; concept of 33% reservation at all level politics for women can be materialized; women forum to bring all women from different political ideologies; same voices for women’s issues from grassroots to central level; team work; collective lobbying; more women can take part in forming the policies as the unity is strength; and to efficiently address the socio-cultural, political and economical discriminations towards the women. Similarly, all agreed that the possible sources for resources are: membership fee, cooperation from donor agencies, cultural programs and other local resources. 8.3 However, the proposed caucus in Nepal may have to face several threats that may weaken it’s mission and vision. The major anticipated challenges are: different political ideologies; it is matter of conflict to share the opportunities among all the political parties; women political members have to flow their parties’ policies and statutes which may crate problems in the caucus; different priorities of the parties; problems for resources; fear for its sustainability; may arise difficulties in unity; conflict for the designation; difficulties to include all due to different status of the women; misuse of forum; parties may intervene; and the whip of the party may not be supportive in enhancing the activities of the caucus. 8.4 Ms. Kate Fearon assigned group members to prepare a paper jet craft with the available resources – masking tape, a peace of paper and clip. Different group prepared it and demonstrated. She interpreted that sometimes the challenges can be solved with creative approaches within the constraint of limited resources. 8.5 She further requested to all the participants to complete the hypothetical medical emergency exercise in individual basis within ten minutes. The outcomes of the task were not allowed to discuss with each other and finally she evaluated all the results on case-by-case basis and deviations were identified. Moreover, same assignment was given for group discussion that was collective outcomes of all the participants. She demonstrated and explained about the deviation in working individually and collectively in solving the problems. 8.6 She interpreted that the group, which acquired least number, might not have used the available manpower resources within the group. She further suggested that in order to achieve the better results, all should use their team capacities collectively. Moreover, the better performing group informed that they had widely discussed the issues and made the decision in the mutual understanding basis. Ms. Kate concluded that it may take longer time to work in the group even though there may be available ample resources but the outputs will eventually bring the desired results in achieving the goals. 8.7 Ms. Kate finally assigned homework to the group members to choose at least three topics from the action plan to create the strategies for the proposed caucus.
  • 7. The action plans contains thirty options, which was new for some participants but some of them had gone through it previously. (See Annex-7: For Action Plan). 8.8 At the end of the first day, Ms. Anamika Rai collected feedbacks on the overall presentation, discussion topics and workshop arrangements. Major strengths for the first day were: how to solve problem effectively, group discussion for common agenda, play way method and attempt of women for conflict resolution in the Northern Ireland. However, participants also suggested for improvements which includes: complicated exercise, program schedule and agenda were not properly arranged and it was tedious lecture due to school type of environment. 9. Second Day’s Session 9.1 Ms. Cury reviewed the previous session and outlined the scheduled activities, which was crucial in developing the tools for the caucus formation purpose. She also requested all to flow the working agreements. Ms. Urmiala Aryal, Ms. Sashi Shrestha and Ms. Srijana Adhikari were selected as enforcers of the ground rules for the remaining sessions of the workshop. 9.2 Ms. Fearon lectured the PowerPoint presentation entitled “Caucus Formation: Managing and Maintaining the Process”. The presentation covered the caucus statutes, roles and responsibilities of the executive committee members, external forces, current situation, pathways to action for caucus, etc. Similarly, she also highlighted about the effective meeting planning and handling, which proved useful for the group work in preparing the preliminary organizational structure and composition of the proposed caucus in Nepal. (See Annex-8: For Caucus Formation – Managing and Maintaining the Process). 9.3 Prior to group discussion, Ms. Kate and Ms. Anamika presented the organogram and composition of the NIWC and Indonesian Women’s Political Caucus respectively. They also presented organograms of the Australian Labor Party, Irish Labor Party and Korean Democratic Party as examples, which guided participants to prepare effective organizational structure of the proposed caucus. 9.4 Moreover, Ms. Kate also explained that how an effective leader can facilitate the members for discussion. Good leaders always allow members to express their opinions and encourage for participants. They are tolerate of different ideas and abide by rules and procedures for decision-making. For this purpose, the leaders must be accountable and need good communication skill to facilitate the group members for expected outcomes. (See Annex-9: For Ten Rules of Leadership). 9.5 After completion of the PowerPoint presentation, participants raised some questions: how chairperson is chosen in NIWC? What is the system of reward and punishment for non-performing members? Cannot we develop monitoring and evaluation system to address bad performance? How to raise the fund? 9.6 Ms. Kate explained that there is provision of three years’ tenure of the executive committee and then they cannot be candidate. The NIWC has no provision of reward and punishment however extra responsibilities are assigned to those
