We at Nagarik Aawaz have come up with a definition of our own for the key terms we frequently use.
Armed Conflict in Nepal:
Armed conflict refers to the civil war in Nepal, known popularly as the Maoist Conflict. It was a ten-year-long armed conflict between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) and the government of Nepal, fought from 1996 to 2006. The rebellion was launched by the CPN-M on 13 February 1996 with the main aim of overthrowing the Nepalese monarchy and establishing a People’s Republic. The other aim of the Maoist revolution was to free the people from all form of oppression and grievances. It ended with the Comprehensive Peace Accord signed on 21 November 2006.
Nepal’s 2010 National Youth Policy defines youth as “women, men and third gender” persons aged 16-40 years old. Nagarik Aawaz prioritizes youth aged 16-30 as young peace volunteers/ambassadors. Summing up, the priority will be given to conflict-affected and youths from marginalised groups with the realization of their potential in contributing to the peacebuilding process otherwise it will be a missed opportunity for holistic peacebuilding.
Community Peace Centre :
In the time of the conflict/post-conflict period as well in the time of any disaster safe spaces for the general citizens shrinks. Due to the large scale violence and power dominance, ordinary people suffer and face break down of their social relationships and as a result, they develop a sense of fear and deep-rooted mistrust with each other. The prevailing uncertainty and fear further contribute to destabilizing the social and cultural fabric of the society. Therefore, creating safe and inclusive spaces for individual and the community at large is very important for creating/strengthening the culture of peace as well sustainable peacebuilding. Realizing this fact NA conceptualize the concept of Community Peace centre (CPC) at the time of the height of the conflict in 2001. Community Peace Centre (CPC) is a “safe space” and healing space where youths, women, conflict-affected persons and the community can come, release their stress and trauma, discuss issues important to them, participate in training on peacebuilding, negotiation/mediation, conflict resolution and social mobilization, and develop social networks in a positive environment. These spaces are also very necessary for understanding each other’s identity, sense of belongingness, acceptance and tolerance, mutual understanding and thinking of each other’s security for building a culture of peace and sustainable peacebuilding at the community at large.
These spaces can open an avenue for the people to move forward for individual reconciliation as well through ventilating their stories and through dialogue between divided societies. Constructive individual and community communication help in building bridges between ordinary people and developing a healthy nonviolent response to injustice. Opening the space and structure for sharing the past suffering is critical for collective democratic change in the structure of power. It also provides important social opportunities for communities to come together and challenge the legitimacy of power. CPC approach is at the heart of NA. NA ensures the establishment of CPCs in the communities during the implementation of any peacebuilding programs. CPCs are either established in a private property by paying nominal rent to the owner or in collaboration and contribution from the local authorities. All the community level peace initiatives, peace circles, dialogue and campaigns are implemented through the respected CPCs. CPCs are equipped with basic furniture, libraries, stationeries, internet (if available), electricity and other logistic supplies. Mostly, there are two designated rooms in CPCs. One room is designated as a private space for mediation and counselling services and another room is a library, meeting space and a public forum.
Peace Volunteers refer to youths/women peace facilitators who freely offer to take part in and associate themselves with Nagarik Aawaz (NA) in the programs that are designed to promote peace, harmony and other related programs. The volunteers are not paid; however, NA shall provide them with a minimum amount that would cover their local transportation and communication expenses.
After the experience of at least two years as a youth peace volunteer, Nagarik Aawaz will recognise the youths as peace ambassadors. Peace Ambassadors will be role models for other youths where other youths can also learn from their experiences. Youth ambassadors are the emerging leaders in the community and they are believed to have been experienced working closely with the local stakeholders and leading peace initiatives. Ambassadors have also committed multipliers involved in an organization or network, institution and/or informal group. Depending upon the funding, NA shall provide a fair amount to the peace ambassadors that would support their personal and partial family requirement.
Peacebuilding is a name given to the transformation process from a violent situation to a more political, social and economic equality and justice as well as security for all within any given cultural varieties. Peacebuilding is a two-sided process, one is the prevention, reduction or transformation of violent conflict or war and the other is the construction and improvement of existing peaceful structures and activities. Activities for peacebuilding concern not only conflict behaviour: they also address underlying context and attitudes.
