Sansthagat Bikash Sanjal is a networking organisation comprising 19 different local NGOs, founded on the belief that sharing resources, best practice, and experience is the best way to serve the most vulnerable people in Nepal and bring genuine development to the grassroots. ‘Sanjal’ works with NGOs across Nepal, aiming to develop their latent potential, both reviving them and helping them reach further to achieve a new sustainability. Sanjal provide a range of services, depending on each affiliate’s specific needs, but often involving partnership bids for funding.
With the political commitment to a new Constitution and Constituent Assembly in Nepal, ‘Sanjal’ identified a need to educate citizens about their rights and responsibilities. This project was aimed at marginalised groups, and ran from April 2007 to May 2008, and they are hoping to extend it to a second phase. Alongside other NGOs delivering the project in different areas, Sanjal campaigned to raise awareness of the democratisation process and ensure that all members of society were equipped to participate in it.
Sanjal published materials to support civic education, such as a manual for trainers, and more than 5,000 calendars advertising key constitutional dates. They then worked with local Village Development Committees to identify local people who could act as potential civic education trainers, and provided workshops for them. The materials were very popular, proving that this can be an effective way to educate people about the democratisation process.
Nepal School of Shanti (Nepal School of peace)
Nepal School of Shanti (‘Nepal School of Peace’) was set up four years ago to help train up grassroots peace activists. Sanjal works with the Christian Conference in Asia, Interfaith Cooperation, and the Mennonite Central Committee in Virginia, USA to send participants to Bangalore in India for training. The training takes three and a half months, and so far 11 people have taken part. We have conducted impact assessments in the conflict-affected districts from which these activists come, and have also developed materials to help them in their work.
All graduates of the ‘School of Peace’ are currently working as grassroots peace activists. We have learnt, however, that they need ongoing support and professional development as their work progresses.