Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (BRWSSP)

Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (BRWSSP)

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Resource Integration Center
YEARS: 2009-2010
GRANT AMOUNT: $97,000
THEMES: Infrastructure; Natural Resources

The Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program (BRWSPP) is funded by the World Bank and has a lifespan of four years, from July 2012 to June 2016. The project aims to ensure reliable access to arsenic-free, safe water in the rural areas of Bangladesh. The BRWSSP project included the construction of water supply systems, technical assistance for stakeholders and rapid response for disasters, emergencies and other catastrophic events. The project has realized significant challenges in terms of access (e.g. irregular activity, planned wells never constructed), quality (e.g. iron in water, irregular quality control mechanisms), and sustainability (e.g. water user committee functioning, weak systems for user fee collection).

Strategy
Under the CARTA program, the Resource Integration Center solicited community feedback to improve the responsiveness of the service providers. The specific objectives were to:

  • Monitor and compare the quality and results of existing social mobilization processes through a Citizen Report Card (CRC) survey in targeted areas
  • Introduce community score cards (CSC) to facilitate constructive engagement between service users/recipients and providers to monitor water supply services in completed pipe schemes

Results
The third party monitoring conducted through the sub-project collected data and provided recommendations on, inter alia, community awareness, water accessibility and quality, transparency and accountability of the water user committees (WUCs) and scheme sustainability.

The primary outcomes included:

  • Water User Committees reformed to include 30% of female members
  • Communication among user groups, water user committees (WUCs), civil society organizations (CSO) and the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) increased
  • Monitoring increased to improve service quality
  • Damaged water purification plant repaired through a water user committee initiative

Lessons
As a result of the sub-project, officials realized the value of functional water user committees for the proper implementation of BRWSSP and the sustainability of the project. Eventually, these committees will have to take over the management and operation of the water system once an 18-year concession ends. Thus, it is likely that the service providers and users may want to capitalize on the improvements made to the BRWSSP project. In addition, many local officials expressed their interest for extending the TPM in other development projects in order to improve the quality of services.

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Rural Access Improvement and Decentralization Project (RAIDP)

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: SKY-Samaj Nepal
YEARS: 2012-2013
GRANT AMOUNT: $150,000
THEMES: Infrastructure

The Rural Access Improvement and Decentralization Project (RAIDP) aims to improve services related to health, education, agriculture and good governance in Nepal. Over the project period (2005 to 2013), over 2 million Nepalis have utilized improved rural transport infrastructures and services produced by the program, in turn enhancing their access to economic opportunities.

Despite the project’s success, there are known accountability and capacity issues that prevented the effectiveness of community based organizations (CBOs), including:

  • Inconsistent monitoring processes without clear responsibilities delegated to CBO members
  • Lack of CBO knowledge on the Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF)
  • No formal mechanism for grievance submission and redress; few (verbally submitted) grievances resolved
  • Insufficient training and ill defined CBO responsibilities in ensuring quality road construction
  • Lack of standard tools to measure road construction quality

Strategy
The objective of the CARTA sub-project was to strengthen the capacity of community based organizations (CBOs) to monitor the civil work and contract processes under RAIDP and to facilitate access to relevant agencies for grievances redress. The specific goals were to:

  • Support 80 CBOs to understand the policy and principles in the Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF), and their roles and responsibilities;
  • Capacitate CBOs for understanding quality of construction work by providing training based on specific training manual;
  • Capacitate the CBOs for monitoring the labor contract process and payment of the contractors;
  • Support the CBOs to collect and report grievances and to assist them in understanding any malpractice.