Peacebuilding is the activity to achieve peace. Peacebuilding as a process of strengthening a society’s capacity to manage conflict in non-violent ways. Peacebuilding needs to enhance trust between individuals and between groups in society, as well as restore the legitimacy of state institutions (credit: Brinkmann Manual). NA’s understanding is inclined with the above definition, however; the peacebuilding efforts are targeted to community and provincial level in Nepal.NA believes building peace start from within first. It also believes the work of peacebuilding should be one’s own individual journey before talking about building peace in other’s life.
Non-violence is a way of living. A non-violent person strives to do no harm or hurt to others, and to not take other people things, but rather share with others. A nonviolent person believes in being good to others, and so achieves happiness for all. This is very difficult. It involves self-understanding, self-mastery and self-discipline. A nonviolent person needs to conquer himself (herself) and achieve self-control in mind and body. Ahimsa and tolerance are two main anchors of non-violence. Ahimsa means nonviolence, and it holds that all living things are equal. Since all things are equal, a nonviolent person respects life in all its forms and shapes. Tolerance guarantees a multiplicity of views. Tolerance implies acceptance, love and equality. This tolerance permeates all activities in life, gives equal rights to women and men, and breaks down the division that exists in class and caste. Therefore non-violence removes the need for paternalistic and hierarchical systems, and this can lead to peace and tranquillity among people and nations (Ramanaraine).
John Paul Lederach in his book ‘The Little Book of Conflict Transformation’ mentions ‘Conflict transformation is to envision and respond to the ebb and flow of social conflict as life-giving opportunities for creating constructive change processes that reduce violence, Increase justice in direct interaction and social structures, and respond to real-life problems in human relationships’. NA’s understanding of Conflict Transformation is close to the international understanding derived by scholars like Lederach. The term transformation holds its own characteristics. It relates to the multiple levels of changes occurred among –individual and socio/political level after experiencing from various social contexts. Looking at the lens of conflict transformation, transformation relates to the changes in people’s perception, attitude, values, and their emotions. Transformation contributes in building trust and relation among the divided society after the devastating conflict. If we see transformation at the level of socio-political level it relates to the changes occurred in institutional, structural and societal level. Through conflict transformation, NA aims at responding to the social conflict, addressing the structural violence, equitable gender participation, and trust-building between the stakeholders.
An approach looking for a sustainable peace addressing the structural issues and looking for a holistic development/prosperity of the community/country/region. After Eighteen years of engaging in peacebuilding initiatives, NA designs the programs that would contribute to social, political, religious, economic and cultural transformation of societies. Kroc Institute of Peace studies define Strategic Peacebuilding as “Peacebuilding becomes strategic when it works over the long run and at all levels of society to establish and sustain relationships among people locally and globally. Strategic peacebuilding connects people and groups “on the ground” (community and religious groups, grassroots organizations, etc.) with policymakers and powerbrokers (governments, the United Nations, corporations, banks, etc.) It aims not only to resolve conflicts, but to build societies, institutions, policies, and relationships that are better able to sustain peace and justice. Strategic peacebuilders address issues of human rights, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability as well as violence”. The definition is mentioned here as it matches the values of NA.
Transitional justice (TJ) refers to the ways countries emerging from periods of conflict and repression address large-scale or systematic human rights violations so numerous and so serious that the normal justice system will not be able to provide an adequate response6. NA understands TJ as a step to i) address the gross Human Rights violations that happened during the armed conflict of Nepal and ii) establishing the peaceful situation by overcoming the memories of the violent past in Nepal which can fortify new democracies by addressing the justice question raised by the people who were impacted by the conflict.
Women Peace Facilitators:
Conflict-affected women that are associated with NA in the programs designed to facilitate/support the transitional justice and peacebuilding process in Nepal. Like the young peace ambassadors, WPF is emerging leaders in the communities and they have transformed their identity of conflict victim to an agent of change/peace and conflict transformation. Their role is to support constructive dialogue between conflict-affected groups with the transitional justice mechanisms and also to facilitate community dialogues to make visible the issues of conflict-affected women in their respective communities.
Ex-combatants (ECs), refers to the military that belonged to the then CPN-M party of Nepal during the armed conflict in Nepal (1996-2006). 15,620 ECs were either voluntary retired or rehabilitated7. Apart from that 4,008 (minors and late recruits)8, unverified soldiers by the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) will be called as ECs.
