The Civil Society : Mutual Accountability Project (CS:MAP) is a five- year project supported by the USAID and implemented by FHI360. CS:MAP’s goal is to foster a more legitimate, accountable, and resilient Nepali Civil Society that is capable of advancing the public interest. This grant to the South Asia Partnership- Nepal is issued under the ‘Strengthening Enabling Environment’ grants fund to contribute to the project’s Objective 1: Strengthened enabling environment for civil society and media.
Aim and Objectives
The aim of this grant is to strengthen enabling environment for civil society organizations in Nepal.
Objectives are :
- Improved legal and policy framework, based on international standards to create an enabling environment for civil society
- Improved public understanding and confidence in the role of civil society organizations
- Improved self- regulation of the sector and internal governance of CSOs
Project Duration : December 16,2016 to March 15, 2019
In an oscillating debate on “states vs. market”, over the last three decades, NGOs have effectively made their presence as an alternative mechanism to development. Instead of dealing with a cumbersome bureaucratic machinery of the state and pecuniary motives of the private sector, even donors have found NGOs to be a convenient vehicle. In the case of Nepal, one can find a mushrooming growth of NGOs particularly after the reinstitution of multiparty democracy in 1990. There are 39,763 NGOs and 254 INGOs registered with the Social Welfare Council (Source: Kantipur Daily August 28, 2016). Presently, all social organizations or NGOs in Nepal operate under one or more of the following Acts or their Regulations: i) Social Registration Act 2034 and Regulations ii) Social Welfare Act 2044 and Regulations iii) Company Act and Regulations 2022. All aforementioned laws and regulation are more focused on controlling NGOs than creating enabling environment for NGOs to play significant role with space in democratic institutions.
Constitution has stated that NGOs and INGOs will be focused only in the areas of national needs and priority adopting a one-door policy for the establishment, endorsement, engagement, regulation and management of such organizations. It has also emphasized to make investment and role of such organizations accountable and transparent. Again, right to freedom clause (d) has stated freedom to form union and associations. It clearly indicates that there should be proper interpretation of these terminologies to ensure more liberating environment for Civil Society Organizations to play dynamic role in sustainable development of the country.
There is large number of CSOs dedicated for empowerment of poor and marginalized communities. However, there are also challenges of syndicated membership, weak internal accountability, nepotism and family hegemony, taking partisan views, vulnerable to politicization in NGO sector. In this context, Civil Society Mutual Accountability Promotion project aims to strengthen enabling environment for civil society. Through this grant, SAP-Nepal will implement activities to prepare draft recommendations for creating favorable legal environment for CSOs while adopting new constitution considering aspects like federalism and “reasonable restrictions”, interpretation of “working only in the areas of national need and priority” and interpretation of Social Development Bill and Right to Information. Series of consultations focused on GESI target groups mainly women, person with disabilities, chepang, elderly, etc will be organized for collating citizens’ concerns while reforming these legal provisions. Training tailored for champion political leaders and parliament members will be delivered and these leaders will be engaged in lobbying for CSO friendly legal provisions. Selected 30 CSOs in Makwanpur will be trained on series of social accountability tools mainly Citizen Report Card and Social Audit for improving internal accountability that will later contribute in developing internal accountability frameworks for the CSOs in Nepal.