Results
The overall results of the sub-project were positive. Two surveys conducted provided comparison data that demonstrated increased knowledge and skill levels after training interventions. For instance, 97% of CBO members had knowledge of the Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF), compared to the 28% prior the sub-project implementation. Likewise, 92% of community based organization (CBO) members had knowledge of the quality of civil work and community monitoring methods, compared to 26% at the baseline. All CBOs received and discussed contract documents by the end of the sub-project, in contrast to 27% before CARTA. Prior to CARTA, CBOs were not assigned roles to monitor civil work and only 60% of road projects were displayed on the information boards. By the end of the sub-project, 84% of CBOs were assigned monitoring roles and 96% of the road projects were displayed on the boards.

In addition, there was major improvement on the number of recorded and redressed grievances. For example, before the intervention, all grievances were verbal and hardly ever addressed. At the end of the sub-project, 187 grievances were recorded, 89% of them being addressed. As a result of the increased number of valid filed grievances, the Local Development Officer and the District Technical Office chief carried out additional monitoring visits at the district level.

Lessons
Media mobilization and awareness raising activities created the demand for tools used in CARTA. For example, many community based organizations (CBOs) in non sub-project locations requested trainings on the Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) and on the use of a Labor Based Toolkit (LBT). Responding to the demand, LBT activities were replicated in other RAIDP road projects. This newly created demand for capacity building activities reflects the intrinsic and extrinsic values of citizen empowerment that allows for communities to demand and contribute to better governance and service delivery.

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Social Investment Program Project (SIPP-II)

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Bangladesh Disaster Preparedness Centre
YEARS: 2014-2015
GRANT AMOUNT: $90,000
THEMES: Infrastructure; Social Saftey Nets

Poverty alleviation is the greatest challenge Bangladesh currently faces. Although Bangladesh has shown impressive economic and social gains, the level of poverty continues to be a challenge with 32% of the total population living below the poverty line in 2010.  The objective of the Social Investment Program Project (SIPP II) is to improve the livelihoods and quality of life, and build resilience to climate variability, natural hazards and other shocks experienced by the rural poor. The first phase of SIPP, approved in 2003, primarily focused on the critical small-scaled infrastructure services, and social assistance given to the rural poor.  The second phase aims to empower the community and prioritize support to the poor by building and strengthening systems and linkages with other funded programs. Micro-credit schemes have been an important tool for poverty eradication and a central pillar of SIPP II.

Strategy
The CARTA sub-project was designed to improve the existing governance practices of the village-level institution, focusing on the micro-credit scheme under SIPP-II. The specific objectives were to:

  • Assess the transparency and accountability of funds management established in the framework of the micro-credit scheme
  • Improve the capacity of existing village micro-credit supervision structures to ensure transparency and accountability of the micro-credit scheme at the village level

Results
The sub-project perception survey provided valuable insights about the perceptions and experiences of beneficiaries, non-beneficiaries and village level committee members. Through the data collection process, it was noticed that many officials and elites were reluctant to cooperate with the evaluation process, which had a negative effect on the beneficiary willingness to participate freely. The survey only provided a snapshot of the micro-credit scheme so no value judgment can be inferred from the effects of the capacity building element of the CARTA sub-project.

Lessons
Although some community beneficiaries were organized in monitoring groups (Sachetan Dals) and received capacity building training on social accountability tools, SIPP-II policies, human rights and good governance, it is too early to know whether they will disseminate their knowledge or take a sustained and active monitoring role in the community. However, the perception survey painted a bleak picture of the viability of the program if no program reform is made. Only 39% committee members admitted that the loans are used for right purpose and they duly monitor the loans. In addition, 27% of committee members believe that the loan is a grant so it doesn’t have to be repaid.

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Curbing Corruption in Forestry Management through User Groups in Nepal

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Forest Action
YEARS: 2010-2011
GRANT AMOUNT: $29,625
THEMES: Natural Resources

Forest Action, a local Nepalese CSO, has successfully engaged communities to tackle the problem of willful mismanagement of forest resources in the Morang District in Nepal. Through its targeted intervention, balancing constructive engagement, awareness raising and capacity building of citizens and community members to meaningfully participate in the management of forestry resources, Forest Action has laid a strong basis to curb corruption in the long run and enable communities to demand transparency, inclusion and accountability from service providers and government authorities regulating the forestry sector.

