In this series of blog posts, we shall be featuring plans and visions of municipalities, COMMITTED is working with in the ‘EnLoG-SDEG’ (Enhancement of Local Governance, Service Delivery and Economic Governance) project.
Bhimeshwor Municipality in Dolakha District of Province 3 is one of the 22 municipalities COMMITTED has been working with since the project commenced last summer. The municipality comprises of 9 wards with a total of 8,639 households.
The municipality is led by an energetic Mayor and has some unique plans and exemplary approach to the generation of Own Source Revenues (OSR). The plans, as the ward chairmen have reinforced, seek to mobilize and take advantage of, as much as possible, locally available resources, both natural and man-made.
At the ward level, a number of wards seek to stimulate its local economy by focusing on and promoting tourism. An ethnic themed museum and home stays has been envisioned in Ward 1 taking advantage of the fact that the majority of the population belong to the Thami caste (an indigenous tribe mainly living in the villages of Dolakha District in East-Central Nepal). Likewise, they hope to promote Ward 2 as a religious and cultural tourist destination owing to its high number of temples. Similarly, Ward 3 and 6 have also been earmarked for tourism development owing to its geography and the existence of hotels.
A number of wards will focus on agriculture-related activities. Ward 4 as agricultural hub and 5 for livestock farming. Taking advantage of its abundance in water sources trout aquaculture farms have been planned for Ward 7. Ward 8 is to be cattle and Kiwi fruit focused, as well as marketing it as a ‘film city’ for the movie productions owing to its scenic location. Finally, potato farming and production of potato chips and other products has been planned for Ward 9.
At the municipality level, the Mayor has envisioned a hydroelectricity plant (Tama Koshi hydroelectric plant) for energy self-sufficiency, along with establishment and promotion of residential schools catering to wealthy families living in Kathmandu Valley for additional job creation and income generation.
In doing all that, Bhimeshwor Municipality is showing how devolution of power from the center and entrusting local bodies to be self-reliant and autonomous could work to bring about growth, development and progress of outlying communities far removed from Kathmandu Valley.
For more on above, please follow the links below:
Click here to read a blog post about COMMITTED producing Map of Local Governments.
Click here to go to a Facebook post of Municipal Round Table Discussion.
Click here to go to a Facebook post of the visit to remaining municipalities.
Click here to read a blog about EnLoG-SDEG.
The launching, in June 2017, of a new sub-national governance program in collaboration with The Asia Foundation (TAF) marked another milestone in the expansion of COMMITTED. Titled, ‘Enhancement of Local Government Service Delivery and Economic Governance (EnLoG-SDEG),’ the project is funded by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) since improvement of governance and policy implementation is one of Australia’s several development assistance deliverables in Nepal. Thus, EnLoG-SDEG program is COMMITTED’s joint collaboration with DFAT-TAF partnership that will work to build the capacity of several municipalities all over the country.
Local representatives with COMMITTED team members during the interaction program at Ramgram municipality.
Reproduced below is the DFAT overview of the program as it appears on their web site.
“Effective and stable governance that delivers services effectively and equitably across the country continues to be a challenge for Nepal. Helping to improve governance and policy implementation is a new objective for Australia.
“Over the course of 2017 we will develop a new program of support that focuses on promoting an enabling environment for strong, effective, and inclusive sub-national governance. We will help sub-national levels of government to improve service delivery and economic governance which will contribute to inclusive local economic development and poverty reduction. Where possible, we will encourage strengthened disaster risk governance policies, systems and processes. This is a large scale and long-term agenda which will require flexibility in order to respond to opportunities and constraints associated with the volatility of Nepal’s political processes. Technical assistance will also be utilised to meet identified gaps, especially if proposed changes to government structures and the constitution occur. This assistance will be targeted and flexible, responding to demand at the sub-national level.”
The EnLoG-SDEG program’s first phase seeks to involve newly elected representatives including the mayors and deputy mayors for a strong internal and external governance and development of their municipalities. The long term goals of the multi-year project are to:
In line with the aforementioned activities, COMMITTED’s team of urban planners, governance, finance and M&E experts took the first field visits of the program starting on August 1. Accompanied by TAF’s team, COMMITTED’s team conducted meetings and discussions in 18 of planned 22 municipalities. The interaction was based on various issues such as the vision and promises made by the elected officials in the pre-election phase and how they were considering gathering the resources to fulfill promises made, along with gender and social inclusion activities, development of infrastructure and services such as education, health, sanitation, transportation, drinking water facilities etc.
The team managed to pull through the 18 locations during the monsoon rain, despite facing landslides and floods as well as accommodation problems. After surpassing the 18, COMMITTED will be visiting the remaining four municipalities of Province 1 and 2 in November.