In a recent article it has been pointed out the paradox of local level governance in Nepal is that much money and effort have been poured into it over the decades but with no visible improvement.
In 1996 UNDP and DANIDA pushed on the government to introduce the Local Self-Governance Act 1999 which failed to include the vital provisions regarding the user groups which showed good performances in managing the forestry community development which has been fully domestically managed by local community.
With no provisions regarding the formation of local groups, the enormous fund to decentralization has been managed by, as the article points, local bodies were invariably composed of the hand-picked favourites of the village elites.
As a result, the billions of rupees that went through the DDCs (District Dev. Office) and VDCs (Village Dev. Office) in various tied and untied grants over the years made little dent on the problems of poverty and deprivation that continue to remain rampant in Nepal’s villages. The same seems happened for other local authorities as DHO (health) and DEO (education).
The misuse of huge funds and the needs of a serious reforms of local body, most of them not working or bad working due to that lack of elected officials and good mnagement should suggest to international donors to go directly to the primary stakeholders: it means community through local user groups (for specific projects), community schools, etc.
This work should be a priority for INGOs and NGOs which must operate gross route level as their guiding principles should require. Unfortunately this is not happening for some of them. It is the case of Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo INGO (CCS Italia) which during the last two years left good community tied projects in Kavre moving towards funding the local DEO (district education office) and DHO (district health office). This negative attitude seems directed to void the role and capacity of the local NGO working in Kavre since many years. The reasons could be the strong critics the local NGO moved regarding the ineffective use of Italian fund and donation made by the officers of the INGO and their incapacity to operate directly with the community. Maybe also their laziness and high salaries.
The same misadventure which is running, in a great scale, DANIDA. They decided to support a 10 million rupies project (19 months) project entitled “Promoting Local Governance for Effective Service Delivery” in six selected districts.
It was said to be “supply-side” governance strengthening initiative and comprised workshops for government officials, local politicians, NGO/CBO officials, and “service receivers”. The project developed training manuals, formed coordination committees and “good governance pressure groups”, and held public hearings with government officials including the CDOs in attendance.
It seems the same trend followed by Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo (CCS Italy) in which instead to work in the community, it is easier to work through local bureaucrats. It is the training and workshop development which is the main activity wide spreading among INGOs and institutional donors.
This kind of “projects” doesn’t need many activities, fieldwork, and accountability of service given.
The single most important contribution that the government and donors could make to promote good governance and development in the villages is to empower the stakeholders and assuring effective service delivery and the only way is to go in the villages working with people.
Guna Dhakal- Social Worker-Kathmandu
The worries expressed by the people from the villages where we began the projects in 2003 confirms the letter delivered to SWC (Social Welfare Council) last september in which I denounced Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo (CCS) INGO for not implementing the agreements related to education, health and community development in Kavre.
From then it seems that Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo INGO is going to cancel all projects in Kavre, only leaving some formal activities (training, coordination) throughout the local DEO.
In fact they are replacing Kavre sponsored children with new ones located in Kathmandu.
Of course it easier for these people to work few meters from the office than to go in remote and disadvantaged area as Timal (Kavre) it is.
But it is absolutely incorrect to use money which Italian sponsors donated for Kavre children to other programs.
I stated this wrong attitude in my letter (see below) as well as the huge increasing of office and staff expenditures which are badly affecting the activities for the beneficiaries.
It sounds also quite amusing that the new officers of CCS Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo INGO have been able to buy private cars only after seven months of working in the organization. In short, I believe, that in little less than one years and half they have destroyed four years work, confidence, projects and hopes for the communities of Kavre for their incapacity and wasting of people money. Below the letter I sent to SWC.
To The Members Secretary of
Social Welfare Council
As you know I was the former Country Director (since January 2007) of CCS (Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo) Italy INGO and I signed with SWC and CCS Cooperation & Development Nepal (local and implementing NGO) three agreements regarding education, health and electrification for the benefits of the deprived and isolated community and children in Timal area (Kavre District).