Corruption Problem Addressed
It is now widely recognized that to successfully protect and manage community forest resources, local people must be fully involved. Drawing on this insight, Nepal’s 1976 National Forestry Plan made space for local people to participate in the management of forest resources. This was followed by the landmark Forest Act in 1993, calling for Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) to be created with a view to managing use and development of community forest resources. Thus, on paper, CFUGs were empowered to manage and protect community forest areas. However, a lack of accountability and transparency and a high level of corruption, especially in the Terai (Jungle area), have hobbled the effectiveness of these groups. In March 2010 Forest Action set out to change this, piloting the reform of a CFUG, the Dhankheti CFUG, in the Morang District of Nepal.

Based on an initial survey, Forest Action found that forest officials, timber smugglers, local elites and the Dhankheti CFUG Executive Committee members were all involved in a well organized illegal timber trade network. In many cases, the local elites used the smugglers to poach timber. At the same time, forest officials had encouraged some of the local operators to engage in illegal logging from which they were able to extract sizable benefits for themselves.

The CFUG and the forest authority had failed to stop these practices. According to the Federation of Community Forest User Groups Nepal, the Dhankheti CFUG was indeed one of the worst performing CFUGs in the country.

Actions Taken by Forest Action
Forest Action discussed these issues with the CFUG, inviting its members to reconsider their tolerance of illegal logging and poor forest management practices. These deliberations were shared with a wider public through TV, FM radio and local newspapers, thereby amplifying the issues and pressurizing the CFUG members and the forest officials to change their behavior.

Forest Action mounted a training program for the CFUG members and other stakeholders aimed at raising awareness and building institutional and technical capacities for good governance. Members were taught book-keeping and participatory action learning techniques were used to teach the CFUG to become more accountable and transparent.

Specific activities included:

  • Launching FM radio programs to create awareness on corruption in community forestry and explain what might be done to curb it.
  • Forming a sub-district level network of CFUGs and a watch-dog committee to monitor and minimize forest corruption within the area.
  • Undertaking public audit and public hearing activities to promote the accountability and transparency of the stakeholders, particularly the CFUG Executive Committees.
  • Promoting self-monitoring of the day-to-day operations of the CFUGs. To this end, guidelines and good governance indicators were drafted in association with CFUGs and FECOFUN and piloted in the CFUG.
  • Establishing an information hub to promote knowledge sharing and develop policy briefs for wider dissemination.

Impact and Results Achieved
The main impact of the project in the first year has been the communities’ and stakeholders’ increased understanding of the corruption issues being practiced by CFUG Executive Committee members.

CFUGs have successfully instituted new local rules for corruption-free delivery of CFUG services, and for the planning and management of their community forest which have led to increased forest-related benefits to the poor and marginalized households. These households have been given a greater voice in decision-making processes and are able to influence decisions. Members of the CFUGs were furthermore empowered to more effectively deal with the forest authority representatives and forest traders.

The promotion of CFUG networks and multi-stakeholder watch-dog committees is playing a vital role in increasing transparency, accountability and overall control of corruption by curbing incidences of bribery, illegal logging and timber smuggling.

To institutionalize good governance within the CFUGs, Forest Action has focused on improving the internal processes such as meetings and better record keeping, promoting villagers’ participation. Public audits and public hearings have been initiated. All these activities have served to give community members a greater stake in and ownership of the community’s forest resources including the poor, women and marginalized groups.

CFUGs have now started to maintain a minimum standard of organization, including following legal provisions and operational plans as well as keeping proper financial records. A majority of Executive Committee members are now well informed about CFUG finances. A survey found that 75% of Executive Committee members were aware of the CFUG decisions regarding forest resources compared to the earlier situation in which this information was monopolized by the ‘major three’, namely the Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer of anyone CFUG.