A peace circle is a Restorative Justice model that, like other Restorative Justice practices, can be used to address conflict holistically and solve problems. Peace circles emphasize healing and learning through a collective group process, aiming to repair the harm done and assign responsibility by talking through the problem. Peace circles combine victim reconciliation, offender responsibility, and community healing. Peace circle is an approach that is/will be practised by NA in bringing the actors of the community together in a circle and facilitate the dialogue. Such circles are facilitated by expert staff or external facilitators.
Community dialogue is an interactive participatory communication process of sharing information between people or groups of people aimed at reaching a common understanding and workable solution. Unlike debate, dialogue emphasizes listening to deepen understanding. Community dialogue is mostly encouraged in peace circles and as formal/informal sharing sessions.
PAs/PVs/WPF in guidance from the NA team will plan and initiate peace-building initiatives/activities that provide the community with opportunities for working together and enhancing social networks. They will apply various approaches like street drama, peace song, poetry, sports to spread the message of peace in larger communities which will also support in bringing out the structural issues of the communities through using this method. Peace initiatives are targeted to certain groups, clubs, institutions etc. The average number of participants in the initiatives is 20-25.
The peace campaign aims at strengthening and improving the visibility of the role of the communist movement in strengthening Peace, justice Human Rights, through raising awareness, training activists and making advocacy and networking. Notable peace campaign includes 16 days campaign against domestic violence, One Billion Rising, Peace Concerts, Celebration events on the occasion of International Peace Day, International Women’s Day and other special days/events. Peace Campaigns are aimed at meeting more people and collaboration with other like-minded organization and local governance. The average number of participants in the campaigns are 100-500 or more.
Peace Education at Schools:
Peace education is the process of acquiring the values, the knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills, and behaviour of the students to live in harmony with oneself, with family, and with the environment. Peace education seeks to reduce violence and promotes; i) appreciation of the concept of peace, ii) addressing fear, iii) intercultural understanding, iv) co-existence v) embracing the diversity and so on. Nagarik Aawaz categorizes the peace education initiatives to the students of three levels.
Basic and Primary Level: Peace arts, sport and games for peace, Essays, audio-visual presentations, peace quiz, self-care (physical and psychosocial) orientation, cleaning campaigns etc.
Secondary Level: Essay writing events in contextual topics, Psychosocial care, Peace arts, sport and games for peace, Essays, audio-visual presentations, peace quiz, basic orientation session on community peace, trust, harmony and conflict transformation, community work for peace, the celebration of special days/events, debate programs, public speaking, fine arts, leadership etc..
Higher Secondary Level: Psychosocial orientation, public speaking, appreciative inquiry, peace leadership, volunteerism, conflict transformation and peacebuilding, nonviolence, community engagement, the role of youths in peacebuilding, empathy etc
Community Mediation as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism for local communities for whom the formal legal system could be prohibitively costly and unmanageable, mediation focused on providing a different venue for addressing disputes. Mediation is able to fill this void in judicial assistance by providing immediate, affordable, and locally accessible dispute resolution services. Mediation in Nepal offers a space to resolve interpersonal and collective disputes, which transforms adversarial tensions into cordial relationships based on mutual respect. Community Mediation is one of the approaches to address the peaceful resolution of local disputes by the initiation from the locally available community mediators. Youths and local stakeholders are provided with the standard curricula on community mediation as formulated by the Mediation Council in Nepal. This manual will elaborate further on community mediation initiatives of NA in the following chapters.
Nagarik Aawaz has started to formally include the Restorative Justice (RJ) in its programs and intervention approaches. Restorative justice12 refers to a process for resolving crime by focusing on redressing the harm done to the victims, holding offenders accountable for their actions and, often also, engaging the community in the resolution of that conflict. Participation of the parties is an essential part of the process that emphasizes relationship building, reconciliation and the development of agreements around the desired outcome between victims and offender. Restorative justice processes can be adapted to various cultural contexts and the needs of different communities. Through them, the victim, the offender and the community regain some control over the process. Furthermore, the process itself can often transform the relationships between the community and the justice system as a whole.
