IN A LOW-INCOME COUNTRY LIKE NEPAL
2000 / Regina Mueller
In Nepalese culture
a sense of voluntarism and social thinking is anchored as
a legacy of history. Nowadays, social structures change rapidly
and extended families--traditionally responsible for their
own members' social well-being--get more and more lost. In
nuclear units where father and mother have to earn money outside
of the house, children, disabled and aging people are left
behind, uncared for and isolated.
For some years,
Nepal has witnessed a proliferation of non-governmental organizations
which claim to provide the necessary social services. The
Government is not (yet) able--for many different reasons---to
cover all the needs of its citizens, but is actively involved
in delivering services through its democratic, decentralised
In the presented
papers---based on grassroots-level experiences---possible
ways are shown to provide private support without struggling
through bureaucracy, and to build up the confidence and self-esteem
of the people. The situation in this low-income country can
be compared to other new or reestablished democracies and
may serve as an example for some aspects of the development
of neighborhood and community support systems.
Questions for discussion:
How can small private support systems reach the global MUST
of sustainable improvement of input into the project(s)?
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages
of donors' influence over plannings, programs and activities
of a private association in social services, specifically
a private community support system.
3. What benefits could result out of the
undesirable principle of 'indiscriminate all-round distribution'?
OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT INTO STRUCTURES
is a dynamic process, whereas 'structure' is a stable frame
of rules and regulations. It seems, therefore, to be a contrast
to bring development into binding structures which may block
it, but in reality this has to be done when organizations
develop social activities. Depending on laws, rules and regulations
means putting a lot of energy into initiating development
and implementing plans of action.
and private organizations (NGOs) therefore search to follow
the line of least resistance, finding their own way and avoiding
the complicated process of close cooperation with official
bodies and even with other NGOs.
A government itself
intends policies on promoting the necessity of involving NGOs'
power into the national concept. The recognition of the importance
of NGOs and the private sector in the social field should
encourage networking and facilitate development at the grassroots
level. Rules and regulations, encouragement and knowledge
are still not sufficient to implement new spirit in a fledgling
democracy or in a war-stricken country which badly needs to
cooperate in networking among governement, NGOs and the private
sector. There is still a wide gap between wishful thinking
and reality in the expectation of the government and the actual
capacity of concerned and involved private sectors. As a result,
there is no meaningful exchange of experiences between them.
SAMPLE OF A GOVERNMENT'S AND NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION'S
OF A STATE'S ADMINISTRATION
OF A 'BOTTOM-UP' SYSTEM
This system is risky because the community might miss the
human resources which are necessary to run the organization.
The benefit certainly results from the fact that the objectives
will be implemented from bottom to top; the quality lies in
Such personal commitment may serve as an example for development
of building up communities in a period of rapid social change.
It still has to prove its successful implementation from theory
into practice, but it shows good performance of a concerned
group of population as how to develop a community support
system in a bureaucratic environment.
OF A 'TOP-DOWN' SYSTEM
The system includes the risk of a filter system: the more
levels involved from top to bottom the more the objectives
may get lost. Finally only a few persons will benefit from
the support they once requested. The quality lies in 'HOW'
things are done.
To build up a network of social communities in a society where
teamwork, democratic systems and communication are not yet
entirely integrated into everyday culture, networking has
to be built up step-by-step from bottom-up and includes awareness
and educational programs. In a situation where NGOs fear to
lose their identity while sharing information, it is very
important to define the role of every partner. Unless this
can be communicated to all involved participants, the respective
organizations will not prove cooperative.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT SYSTEMS INTO THE SOCIETY
As mentioned above
it is a complicated process to establish any system into government
hierarchies. Although old traditions and culture in every
society are different, they are still an important factor,
especially on the level of neighborhood and community, which
must be respected while building up such systems.
of position and job-description of key persons in an association
or community might give the background for effective functioning
of such a community: Only if roles such as 'what's the task
of a board member, what role do the life members play, what
is expected from the private and the government sector, who
is involved into financial planning and fund raising, what
is the role of a common member, who is in charge of implementing
plans into action etc etc' are defined successfully, sustainable
activities may result out of a such a community.
Sample of an 'Open-Guidance' System
Structure-oriented democratic organization does not face
the same risks as in the 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' systems.
Monitoring, supervision and evaluation are the most critical
points in this sample, whereas democratic principles are
implemented. The quality lies in both 'WHAT' and 'HOW' support
will be provided.
shown many different ways how people serve each other in
support systems. It is up and down, depending on many factors
such as religion, type of government, economic status, psycological
environment, and ecological situation.