About half of the total budget is spent on community development works. More than half their members have a basic knowledge of their rights and responsibilities. Gender and social inclusion has also improved remarkably – more than half of the committees’ members are women and include significantly more Dalits, Janajatis and other minorities than was the case before the project started. Importantly, Forest Action reports that at least 75% of meeting minutes and general assembly decisions are being implemented.

Public hearing and public auditing system are now in place for the first time in the history of CFUGs. They have now started internal auditing and once the reports are produced, they are made public.  A Forest Action survey found that as a result of all these initiatives illegal logging and the smuggling of timber had decreased by 80% in the project area. For the first time, CFUG members have launched organized protest actions against involvement of forest authorities in deforestation and forest corruption, and against policies promulgated by forest authorities detrimental to rights and interest of community forest users. The iron triangle of forest sector corruption (political elite, commercial interests, forest authorities) has been greatly weakened and, with further sustained efforts, it can be entirely removed.

A Forest Operational Plan has been prepared by the CFUG. This is a five year plan for the conservation and management of the forest resources in their area. The CFUG has developed a process for marketing forest products and products are distributed according to committee decision.

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Promoting Transparency and Accountability for Right Based Community Forestry in Nepal (Phase 2)

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Forest Action Nepal
YEARS: 2012-2013
GRANT AMOUNT: $34,996
THEME:  Natural Resources

As of 2012, Nepal ranks at 141st place among 176 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), according to Transparency International (TI), a global corruption watchdog. India is ranked at 94th place in the list and China at 80th place. Similarly, Pakistan is ranked in the 139th position alongside Nepal. Afghanistan and Bangladesh are the only South Asian countries that are more corrupt than Nepal in the region. The report states that lack of accountable leadership and effective public institutions in these countries underscore the need to take a much stronger stance against corruption. Corruption in public offices, level of corruption, action against corruption and its output, government’s anti-corruption initiatives, administrative corruption, political corruption, bribing in import and export, and irregularities in contract awards have all contributed in making Nepal one of the most corrupt nations in the region. The Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) also states that the situation in Nepal is worsening. It is because of the political transition, impunity and lack of accountability. Nepalese history shows that during the political instability the deforestation and forest product smuggling in Terai is very high. Though small one, the relevancy of this project in the Terai in this transitional period has a great value.

The 2nd phase of the project has begun after almost a year gap from the 1st phase. Though a small and short-term initiative, the 1st phase project was the first project addressing the issues of corruption and accountability in the history of forestry sector in Nepal. Due to this long gap, the effort of 1st quarter was revived during the second phase. In recent days, addressing corruption in the forestry sector is in high priority of Government of Nepal as well. The recruitment of human resources, finalization of additional CFUGs for the second phase, conducting baseline for the additional CFUGs, project reflection/inception meetings and consolidation of the achievements of the 1st phase etc. were major activities carried out during the second phase.

Nepal is in the path of constitution making. This quarter was critical for the nation. The constituent assembly (CA) had to provide constitution to the nation during this period, which ultimately failed to do so. The whole quarter passed through the strikes, demonstrations, blockades and agitations. Ultimately the CA assembly collapsed without bringing the new constitution. This also hampered the project activities in the field. During this quarter there was almost 45 days strike all over the country. So, major chunk of the time of the 3rd quarter was spent on the review of past events and documents as the field activities were seriously hampered. Focused intervention for new CFUGs, their orientation, support for the preparation of operational plan and constitution for registration and other capacity enhancement efforts were made during this quarter. The decision of DFO for pending the registration of new CFUG due to the irregularity has been changed after monitoring of project intervention CFUGs as 3 CFUGs got approval for formal registration. Likewise, technical support was also provided in the areas like – support for CF handing over process, completion of household survey for new CFUGs, wellbeing ranking, providing support for preparing constitution of CFUG, CF boundary survey, preparing forest resource inventory and data analysis, and CF operation plan preparation which are not actually accounted in the overall project framework. This quarter was more challenging because of some due activities as well as the festive and harvesting season. Despite this challenge most of the remaining activities have been either completed or merged into the plan of the next quarter. Project action plan has been reviewed in consultation with the project team and partner.