Psychosocial refers to the dynamic relationship that exists between psychological and social effects, each continually interacting with and influencing the other. Psychological effects are those which affect different levels of functioning including cognitive perceptions and memory, emotions and behavioral. Social effects are related to relationships, family and community networks. Psychosocial well-being means the state of being or doing well in all aspects of life basic survival needs are met, physical, intellectual and emotional developmental needs are addressed, social relationships are positive and supportive.
Psychosocial support is a set of intervention that meets a person’s emotional, social, mental and spiritual need. Psychosocial support is very important for the healthy development of all people. It is a treatment process which is very structured in the counselling session. It is being helped process from counsellor to client by unconditional positive regard and nonjudgmental. In community counselling, the counsellor should try to focus on clients’ qualities, strength rather than imposing value and judgment. From the peacebuilder viewpoint, counselling means management of conflict between counsellor and client effectively.
Psychosocial counselling is one of the most important factors for inner peace. Counselling is related to individualism and peace is a holistic approach so we can’t segregate each other.
It is as two parts of the same coin. In psychosocial counselling, client and counsellor work together to change clients irrational thought to rational and destructive to constructive behaviours. NA believes that Psychosocial support is an integral intervention to complement peacebuilding efforts.
Psychosocial supports are provided in two ways:
Preventive Approaches: Orientation on psychosocial issues, peace initiatives/campaigns on psychosocial awareness, sharing sessions and safe spaces for women and youths, capacity building training to school teachers/youth clubs/PVs/PAs/Women groups on psychosocial support/care
Curative Approaches: Individual counselling, Group counselling, Healing sessions etc
Elected Local Authorities
Elected Local Authorities (ELA) refers to the institution of those representatives who are elected by the people. Ward Offices, Municipalities/Rural Municipalities are referred to as ELA.
Elected Local Representatives:
Elected Local Representatives (ELR) refers to the representatives who are elected by the people. Ward members, Ward Chairperson, Mayors, Deputy Mayors, Members of Judicial Committees are termed as ELR.
Local Peace Structures:
CPCs and other institutions/infrastructures that are contributing the peacebuilding, conflict transformation and social harmony. Those structures may not directly recognise themselves as a peacebuilding entity but they are active in contributing to peace at large. Some notable example of local peace structures apart from CPCs are Mediators Group/committee, Ward offices, Youth/women clubs, Traditional justice mechanisms eg. Badghars. Formal and informal organisations, Composite Heritages such as Temple, Churches, Mosque, Monastries, common values, local peace committees, students/child/adolescent clubs, community health workers, volunteers et cetera.
Conflict-Affected Women/Conflict victim women:
Woman/girls or group of women/girls who are affected during the armed conflict in Nepal for multiple reasons namely; a) physically or mentally tortured by the warring parties, b) sexually tortured or raped by the warring parties or other groups during the conflict, c) have lost their husband, children and their loved ones, d) families of disappeared e) detained by either conflicting parties, f) abduction or confiscation of properties and any other situation where the women felt traumatised during the armed conflict.
Sahakarya Shantiko (Joint Initiatives for Peace):
Peacebuilding work cannot be done in isolation. Realising this, NA founder established a loose network called Sahakarya Shantiko (Joint Initiatives for Peace) in heighten time of conflict in 2002 and motivate to make peace central in their work. 15 peacebuilding organizations across the country are the members in the network and NA ensures partnering with those organisations when working in their working areas. This network collaborates and coordinates with each other for the implementation of peacebuilding programs whenever applicable. This network has also become a think tank network for peace work where the member organization can learn from each other’s experiences as well. As of March 2019, the member organisation of Sahakarya Shantiko includes;
- Nagarik Aawaz/Lalitpur
- Nepal Women Community Service Center/ Dang
- Namuna Integrated Development Council/ Rupendehi
- Community Development Forum/ Doti
- Support Nepal/ Dhanusha
- Sungava Development Center/ Ilam
- Gift Bajura/ Bajura
- Upahar Nepal/ Bajura
- Tharu Mahila Uthan Kendra/ Bardiya
- Association of Marginalized Women/ WAM -Surkhet
- Fatima Foundation/ Nepalgunj
- FOCUS Nepal/ Dhading
- HADC/ Gorkha
- YSP/ Ramechhap
Members of Sahakarya Shantiko Network or other organisations that are partnering with NA to implement the programs. Reconciliation Primarily reconciliation refers to the restoration of friendly relations. On a larger scale, the term refers to the restoration of trust and harmony between the conflicting parties.