  • 8. members who perform better in the committee. When the deadline is not met, the committee members can either return or reduce their responsibilities. 9.7 The fund raising activity is more challenging even though it has to be done for the sustainability of the caucus. It depends in which kind of economy the activities have been carried out. Some options may be through coffee invitation or working in a partnership basis with hotels and raising the fund through homely prepared meals. Moreover, Ms. Cury suggested that this workshop is particularly related for the caucus formation processes and other several issues such as fund raising will be separately handled after formally establishment of the caucus in Nepal. 10. Action Plan Formation 10.1 The facilitator divided five small groups and then same members were again divided into two large groups to prepare the preliminary action plans including organizational structure of the proposed caucus in Nepal. The main questions for the group work were: Where we are now? Where we want to go? And, How we get from here to there? 10.2 After serious group discussions, five group presented their inception caucus structure, strategies and action plans flowed by comments and suggestions from the facilitator and the remaining members. The generalized common structures and strategies based on five group presentations are as flowing. 10.3 The Executive Committee: Chairwomen, Deputy Chairwomen, Secretary, Treasurer, Spokesperson and Central Committee Members. 10.4 The Proposed Departments: Publicity, Finance, Research, Foreign, Monitoring, Organization, Policy and Planning. 10.5 The Organizational Level: Central Committee, National Council, Zonal Level, District Level, District Council, Constituency Level and VDC Level Committee. 10.6 The Proposed Strategies: general annual meeting will be held including routing meetings; a person can be elected and/or nominated only for one tenure; two way communication will be adopted; review of women related policies; caucus needs to prepare code of conduct for its members; caucus will make its own statutes; and lobbying through media campaign. 10.7 The Present Status of Women: Women in Nepal are in the formation stage of different organizations, which are temporary in nature. Women are considered as second-class citizen due to the discriminatory laws - no inherent property and citizenship rights. Our societies consider women as bhogyabastu. Women are involving with different political parties with provision of 5% seats. Currently, we also lack democracy and human rights in the country that is our first priority. 10.8 The visions and goals of the Nepalese women, as per the group presentations, are to materialize the concept of 33% reservation into reality; to create common forum for better women related policies and programs; and initiation for equal rights through caucus.
  • 9. 10.9 The facilitator appreciated the creative group presentations and for sophisticated organograms. She also realized that all have the common features but the task based action plans must be SMART. For this purpose, the participants were divided into two large groups, one team to prepare organogram and another for task based action plans for the purposed caucus. 10.10 The sufficient guidelines were given to make the more effective action plan and at the end of the presentation, comments and suggestions were incorporated. She also suggested all to think on the draft version of action plan and come up with more creative ideas to finalize it next day. (See Annex-10: For Organogram and Action Plan). 11. Overall Evaluation of the Day 11.1 Ms. Anamika Rai recapped the day and collected the overall comments and feedbacks. The strengths of the day were: brainstorming that taught participants about the planning process. They also requested NDI/Nepal to arrange a training course about the planning processes and logical framework. The participants also appreciated resource person’s excellent communication and presentation skills particularly her smiling face. They realized that the overall day was more practical and participatory compared with the previous day. However, they also commented that the lectures on meeting procedures were long and lousy for this level of participants. 12. Final Day of the Seminar 12.1 Ms. Curry welcomed all the participants and requested Ms. Tasneem Hasan, Program Officer, NDI/Bangladesh to share her working experience on the issues of women in Bangladesh as NDI/Bangladesh is also planning to form a women’s caucus due to interest of the women political leaders. Ms. Hasan presented the NDI/Bangladesh’s currently running women related activities, achieved goals, on going and future plans, status of women in South Asia in general and provision of reservation in the major political parties of Bangladesh in particular. (See Annex-11: For NDI/Bangladesh’s Women Related Activities). 