Similarly, a team of PTF consisting of Dr Fred Temple and Ms Laura Tashjian visited ForestAction (FA) and interacted with the project and FA Team. One-day field visit was also organized and the PTF team provided encouragement and feedbacks to the project team. The team interacted with project field team, FECOFUN, intervention CFUG and non-intervention CFUG.

The increasing institutionalization of public audit and public hearing gives hope for both project and stakeholders for the sustainability of the project. In this quarter many public audit events were organized at CFUGs level to make their decisions and income and expenditure transparent. The discussion and issues raised during the event is quite encouraging especially the appreciation of the project intervention for organizing such events to aware and empower people. Similarly, training on “public account management” provided to all 9 CFUGs to provide support for conducting and institutionalize public audit and/or public hearing activities further helped to enhance their capacity to carry out the task more efficiently. The anti corruption campaign was carried out in focused and targeted way with the engagement of a team of anti-corruption volunteer who received PAL training. The organization of series of campaigns at both clusters to raise awareness and pressurize the groups and persons who has been involved in such wrong doings was both essential and challenging. The process of facilitating CFUGs to declare as corruption free zone forestry sector was quite new and challenging for all of the project professionals and forest authority. After series of discussion a team drafted white paper to do so. At the same time project team has also been coordinating with district forest authority to institutionalize the learning of the project in the overall system. The piloting of preparing self-monitoring tool kit was also finalized and shared to district forest authority as well to practice in non-project intervention CFUGs. It is very important achievement for the project that all the stakeholders including district and regional forest authorities realized that the issue in which the project is working is pertinent for more than 17,000 CFUGs all over Nepal. They found the project very relevant to address the issue to fight with irregularity and lack of transparency and good governance not only in CFUGs but also in overall forestry sector. The major challenge faced by the project is increasing monitory demand and threatening from the armed group (so called political party of Limbuwan Salvation Front).

To sum up, the project has been implemented very smoothly with positive impression to the wider level of stakeholders and achieved remarkable outputs. Though the project was so ambitious, all the activities were carried out efficiently and effectively. Activities like declaration of corruption free zone, finalization of self-assessment guideline and procedure, preparations of documentary film etc. were challenging for the project team but accomplished successfully. The major event in the field was also to organize and have fruitful discussion on “Anti-corruption Bill, 2011 and Right to Information (RTI) Act 2008” at the Regional level. All the participants like Regional Forest Director, DFO, FECOFUN representatives from Morang, Jhapa and Sunsari and journalists participated actively in the meeting and realized the need of dissemination of such provisions at local level as well. Similarly, the piloting of self-monitoring tool kit is almost in final stage. DFO has adopted the guideline and used first time to select best CFUG in the district. A detail assessment of 28 CFUGs has been conducted in association with District Forest Office using the Self-governance Assessment Tool designed during the course of the project. Dhankheti CFUG (listed as one of the weakest and corrupted CFUG before 3 years), in which the project has initiated its intervention, has been ranked as a best CFUG and won the prize.

The declaration of corruption-free zone has been a major challenge for both project personnel and CFUGs. After series of discussions 3 CFUGs from the project intervention area declared them as corruption free zone with a 22 points declaration. The declaration has been displayed in public place and signed by each household of the CFUG members. It is challenging but expected that it will be translated into practice and upscaled in the upcoming days.  Likewise, a 25-minute video on the success and lessons of the project has been prepared capturing situation before 3 years, project intervention and changes that happened during the course of the project. Makalu TV has broadcast this documentary film.

