We Are Prioritizing Women, Youth, and Marginalized Communities for the Upcoming Year’s Plan and Policies

Mithila Municipality, located in the northern part of the Dhanusha district under the Madhesh province, is a significant agricultural area. Spanning approximately 187.94 square kilometers, this municipality shares borders with Sindhuli to the north, Mahotari district and Bateshwar village to the west, Kshireshwarnath Municipality and Bateshwar village to the south, and Ganeshman Charnath and Dhanushadham municipalities to the east. It was officially declared a municipality on January 12, 2015, and consists of 11 wards. As per the National Census 2021, the total population of Mithila Municipality is 48,676, with 24,362 females and 24,314 males. The municipality is home to diverse castes and religious communities.

To shed light on the activities carried out by organizations led by youth, women, and marginalized communities in Mithila Municipality, Mohan Kumar Chaudhary, Madhesh Province Editor of INSEC Online, held a conversation with Mayor Mahendra Mahato:

Could you please share information about the initiatives undertaken by youth, women, and marginalized community organizations in Mithila Municipality?

Youth, women, and marginalized community organizations and networks are actively engaged at the ward and city levels in Mithila Municipality. They organize public awareness campaigns and cleaning programs, collaborating with the municipality. These organizations play a significant role in the political, economic, social, and cultural life of their communities by participating meaningfully. They express their views on policy-making, gather and organize community events, and conduct activities such as conferences and seminars to raise awareness about issues affecting their lives, promoting mutual respect for rights and fundamental freedoms. The presence of national and international organizations like INSEC further enhances their capacity by strengthening such networks and maintaining constant vigilance, thus alerting the local government.

How do youth, women, and marginalized communities participate and engage in the plans and programs of Mithila Municipality?

In the past, the participation and activism of youth, women, and marginalized communities in the municipality’s plans and programs were non-existent. However, their activism has increased significantly in recent times. As the local government is the closest to citizens, all communities, including youth, women, and marginalized groups, have the freedom to voice their concerns regarding policy-making, planning, and fundamental rights. To enhance their participation and activism in the municipality’s plans and programs, we are dedicated to eliminating all forms of inequality (gender, economic, social, and political) within the city. We aim to provide equal opportunities in decision-making, planning, and management processes, contribute to their capacity development, and foster a democratic society. We have thus formulated policies and programs that play a crucial role in achieving these objectives.

What measures has the municipality taken to increase access for youth, women, and marginalized communities to the social and political spheres?

The municipality has implemented several measures to increase access for youth, women, and marginalized communities to the social and political spheres. We prioritize gender sensitivity, provide training programs, create leadership pathways, involve target communities in planning and policy-making, ensure inclusiveness, and strive to maintain a political environment free from discrimination and violence. We are committed to addressing the concerns and improving the economic, social, cultural, and political conditions of these communities. At both the city and ward levels, we offer personality development and capacity building training, along with practical life skills training such as garland making, slipper making, doll making, public service, and computer skills for these communities. Moreover, we have allocated a budget by amending the winter survey to support productive programs and campaigns proposed by any community, prioritizing them accordingly.

What specific actions have been undertaken targeting these communities in the past year?

Over the past year, Mithila Municipality has implemented various actions targeting youth, women, and marginalized communities. We have organized preparatory classes for public service examinations, providing opportunities for the youth to enhance their skills and pursue employment both domestically and internationally in fields such as plumbing and computer technology. Furthermore, we have conducted training programs in shoe making and doll making to empower women and marginalized communities economically and socially. We have also facilitated training sessions, conferences, and seminars to empower individuals to express their thoughts and questions independently. The upcoming policies and programs of the municipality place significant emphasis on prioritizing the needs of youth, women, and marginalized communities.

How can the effectiveness of programs aimed at youth be increased?

To enhance the effectiveness of youth-targeted programs, it is crucial to develop programs and activities in consultation with the youth themselves, taking their opinions and concerns into account. By involving youth in the program development process, we can ensure its effectiveness and directly benefit the youth. Recognizing that many youth from Mithila Municipality have to travel to Janakpurdham or other places to pursue higher education, we have devised plans to establish a comprehensive campus within our city. Given the favorable geographical and environmental conditions for agriculture, we plan to provide training in goat rearing, cow rearing, buffalo rearing, seasonal vegetable farming, and modern farming techniques, along with proper irrigation. These initiatives aim to attract the youth, women, and marginalized communities in this region to engage in commercial agriculture, thus promoting self-sufficiency and sustainable livelihoods.