12.2 Some participants informed that they had observed Bangladeshi parliament and found that most of the women MPs were retired, and over aged so that it would be better if there is provision of competitive election rather than nomination system. Participants also were curious to know the selection criteria of women. 12.3 Women candidates have to submit application forms with detailed information of their assets and liabilities to the party prior to nomination of MP’s candidate. The MP candidate has to donate certain amount of money (Three hundred thousand local currency for ruling party – BNP). The participants concluded that if there is no money then no politics, if so, what is the use of so called reservation? 13. Commitment For Caucus Formation 13.1 The facilitator divided all participants into five groups and requested them to answer the questions and then present them. The questions were related for the commitment and resolution in forming the women’s political caucus in Nepal. The
  • 10. questions for the group work were: Do you want to form the women’s caucus? Do you want to use the same action plan? In what event you want to start the caucus? What will you do to make it possible? When will it be done? What are the required resources? 13.2 The generalized and common responses presented by the five groups were similar in its character. All agreed and made commitment to form the women’s caucus in Nepal. They approved the draft version of action plan that to be flowed and implemented. They will, first of all, inform their political parties about it. They expected monetary support from external sources such as NDI/Nepal at the initial stages but few group members were ready to manage it by themselves. They will let it know all through press release and media. However, they have expected couple of additional residential seminars to widely discuss on this issue more seriously and prepare the plans, policies and strategies for the proposed caucus. 13.3 All group agreed that the existing NDI/Nepal’s Advisory Committee represents all seven parties so that the same group will initiate for this purpose. The expected date is Mid November or first week of December to further work on it. Moreover, the present advisory committee will pick up additional volunteer members from their respective parties to form the Ad Hoc Committee. The same Ad Hoc committee will work further for the formal establishment of Caucus in Nepal and form the central committee as per action plan and organogram. Moreover, the advisory committee also agreed for it and informed that they will call a meeting after Dashain and materialize the vision into the reality. 13.4 Prior to formal closing of the workshop, the facilitator lectured about the qualities and importance of leadership in effective running of the organization. For this purpose, she collected the name of charismatic and ideal leaders of all the participants and impressive qualities of their leaders. 14. Formal Closing Session 14.1 Ms. Cury asked whether their expectations have been met or nor and all happily informed that they are quite satisfied with this workshop. She further added that women are very committed leaders and NDI/Nepal is always ready to enhance their capacities through cooperation of the USAID/Nepal. She appreciated all for their active participation and making this workshop grand success. She concluded that the workshop has achieved its expectations and goals. Finally, all participants and facilitator formally thanked each other for mutual cooperation. ANNEX-3: LIST OF PARTICIPANTS’ EXPECTATIONS FROM THE WORKSHOP  Increasing women’s meaningful presence in the mainstream politics and effective roles in their parties
  • 11.  Strengthening democracy and institutionalize it  Learning more about the political and cultural status of women  Sharing something useful know-how for the application of knowledge in Nepal  Knowing the workshop participants each-others  Becoming a good trainer to support in conducting the Training of Trainers (ToT)  Supporting to increase the women’s participation in the political parties of Nepal  Increasing self-confidence, self-esteem and knowledge  Understanding the methods of 33% reservation system for women in politics  Political women’s caucus formation  International experience sharing on women’s caucus  Learning different aspects of women’s political caucus building  Learning to increase the abilities of women for political participation  To understand the status of caucus in other nations  Discussing about how to include women in decision making process  Our issues should be implemented in the decisions  Formulating policy for the caucus and its ToR  Coordination between different parties and Janjati women  What are the advantages to the organizer for implementing such activities?  After completion of the workshop, where will we reach?  The workshop helps for team building and team work  It helps us to raise the women’s issues more effectively  To understand where I am today and where I want to be  How women can go ahead in the absence of democracy?