During the project period a series of multi-stakeholder watchdog committee interactions and interaction with forest authority were held. The engagement of multi-stakeholders team like: community forest user groups, District Forest Office (DFO), political party representatives and FECOFUN to rendezvous the need of the forestry sector is realized by different stakeholders as a beauty of this project. The interface with these various actors on the forestry related corruption issues has sensitized the concerned stakeholders about their responsibility and accountability towards better forest resource management. The corruption issues at local level have been unveiled gradually. During the discussion with multi-stakeholders watchdog committee it was found that the misconducts and corruption issues are almost the same at the local government level.  The multi-stakeholder watchdog committee could be an overall catalytic agent to fight the local level corruption. The limited resources, small target group and small project are some of the constraints of the project. A one-year small intervention with a small resource will not be enough to institutionalize the anti-corruption mechanism. It should be upscaled with large resources as well as reasonable geographical coverage. The uncertainty of the next phase may hamper the continuation of these achievements that needs a bit long intervention to make it sustained.

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Promoting Transparency and Accountability for Right Based Community Forestry in Nepal

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Forest Action Nepal
YEARS: 2010-2011
GRANT AMOUNT: $34,996
THEME: Natural Resources

According to the Corruption Perceptions Index 2010, published by the Transparency International Nepal has stood 146th among 180 countries. It was ranked 143rd in 2009, 121st in 2008, 131st in 2007. The report states political instability, lack of political will and ineffective anti-corruption initiatives are the major factors of corruption. Corruption in public offices, level of corruption, action against corruption and its output, government anti-corruption initiatives, administrative corruption, political corruption, bribing in import and export, and irregularities in contract awards have all contributed to making Nepal one of the most corrupt nations in the region.

The corruption is widespread at all levels, which is characterized by social and political instability, bickering people’s representatives, unresponsiveness of the authority, abuse of power, and unemployment. All the major political parties are involved in corruption rather than to control corruption. Forestry sector is considered as one of most corrupted sector in Nepal. During the whole year of 2010 forest sector corruption especially in the Terai has become a major headline of local and national newspaper. Terai forest has been the attraction of bureaucrats, politicians, technicians and local leaders from several years. They don’t hesitate to take any steps to use this resource for their personal benefit. Illegal logging, revenue leakage, false measurement, authorization bribery, poor account keeping etc. are major forms of forestry sector corruption. Several Forest Officers and management committee members of several forest groups suspended and people themselves punish the culprits in several cases.

The legacy of poor governance and corruption has remained in the forestry sector even though the current trend of forestry in Nepal is moving from state control to participatory management. Despite the government has handed over approximately 22{feea96bd7ce234d33488972a91b10e24d555bf5cbb80bb42aaf8e4333debf8a6} forest of the country as community forest to the local forest users, and more than 15000 community forest user groups (CFUGs) have been established so far, poor governance have been reflected in the form of exclusion, domination, exploitation, inequity, injustice, non-transparency and inadequate participation and poor rule of law. An iron triangle of deep-rooted corruption alliances across government forest bureaucracy, community elites and private business groups is still operating even in globally renowned and successful program of community forestry. Often nexus between forest smugglers, corrupt government officials, and corrupt local leaders have resulted into the illegal extraction of timber from the community forests. The problem is more severe in the CFUGs who are informally managing forests in the name of protection committees or have registered with the government but yet to get community forest (CF) formally handed over.

During the first quarter of the project some preparatory work has been done to drive the project on right tract. Formal partnership has been established with Federation of Community Forest Users, (FECOFUN), and joint memorandum of understanding has been signed between the two organizations for the implementation of this project. Major chunk of the time of this quarter has spent on recruitment of human resources both at the national and the field level, designing and conducting baseline survey, project inception meetings at ForectAction, FECOFUN and cluster level. An independent professional has been hired for the baseline survey who has submitted a report. Similarly, reflection workshops had been conducted at both clusters to open up discourses on the issues revolving around community forestry. In this workshop representative of CFUGs had reviewed over their plans, policies, activities, issues, challenges and opportunities and prepared upcoming agenda to plan for the future. Likewise, an introductory radio programme Samudaik Ban Jagaran (Responsive Community Forest) has been prepared and aired from FM Radio. This programme amplified the situation of corruption, transparency and accountability in forestry sector focusing on community forestry in Morang district with the voices of different stakeholders.

