After being in Baglung for almost a week now, I’m struck by the huge number of Nepalese NGOs working in the district. Yogendra told me the other day that there are over 600 and walking in Baglung you notice many of their offices. When he first told me this number I was taken aback. With somewhere around 350,000 people in the district, that comes out to roughly one NGO per 580 people. Why would there be a need for so many organizations?
Finally it dawned on me the other day during the meeting with the UN and community leaders: there really is not local government. The state is invisible aside from the police and army barracks in town. Essentially, the government does nothing for the people. The Nepali people have grown accustomed to the decades of mismanagement and corruption and they know they must rely on themselves.
And there is no shortage of human resources to build a stronger civil society. While the board members of these organizations are usually of the older generation, I see mostly young people trying to bring about change in Nepal, be it in the COCAP office in Kathmandu or here in Baglung at CYC. And rightly so because most of Nepalis live in remote rural villages, requiring a one day jeep ride followed by a one day hike. High on enthusiasm, what they lack is the training and financial resources to fully utilize their human capital.
Salaries are low, if paid at all, infrastructure is basic and their communication technology is limited to the phone, maybe fax. Imagine doing your job without the internet? How many days do you go without checking your email at work? These organizations are part of human rights or peace networks, which makes communication, coordination and collaboration that much more important.
If I do one thing this summer, I hope to get a communications and institutional development proposal approved for funding by a donor organization. Yogendra and I are currently working on it.
Posted By Tassos Coulaloglou
Posted Jun 19th, 2007