In the last days I went in the community where the projects should be implemented and I found among people, teachers and children deeply concern about the state of the projects. During my visit in the community, stakeholders told me that the project (especially education) has been severely cut and other (health and electrification) are reduced to merely trainings and reports.
They submitted to me a list of programs cancelled (as appears to compare the report presented in October 2006 by CCS Italy (under my direction) to SWC (attached).
-food integration for around 800 children enrolled in Bal Bikas Kendra (ECDs) founded by Cooperation & Development Nepal NGO-
-rent of Bal Bikas Kendra (ECDs) before supported and founded by Cooperation & Development Nepal NGO-
-coaching classes for secondary schools-
-text books for sponsored children sponsored by CCS in six and seven classes in seven secondary schools-
-distribution to all children in primary schools of copy books, pens, pencils and other didactical materials twice at year for around 5000 children sponsored by Cooperation & Development Nepal NGO-
-teachers salary for 14 teachers in secondary schools
– high secondary school (10+2) built by Cooperation & Development Nepal NGO and community (in 2006) support–
Moreover even the buffalo project directed to the poorest families in the community has been severely reduced.
We heard about plan to further reduce the support of Timal children for 2009 as well as not start new schools or ECDs building as well all the health programs.
Furthermore, the stakeholders informed me that CCS Nepal has been excluded by any process-making decisions in clear opposition to nepali rule and SWC norms which stated the local NGO should be the implementing agency and should be empowered being formed by local people.
When community protested against reduction of activities, the CCS Italy officers replied they will stop all programs in Timal area and actually they contacted political representatives to find out any location and NGOs (good for them) to replace CCS Nepal. It seems clearly the worst way to find out partners, places, and beneficiaries for new projects. You must consider CCS Nepal is deep rooted in the projects community and thanks to it all projects were proposed and initiated and fund collected. They worked very hard during the conflict to implement them. This happened thanks to transparency, community rooted activities and capacity.
As you know CCS Italy INGO fund come from children sponsorship made by Italian people who likes to sustain their education, health and life. At the end of 2007 (as document attached) the children sponsored were 3558. Around 3100 are located in Thimal and they should receive the greatest amount of donations. As the official CCS Head Quarter budget attached (on www.ccsit.org) it appears that 45,5% of the amount donated by sponsor it has been used in Italy for administrative costs (in 2006 only 32%)
In Nepal arrived euro 356.338 only euro 30.000 less than 2006 budget (as document attached and auditing given to SWC) due to the higher HQ management costs. From this amount only 217.550 have been used for projects not only in Thimal but also in Chitwan (around 400 children sponsored, and in Kathmandu (where is easily to work for the new recruited CCS Italy officers.
CCS Italy so stated that euro 150.000 (near the half of all amount sent in Nepal) has been used to pay officers, office and other facilities.
Stakeholders informed me that new appointed officers receive the following monthly salaries:
-Chanda Rai, country director monthly salary nrs.150.000
-Buddhi Man Shestra education manager, nrs. 90.000;
-Lachi Singh, health manager nrs. 90.000;
-Vishnu Shestra accountant, nrs 90.000;
-Rajesh Shestra accountant, nrs. 90.000;
-deputy country director nrs 250.000 (exp)
(This amounts are far higher than the salary given to the new appointed Nepali President of Republic and Prime Minister).
Other officers (16) receive salary ranging from Nrs. 40.000 to 20.000.
All this top officers has been provided by a lab top (which cost the amount of children food integration for six months of 800 children cut by them) and cars, health schemes, phones, and other facilities.
As you know as the Report presented to SWC in 2006, the number of employed of CCS Italy INGO were six, and they managed more activities than now. Because the intention was to enforce the capacity of local NGO and excluded people (Tamang) from the projects area.