During second quarter the real intervention begun. It is understood that irregularity in community forestry begins from the formation of community forest user group. Local elites controls over the groups in close coordination with timber traders and forest authority. The other irregularities include in formation of policy and work plan, decision making, account keeping and cutting, distributing and selling of forest products. During the preparation of situation analysis profile and reflective workshops many issues opened for wide discussion. During the course of the project both people and forest authority realized the need of urgent intervention especially in the area of governance and transparency including account keeping, public audit, process, decision and monitoring related tools, skills and technology.

As this quarter’s activities have been focused more on the local issues of governance, transparency and corruption more reflections from the community received and tried to go deeper to the issues. Network and coordination linkage with district forest authority, local government, NGOs and CBOs and private sector established during this quarter. Terai forestry sector corruption got height in this period so we felt need of a regional level workshop to discuss on the agenda. This one-day workshop held in Biratnagar with 5 working papers form DFO, Journalist, Forest Activist, independent consultant and forest practitioner.  It has provided a reflection on the situation of forestry sector corruption in the eastern Terai and measures to mitigate to these problems. Before this workshop a case from the project site captured in the documentary video (in association with other agencies too), TV and newspapers. FM radio programme also heighted about this programme. These all efforts helped to amplify the issue and alarm the community and related authority to address the concern.

During the third quarter different activities like FM radio programme, reflective interactions of network and watchdog committee, campaign against corruption, PAL trainings, self-monitoring process, information hub, case studies etc have been conducted. This programme amplified the situation of corruption, transparency and accountability in forestry sector focusing on community forestry in Morang district with the voices of different stakeholders.

Due to volatile political situation it is non-stop and getting into peak. It is also linked with the basic needs of the people of rural Nepal and are an important source of jobs and income. The rise of price of timber product also made this profession more lucrative. On one hand some people/ groups are heavily engaged in conservation of forest resource on the other hand forest some ill intentioned members of user groups, political party members, saw mill owners and forest authority are looking for the conducive environment for making money from this resource. The poor governance of this valuable resource has led to widespread illegal exploitation of forest products especially in Terai by powerful groups and individuals for financial gain and by local communities for their subsistence. This has been particularly widespread during the periods of political instability.

During the 4th quarter a small information hub has been established at FECOFUN Morang and made accessible to public. The FM radio programme continued and widely heard and discussed on the issue community focused radio scheme for which reordered radio programme provided to the CFUG. FECOFUN have taken the overall responsibility of the information hub. The information hub will be strengthened in upcoming days with documents related to corruption and good governance focusing on existing situation, situation analysis, practice and lessons from others, audio visual materials, process of change. Similarly, related laws, bylaws, guidelines, district plans, village plans, CFUG plans and other information will be made available in the hub for public access and response. Now, it is equipped with computer, radios with CD players and newspapers and news cuttings.

A policy brief is under preparation but it’s too early to link this very small practice into the policy. But this endeavour initiates the discourse on increasing bad governance of the community forestry and knocks the authority and stakeholders for taking necessary way forward for fighting community forestry regulatory issues and corruption.

Although linking with the journalist with the project implementing partners and the local communities has not been visualized in this year it happened due to the severity of the issue in the region. Both print, TV and FM radio programme has been linked with and highlighted the issue. This process is very effective and needs to continue in upcoming days as well. A video has been produces in association with FECOFUN on deforestation and forestry sector corruption. Similarly, 4 episodes of FM radio programme have been produced and broadcasted including round table discussion of CFUG with forest authority.  All the result envisioned in the project for the first year has been achieved.

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