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NDI

The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

Nepal

Nepal Page Photo
DEW-Nepal distributes voter education materials at a women’s cultural festival. Photo by L.N. Maharjan.

NDI has worked in Nepal since 1994, conducting programs for political party and parliamentary development, voter and civic education, domestic election observation, and youth and women’s political empowerment. Over the past two decades, Nepal has survived catastrophic natural disasters, considerable political turmoil, a civil war between guerrilla insurgents and the government, and the massacre of its royal family in 2001 by the heir to the throne. Although the country has weathered the political upheaval, Nepal’s continuing democratic change has been challenged by recent events.

The Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 ensured proportional representation on the basis of gender, population, ethnicity and geography, and shortly thereafter the constitutional monarch was removed altogether. In 2012, however, the Constituent Assembly was dissolved following their failure to draft a constitution. After months of political infighting, strikes and delays, a second Constituent Assembly election was held in November 2013. With more than 75 percent voter turnout, the election demonstrated the Nepali people’s commitment to advance with the constitution drafting process.

Nepal’s ability to move forward politically largely depended on the Constituent Assembly’s ability to draft a constitution, and on September 16, 2015 a new constitution was voted into effect. Despite this achievement, public confidence in the Government of Nepal’s ability to deliver relief and reconstructive services in response to the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred on April 25, 2015 and subsequent aftershocks has remained low. In June, the National Reconstruction Authority (NAR) was established, but disagreements over the appointment of the NAR chief delayed efforts to restore regular access to electricity or clean water in much of the country. In December 2015, the government appointed Sushil Gyawali to head the NAR.

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Political Party Development Program

NDI has partnered with political parties to improve party structures, promote inter-party dialogue, and increase the political participation of women, youth and other minority groups. 

In order to build the skills of party trainers in areas such as public speaking, conflict resolution, internal and external communications, and election campaigning, NDI conducted national and regional “training of trainers” workshops.  These party trainers have replicated trainings for almost 28,000 local political activists. NDI also conducted workshops on voter registration and elections to prepare more than 2,700 party activists to carry out door-to-door canvassing.

NDI organizes multi-party workshops to encourage cross-party collaboration through regular dialogues, coordinated activities and learning and sharing workshops and seminars. NDI also organized town hall forums in collaboration with locally-based civil society groups, offering citizens a chance to discuss local and national issues with political party leaders and district representatives. In advance of the national election in 2013, the Institute and the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries organized candidate debates featuring nine political parties. 

Crisis Communications

In the aftermath of the earthquake and aftershocks, NDI organized multi-party training on crisis and communication management for party spokespersons, party office secretaries and members of the information/communication and training departments. NDI has also organized a series of consultations with political parties, political leaders, and government representatives on crisis communications, including ways to communicate/inform citizens effectively.

Women's Political Participation

Women’s political participation activities served as a cornerstone of NDI’s programs in Nepal beginning in 1996. NDI helped parties train women candidates to run and serve as local elected officials. NDI also assisted parties to develop leadership training seminars for women candidates and has supported the Inter-Parliamentary Women’s Alliance since its founding in 2006. More recently, NDI supported a civil society-led campaign to push for greater representation of women in parliament during the 2013 elections.  NDI has organized national training workshops to equip women with skills and knowledge to enhance their capacity and confidence as party leaders and supports them in their discussion and formulation of joint action plans on women’s issues.

Parliamentary Strengthening

NDI  collaborated with the Parliament Secretariat and legislative leaders to increase parliament’s technical expertise and strengthen its involvement with constituents. The Institute promoted policy-focused public dialogues between former parliamentarians, political party leaders, NGOs and the local community. These dialogues allowed citizens to voice their opinions regarding key development issues in their regions and, as a result, local officials  were able to secure government support and funding for community projects.  NDI also worked with political party activists and women parliamentarians through a pilot program that helped create multi-party constituency offices for women Constituent Assembly members and produced a weekly television program that focused on women’s issues. 

Improving Electoral Processes

During the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections NDI worked with the Democracy and Elections Watch (DEW-Nepal) to help ensure greater transparency and deter misconduct. Composed of diverse organizations, the coalition deployed almost 6,000 observers to monitor activities at polling stations. The Institute also organized voter information campaign events, providing marginalized groups in the Kathmandu Valley region with information on voting and the electoral process.

In 2015, NDI was able to provide technical, logistical and material support to strengthen the Election Commission of Nepal’s (ECN) capacity to manage the electoral process by conducting a training on Election Administration and Management, and to develop and disseminate voter education materials, and to promote institutional strengthening by introducing an outline for a results management system.  The Institute also collaborated with civil society partners to provide voter registration support, and to enable community facilitators and other stakeholders to better assist marginalized communities to obtain their citizenship certificates and register to vote.

Funding

NDI’s current programming in Nepal is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Past funding has come from the United Nations World Food Programme, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom and the Canadian International Development Agency.

Contact Information

For more information about these programs, use our contact form or contact:

Kathmandu
Kenza Aqertit, Country Director
+977 1 4442 079

Washington, D.C.
Christina Costello, Program Manager
(202) 728-5677

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Our Perspective
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Published Publication Title Author
04/27/2015 NDI Offers Deepest Sympathy to the People of Nepal
Statement
National Democratic Institute
03/06/2014 Equal Access: How to Include Persons with Disabilities in Elections and Political Processes
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)
10/23/2013 Increasing Women’s Political Participation Through Effective Training Programs: A Guide to Best Practices and Lessons Learned
Training Manual
National Democratic Institute
04/03/2012 Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations and Code of Conduct for Nonpartisan Citizen Election Observers and Monitors
Declaration
10/31/2011 Empowering Women for Stronger Political Parties: A Good Practices Guide to Promote Women's Political Participation (Now available in Burmese)
Manual|Handbook
Julie Ballington
05/16/2011 Marching Ahead: A Profile Book of Women Constituent Assembly Members (Nepal)
Report
National Democratic Institute
08/01/2010 Final Report on Community Dialogue/Public Hearing & Round Table Program For Women Constituent Assembly/Parliament Members
Report
Pro Public
12/01/2008 NDI Reports: A Review of the Activities of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
Newsletter
National Democratic Institute
10/08/2008 Constituent Relations Manual: A Guide to Best Practices
Manual
National Democratic Institute
05/01/2008 Preliminary Election Observation Report: Constituent Assembly Election, April 10, 2008
Report
Democracy and Election Alliance Nepal (DEAN)
08/01/2007 NDI Elections Watch: Nepal 2007
Newsletter
National Democratic Institute
10/21/2006 Outstanding Issues in Nepal Temper Enthusiasm over Recent Progress
Report
Greenberg, Quilin, Rosner Research
12/01/2005 NDI 2005 Annual Report
Report
National Democratic Institute
10/27/2005 Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observers
Manual|Handbook
07/27/2005 The Need for Reconciliation is Immediate
Testimony
Thomas A. Daschle
05/25/2005 Statement before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on Recent Developments in Nepal
Testimony
National Democratic Institute
01/21/2005 Rising Concern about Maoist Strength; Unease over Elections Prior to Peace: Report on the Second Survey and Set of Focus Groups
Report
Greenberg, Quilin, Rosner Research
11/01/2004 Women Can Win! A Campaign Manual for Women Candidates in the Nepali Local Government Elections
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute
08/16/2004 Faith in Democracy Endures, In Spite of Disappointments: Report on the Baseline Survey and Focus Groups
Report
Greenberg, Quilin, Rosner Research
05/01/2004 Legislative Public Outreach on Poverty Issues, Parliaments and Poverty Series, Toolkit No. 3
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)