It must be noted and evaluate by SWC that the projects running and signed have not been implemented because the amount stated has not been used for the benefits of Nepali children and people and not given to the implementing local NGO as nepali law, agreements articles and SWC rules stated.
With best regards
Dr. Enrico Crespi
05 September 2008
We believe that our first reference has to be the people where projects are implemented. With them we must share our ideas, together we have to study and implement projects and activities. We must permitted to them to be involved in monitoring and control how the activities have been implemented.
In all activities in the field as well in central office we sought to include people from projects area instead to recruit from other NGO or INGO. This is our rule and methods.
At the same time we developed partnership with other organizations to enlarge our capacities and operational area instead to increase our staff and expenditures. Dhulikel Hospital, Tribhuvan University, Little Flower Society and many other ONGs and technical providers worked with us.
We signed in 2004 an agreement with DEO (District Education Office) in order to coordinate with them our activities and avoiding duplications.
In the beginning of 2008 we were promoter of a national Medical Institutes workshop to coordinate and share community health and schools activities.
The project agreements signed with Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo ONLUS (2005 and 2006) has been not fully implemented by them since 2007 but agreements have been registered in SWC (Social Welfare Council) as Nepali rule.
With national institutions we coordinate our activities and we held Projects Advisor Committees at the end of 2006 in order to evaluate with all stakeholders (partners, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Welfare, Department of Education, and others) the implementation of the projects.
Our organization has been audited since the foundation.
Progressively, in 2005 and 2006 we extended our support to secondary schools. We answered to a request coming from people which desired to give better education to their children. Furthermore foreign sponsors give help to children form ECDs to primary and they requested to go on with educational support to them. At the end of 2006 we had 11 teachers sponsored by us (with community contribution) in lower and secondary schools.
We provided text books and other school materials to 321 students to avoid drop out for expenditures which could not be sustained by family.
We organized coaching classes twice at year for more than 127 students to help them in overpass examinations.
During our community meetings, most of the people and teachers requested help to establish the first high secondary school (10+2) in the area to permit local and poorest students to follow studies. Before only few family can afford to support courses in Kathmandu for their children. The new school was inaugurated in december 2006.
We agreed with local stakeholders to assure a quota from underprivileged students and girls throughout sponsorship.
People collected several hundred thousand of rupies to register the school in Ministry of Education and to contribute to the new building. Members of the local committee ask former residents in the villages, now living in Kathmandu or abroad, to contribute to the project.
The day of inauguration a long banner with thousand names of contributors showed the committment of the people. Some of them gave only few rupies other thousands. The implementation of this project (10+2) showed how is possible mobilize people for a common goal and how NGO could help to manage and support community needs. From the middle of 2007, these projects have been cancelled by Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo ONLUS due to the diminishing of funds, they declared to the stakeholders.
During 2004, many people and teachers proposed us to establish Bal Bikas Kendra. They expressed many reasons to implement this project: to give basic education to children before entering in primary school as a way to reduce repetition and drop out, to help mother in running families and agricultural works, to assure health, nutrition and social protection to children. From 2004 we established around 50 Bal Bikas Kendra and we built three
All are managed by the community and we provide them daily food integration, facilitators (all women), training (educational and primary health), didactic materials. The children enrolled are around 840 scattered in 4 VDCs.
In 2006, the prisoners in the Kathmandu Female Jail through our sewing project produced more than 800 bhoto we distributed to the children.
In 2007 due shortage of funds of our partner Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo ONLUS we were obliged to reduce food integrations and support to some ECDs.
At the end of 2006 was inaugurated the ECD building in Dalit community of Thulo Parsel VDC, before was built one in Narayansthan VDC, one is under construction in Sarsyurkharka. Built by contribution in funds and work by the community,
In 2007 due shortage of funds of our partner Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo ONLUS we were obliged to reduce food integrations and support to some ECDs.
Data are in Activities Progress Report 2007-2008