To improve the ability of targeted communities to better direct local development
Nepal’s local bodies – District and Village Development Committees as well as Municipalities – are the main contact between most Nepalis and their government. Despite the lack of local elections, these bodies remain functional and continue to be responsible for providing basic government services. As the Government of Nepal moves towards state restructuring, and continues to decentralize critical government functions to sub-national units, the U.S. Government will support Nepal in achieving a peaceful transition. USAID’s new Partnership for Local Development (Sajhedari) project intends to strengthen the relationship between Nepalis and their officials, and to improve transparency, accountability, and responsiveness at the local level.
Sajhedari is a five-year project with an estimated budget of USD 25 million. It will be implemented in six districts of Nepal’s Far-West and Mid-West Development Regions, and include fifty percent of the Village Development Committees (VDC) in each district. Sajhedari incorporates the lessons learned from two prior USAID-supported projects – the Nepal Transition Initiative and the Nepal Government Citizen Partnership Project – complementing the work of the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development and other donor programs.
The primary goal of Sajhedari is to improve the ability of targeted communities to better direct their own development. This will be done through technical assistance and limited material and financial support to targeted local bodies, building their capacity to identify and implement projects that reflect community priorities. Sajhedari will facilitate the development of inclusive plans that reflect the demands of the broader community, including historically marginalized populations. Project-supported activities will be built on the principle of sustainability, and will be implemented in collaboration with civil society and government to ensure broad-based participation from implementation to operations and maintenance.
Project implementation will occur in three forms: (1) Technical assistance from Pact, Inc., USAID’s primary partner; (2) a grants program to district and local-level Nepali organizations; and (3) Sub-contracts to local and international organizations to provide specific services and support. Pact’s technical assistance will focus on building the capacity of local organizations and government bodies to function more independently and effectively.
The grants program will be the major mechanism of support to community development efforts and provide an opportunity to exercise skills learned through capacity building technical assistance. The sub-contracts will complement locally available community development resources and allow for ongoing planning, monitoring, and evaluation.
- Conflict Mitigation - Establish and improve the enabling environment for community development
- Access to Resources - Improve communities’ ability to access resources for development
- Inclusive Development - Improve communities’ ability to effectively implement inclusive development projects
Effective Local Bodies - Increase the ability of existing and new government units to function effectively
Sajhedari activities over the five-year period will include:
- Strengthening community stabilization, conflict mitigation, and dispute resolution
- Supporting communities to develop strategic plans that prioritize needs and facilitate better access to resources
- Developing community skills in inclusive planning processes so that village development plans are more strategic, transparent and equitable
- Supporting local governments in targeted areas to assume their new roles, promote good governance in management, increase accountability to citizens, and enhance service delivery
In addition, Sajhedari is designed to be a flexible project that is able to respond to new conditions and address emerging issues in the six target districts.
Last updated: September 18, 2014