Samjhauta Nepal is a secular, non-partisan NGO engaged in community education and women’s empowerment activities. They aim to develop a strong relationship with local people and give them ownership of development projects. Samjhauta’s goal is to allow women, men and children to develop the skills they need to achieve social, economic, political, civil and environmental justice.
Engaging Young People Positively in the Terai
This project aimed to develop the conflict resolution skills of young people. It was designed to address recent unrest in the Madhesh region, and involved nearly 50% of all Village Development Committees (VDCs ) in local districts.
Samjhauta designed a booklet which outlined conflict resolution techniques, and used this to train young people, teachers and local activists. 17,000 copies of the booklet were published, and distributed across nearly 400 VDCs. An estimated 19,600 young people took part in the training across the eight Terais.
Education for Income Generation and Conflict Mitigation
Samjhauta Nepal is one of several Nepalese partners delivering this project with WINROC International. The initiative targets disadvantaged young people in the mid-west of Nepal, one of the areas most intensely affected by the recent conflict, aiming to increase their access to education and training. The project aims to tackle both the causes and effects of conflict by improving prospects for income generation. Basic literacy, health awareness, and entrepreneurship can empower communities and overcome the poverty which underlies most conflict.
This project, which ran throughout 2008, aimed to inspire local young people and women about conflict resolution. It worked through Youth and Women’s Information Centres, encouraging participants to tell their stories of the conflict and raise local issues by putting together radio programmes. Samjhauta provided equipment and training for community reporters, facilitators, and listeners’ clubs to help promote the broadcasts.
Local communities were extremely enthusiastic about the programme, getting involved much more actively than Samjhauta had anticipated. The project allowed women, in particular, to engage in issues surrounding the conflict and share their experiences with others. The project’s major achievement was to identify and raise awareness of issues which had not been widely recognised.
Engaging Young People in Chure Bhawar
On this project, Samjhauta works with local partners to provide training in conflict resolution to young people in the Chure Bhawar belt. The major aim of this initiative was to help young people cope with the ongoing regional conflict. The project aimed to create a network of peace volunteers who could monitor the situation and mediate where necessary.
34 members of civil society participated in a workshop where they learnt to train others in conflict resolution. These participants then helped to campaign at village level to raise awareness of peacebuilding, distributing a specially-designed booklet to villagers, teachers and young people. The campaign reached around 1,600 adults and 1,200 young people across 24 Village Development Committees.
Using Music to engage Madhesi people
This project aims to empower Madhesi people and involve them in Nepal’s peace process. Samjhauta distribute peace songs with lyrics in Maitthili, the most commonly-spoken language in the region, and play them on FM radio. The goal was to encourage Madhesi people to engage in the peace process through music. Two albums of songs written by local people have so far been produced, Nehak Baen (‘Souvenir of Love’) and Santik Bhor (‘Morning of Peace’).