The reason why
communities are growing or why support systems are established
may also depend on various situations. A change of common
structures may demand different or new actions and guided
development, or a particular group of population demands
equal rights and wants to advocate and implement them by
building up communities which have the necessary power.
showed that technology--specially computer usage in administration,
evaluation and accounting-entered the development of support
systems, even in social welfare and in communities. It seemed
impossible to run systems without such modern instruments.
In the same period a lot of human values were lost or at
least overlooked and neglected.
discouraged conscientious persons from starting necessary
units, and many small communities failed to develop because
there were no resources to implement technology. This is,
finally, the reason why merging got a credo not only in
business but also in social welfare. In the corporate world
with all these famous mergers people are replaced by technology.
But neighborhood and community systems arenot run on the
basis of technical laws.
can find worldwide INGOs, such as UN or WHO or IMF, which
remain of the belief that through strict administration
human goals may be reached. The development of technology
brought them to limited actions in 'projectitis'. In this
IUC program there is no space nor time to enter deeper into
this complicated change of structure which takes place at
the end of 20th and beginning of the 21st century. What
we can do as social workers or volunteers in communities
is to learn from these changes, and to accept the consequences
without hesitation and with common sense.
the technological developments, the core is people! Whether
it be a volunteer serving needy individuals, a staff or
board member working in a NGO, or a client such as ageing
or disabled person receiving support or assistance, technology
will not be able to replace the personal dedication and
commitment needed in neighborhood and community support
systems. It is not an easy way to compete with technology
and to believe in values such as common sense and humanised
organizations, but it is the only base on which to build
up neighborhood and community support systems.
One should recognize
that technology is not a goal in itself, but a means to
an end! Technology and profit-oriented thinking will intensify
the race to the top. I am convinced that it is only with
common sense that we will help to compete 'in the appropriate
way' and serve people in spite of this global merging development.
Common sense may not be very common in many institutions,
but it always humanises organizations and community supports
and can be implemented without ignoring technology, structures,
systems and administration.
Neighborhood- and community support do not at first depend
on complicated organizational forms. It is in the nature
of those systems that they may start with a modest beginning.
By focusing on common sense it may be possible to really
serve people--our neighbors--with as much administration
as needed and as little as possible. With one’s feet
on the ground, sensible approaches can result in realistic
achievements and common sense may be the feedback of rehumanized
organizations as a counterpole to the score-minded oath
of highest, fastest, best.
is the people who make the difference, their commitment,
their dedication, their skills and knowledge, their inherited
culture, beliefs and values; this makes neighborhood and
community support systems possible. I would like to encourage
the young generation to face the challenge – in spite
of all the prophecies of doom.
N to 30027’ N
Longitude: -8004’ E to 88012 E
China in the North
India in the South, East and West
Area 147,181 Sq.Km
Average length:885 Km from East to West
Width: non-uniform, average width of 193 km
from North to South
Region is in the north with altitude ranging between 4,877
meters to 8,848 meters (Mt. Everest). The mountain region
covers 35% of the land area; 2% is suitable for cultivation;
7.3% population are accommodated in the mountain region.
The Hill Region
is located in the middle of the country; altitude between
610 to 4,877 meters; 46% of the population accommodate in
this region. It constitutes 42% of the total land area,
while only 10% is suitable for cultivation.
The Terai Region
is the extension of the Gangetic plains of India and is
situated in the south of the country. It constitutes 23%
of the land area and accommodates 47% of the total population,
while only 40% of the land is suitable for cultivation.
The country is
divided into 5 DEVELOPMENT REGIONS, each composed into 14
ZONES; next smaller units are the 75 DISTRICTS, which are
guided by 3’912 VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEEs (VDCs),
headed by a CHIEF DISTRICT OFFICER (CDO)
The CHIEF DISTRICT
OFFICER is mainly responsible to maintain law and order in
the district, and also to coordinate development works implemented
by different ministries and local agencies at the district
Copyright for the I.U.C. Journal of Social Work Theory and
Practice is owned by the Social Work Program, Department
of Social Relations and Services, Bemidji State University,
Bemidji, Minnesota, USA. One copy may be made (printed)
for personal use; teachers may make multiple copies for
student use if the copies are made available to students
without charge. Permission must be secured from the editors
for sale of any copies of articles or for any commercial
use of the material published in the Journal.