Dalit Welfare Organisation, Sindhuli (DWO-S) was founded to work on behalf of the dalit ('untouchable') caste in Nepal, but recently it has moved into the areas of conflict transformation and peacebuilding. Its focus is on minimising the effect of conflict on children and raising awareness about nonviolent conflict resolution.
The organisation has 3 principle aims: to build people’s capacity to address the causes and consequences of conflict; to promote peaceful methods of conflict resolution; and to campaign for ‘children as a zone of peace’. This last aim responds to the fact that children in Nepal have been victims of the Maoist war since 1996.
DWO-S has been working to support child victims of the conflict by providing them with emergency relief services. These services include (amongst others) admission and readmission to school, school uniforms, educational materials, medical supplies and treatment, clothes, and food.
The population of Sindhuli was badly affected by Nepal’s recent conflict, especially those from Dalit ('untouchable' caste) and Janajati ('indigenous') groups. DWO is concerned that, although peace has been declared, the new Constitutional Assembly will be unable to meet most people’s high expectations. Victims of the conflict are already becoming frustrated that their grievances have not been addressed, and many are losing faith in the ability of the government or the Maoists to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
This project was designed to raise awareness of these issues, to mitigate the effects of the recent conflict, and to try and promote the peace process. It focuses on people from Dalit and Janajati groups, women, children, and other vulnerable groups. Four networks were established at village level. DWO then trained eighteen network members and other leaders in street drama, and they then developed productions. Participants also received training in leadership and conflict resolution, alongside representatives from local associations, mothers’ groups, teachers’ organisations, and human rights activists. Finally, DWO organised a district-level peace conference, involving various civil society leaders and stakeholders in local government. The conference findings were circulated throughout Nepal.