Collaboration with NGOs for Better Living Standards Of People
Chitwan has only one rural municipality, Ichchhakamana. The majority of the population in this rural municipality, which is located in the hilly region of the district, belongs to indigenous communities. The physical infrastructure development has lagged behind in this area. Problems related to education, health, water supply, transportation, food, and other basic needs are shared problems of the citizens here. The excerpt from a conversation held by Dan Bahadur Gurung, the Chairperson of Ichchhakamana Rural Municipality, and Dipendra Adhikari, a representative of INSEC, reflects the rural municipality’s desire for change.
Have the citizens of this have access to basic human rights?”
Our rural municipality is geographically challenged. Even today, some people are forced to live without gas, housing, and clothes. We have set the minimum standard of human rights for the availability of gas, housing, and clothes to fulfill the needs of all people. Non-governmental organizations have also been involved in working to improve the standard of living of the people here. For the impoverished Chepang community, which is deprived of education, the municipality has been investing in education, health, and transportation to ensure a decent and easy life. The immediate rewards of this investment may not be apparent, but we hope that in a few years, we will not have to hear such sorrows of the citizens here.
Has any law on human rights been promulgated so far?
The Human Rights Treaty hasn’t been established yet. However, various programs and plans have been launched in collaboration with organizations working in the field of human rights such as INSEC to provide services and facilities related to human rights and to address issues related to them. We are aware of rights to food, housing, and culture. In the coming days, we will also need to work on creating laws related to human rights.
What are the issues in this region regarding education and health?
Currently, a campaign for student enrollment is underway at the school. Even in the remote areas of this municipality, books and other necessary study materials have been made available. Students are attending school regularly, but some parents are not aware of the importance of education, and there is a trend to drop out of school. Poverty is also a reason for this problem. Some children are not attending school regularly due to a belief that there is no need for education. However, efforts are being made to encourage regular attendance by providing meals and other support. Health centers are available in the village for accessing healthcare services. Community-level health institutions provide general medicine and treatment services. For complex treatments, it is mandatory to go to the district headquarters in Bharatpur. In the past, treatment was provided in the village itself, but now modern treatment methods are being used, and patients have to go to hospitals and use the medicine.
Is there also a shortage of food?
Yes, due to the mountainous terrain, the land is steep. The lack of fertilizer and irrigation means that not much grows naturally. Some people only grow enough to feed themselves, and they make a living by farming on the terraces. However, in such conditions, there are opportunities to create alternative sources of income for those who survive. One harvest of food can last a person in a difficult area for four months. The locals here also survive on herbs and tubers.
How is the planning process done?
The plan that comes through the ward level ensures priority is given to the representation of the general public from the relevant ward. We have worked to ensure the implementation of this plan is done with the inclusive representation of citizens from the ward in question. We have given priority to the participation of marginalized communities, women, and minorities. The rural municipality has allocated a budget not only for physical development but also for empowering the targeted communities.
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