Group of women who meet regularly, usually in order to organize campaigns and for a common social cause. The groups can be formally registered or have organised together as a loose network.
Group of youths who meet regularly, usually in order to organize campaigns and for a common social cause. The clubs can be formally registered or have organised together as a loose network.
Women Saving and Cooperatives:
Women Saving and Cooperatives (WSC) are an autonomous association led by women who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit through a mutually owned and democratically-run enterprise. WSC include non-profit community organizations and businesses that are owned and managed by the women. Women would collect certain amount of money periodically and plan for the merchandise, economic support to one another and independent decision making.
Female Community Health Volunteers:
Female Community Health Volunteer (FCHV) program started in 1988. In the early years of program initiation, married women of reproductive age were selected as FCHVs and assigned to promote and distribute the birth-spacing commodities such as condoms and pills, with the sole purpose of supporting family planning program in Nepal. After almost three decades, these health volunteers have become an indispensable part of community-based health programs in Nepal. Currently, over 52,000 FCHVs are actively working—roughly one in 500 people or at least one in each ward of Village Development Committee, the smallest local administrative body, as non-paid community health cadres.
Transformative Peace Leadership (TPL):
For more than a decade, NA has been shaping the TPL in learning from Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies14 (CPCS) in Cambodia. CPCS defines Peace Leadership is leadership in the service of peace work. It is dedicated to cultivating both self and systems awareness, and concerned with deepening and sharpening the skills of influential individuals who are actively working for peace. TPL refers to a holistic, systems approach to leadership that attends to the mind, body and spirit of a practitioner. Peace Leadership is therefore concerned with the integration of all of these aspects of an individual and recognises that robust, creative, authentic, resilient and skilful leadership in the peace process requires all three aspects are attended to.TPL, therefore, concerned with the integration of all of these aspects of an individual and recognizes that robust, creative, authentic, resilient and skilful leadership in the peace process requires all three aspects are attended to. Transformative peace leadership value relationship building and value each &individual. This principle accommodates each and individual person and creates space for the people to grow. It also emphasized on self-awareness quality of the people where they can also recognize their strength as well as weaknesses as being real. In addition, it believes in human development, follow integrity, moral virtue and create belongingness with mutual respect and trust.
Peace Endowment Fund:
NA has started the peace endowment fund that aims in generating independent fund to strengthen the local peace initiatives in Nepal. Further, the fund will also support the conflict victim women who have gone through sexual and other forms of torture during the armed conflict. NA has targeted to collect at least fifty thousand USD by 2022 as an endowment fund.
Sahara Kosh (Emergency Fund)
An independent fund of NA created to respond the immediate need of the community and individual who are in crisis situation in 2001. Emergency Fund is also incorporated in most of the programs that are being implemented in the communities.
Peace is a way of life that starts from within. It believes in non-violence and ensures the full potential of every human being to pursue a dignified life. Peace can be practiced by creating safe spaces where individuals can engage in diverse needs and express themselves without fear.
Peace begins from the soul. It is a state of being tranquil, empathetic, freedom from fear of violence.
Conflict is a state of incompatible goals, interests, values and needs among two individuals, groups or communities which create disagreement, differences, fear and insecurities. Conflict is dissatisfaction resulted from incompatible interests, lack of dignified life, lack of space in expressing ideas and difficulties in fulfilling basic needs.
Violence is an act of enforcement and misuse of power by the powerful to the powerless. It has different dimensions such as physical, mental and structural. Violence is destructive and is exercised forcefully against people and property. It may manifest a vicious cycle of other forms of violence if it not addressed properly. It is the use of any kind of force to abuse, insult, demoralize or harm others directly or indirectly.
Gender is a social and cultural construction. Gender is often used interchangeably with sex. However, it is different from sex. Gender varies from place and time which means it is dynamic in nature. It talks about the role of men and women.
Gender is a socially and culturally constructed phenomenon by the powerholders to define the roles of human beings depending on their biological construction.
It is a process to assist mental peace and strengthening relationship by breaking down multi layers of problems. It leads individuals to realize their potential and self-worth which ultimately help create/maintain a peaceful society in a wider aspect.