To support Nepal’s transition to a federal system, USAID’s Sajhedari-Support to Federalism Activity is partnering with the Government of Nepal to strengthen policy, empower local governments and enhance citizen participation in governance.

The governance landscape continues to evolve to accommodate newly established national policies institutions, and the changing social, political, and cultural norms under Nepal’s new federal structure. One factor critical to Nepal’s successful transition will be the ability of local political and economic entities to adjust the new federal structure. The 2015 Constitution and 2017 elections were monumental steps toward re-establishing representative democracy at all three levels of government. However, institutional capacity and community voice are not at the level needed to sustain these democratic advances. At the same time, the framework of laws, policies, and regulations that define the federal system need refinement to strike the right balance between devolution and regulation, to ensure effective and sustainable transition to a decentralized government.

Program overview

USAID’s Sajhedari-Support to Federalism (or Sajhedari) is a six-year, $14.6 million Activity supporting the Government of Nepal to successfully transition to the new federal system. The Activity empowers local governments, civil society and the Nepali people in 10 municipalities of Province 5 and Sudurpaschim Province (Province 7) to institutionalize effective, accountable, transparent, responsive and inclusive local governance systems and practices. Sajhedari supports the Government of Nepal to consolidate local evidences to inform policy research and formulation at the federal level and to incorporate these best practices for learning and policy development across the country. The Activity is being implemented by Abt Associates Inc. in partnership with Urban Institute, Team Consult Pvt. Ltd. and the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation Nepal.

Program objectives

Sajhedari is supporting the Government of Nepal to:

  • Create and implement sound policies and legislation that are informed by evidence, and empower, finance, and regulate provincial and municipal governments.
  • Empower targeted provinces and selected municipal governments to become more responsive, inclusive, accountable, transparent, and effective in decision making and delivering priority services to fulfilling core legal responsibilities.
  • Encourage active participation by citizens and civil society organizations engagement, including historically marginalized groups, in local decision-making and oversight.

Key results

The project seeks to achieve the following results over the course of six years:

  • Policy and legislation are informed by evidence through policy research and dialogue involving a cross-section of stakeholders.
  • Policy processes are more transparent, participatory, and inclusive at the federal, provincial and local level.
  • Local governments are more effective and inclusive in delivering priority services to fulfill core legal responsibilities.
  • Municipal and provincial governments are more responsive, inclusive, accountable, transparent and effective in decision-making.
  • Learning institutions to support improved local governance are enhanced and sustainable.
  • Citizens and civil society are more effective at engaging in decision-making at the local level.
  • Civil society has greater capacity for monitoring and oversight of public service delivery and other public functions.