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Title: Empowering citizen and community through social mobilisation in
Authors: Thapa, Narayan Bahadur
Keywords: Social mobilization
Local governance
Poverty reduction
Issue Date: 21-Mar-2018
Abstract: Inclusive participation, empowerment and Social Mobilisation are often considered to be major themes in contemporary sustainable development approach. These are essential factors for participatory democracy and social transformation. Development and democracy are intertwined with each other in many developing countries like ours. Localization of development to achieve the goal of sustainable development is being a popular slogan these days. There has been also a great concern for self-government, enhancing citizen participation, strengthening citizen’s effective voice, increasing the effectiveness of public policies and service delivery and enhancing social capital. Fostering social cohesion and trust within citizen and the communities has been a tool towards the direction. Development activities should be oriented to ensure social inclusion, equitable gender participation oriented towards pro-poor. So that the objective of social justice could be maintained. The Social Mobilisation has been exercised as an effective tool to empower the citizen and community especially in developing countries. It is being a development discourse since last few decades. This encompasses dialogue and partnership with a wide spectrum of societal elements which help to strengthen the grassroots level people’s democracy. In this connection, different approaches primarily, Transactional approach and Transformational approaches of Social Mobilisation have been implemented and exercised. However, a conceptual debate is in existence whether the Social Mobilisation is for only better service delivery or for empowerment of community members too. Indeed, transactional approach focuses on the economic dimensions and service delivery whereas transformational approach focuses on empowering citizens through raising voice, creation of demands and services which influences the decision and the formal and informal rules of the game in the society. Social Mobilisation is the cornerstone of participatory approaches of rural development along with poverty alleviation. It strengthens active participation of rural poors in decision-making, enhance their access to resource for income generating activities. Over the past few decades Nepal has developed an effective practice of group-based Social Mobilisation. Social Mobilisation is necessary to make an active involvement of citizens in governance processes. It supports meaningful participation of the people from poor, vulnerable and socially excluded and marginalized communities in both state and non-state affairs. It empowers the citizen’s in-group or individual basis and encourages to create the voice and demands of citizens. Similarly, it strengthens the bargaining power and supports them to transform their voices and demands into practice. The rules of the game can change successfully if the poor and marginalised people raise their voice and make them capable in decision making process by reviewing the barriers and obstacles in front of them. The main objective of this study is to examine the contribution of Social Mobilisation for empowerment of citizen and community in local governance process of Nepal. This study solicits fresh opinion of grassroots people. The analysis of past practices of Social Mobilisation in local governance of Nepal are also taken into consideration. This study is limited on its study area of Social Mobilisation after 2000 AD only. Present study is based on some empirical observations undergone in the past interventions. Therefore, most of the data and information are generated from primary sources. Samples were drawn from three districts to represent Mountain, Hill and Terai regions respectively which were based on purposive sampling method. Ethnically, representation of Brahmin, Chettri, Dalit, indigenous and Madeshi were incorporated in the sample from these areas. A survey questionnaire, in-depth interviews, Focus Group Discussions were the tools and techniques employed in the study. Social Mobilisation has been introduced in development discourse since 1950s, it is being formally practiced as a part of local governance since 1979 through clear provisions incorporating into the periodic plans of Nepal. In this context, policies, guidelines and modalities were practiced linking them with the local development and governance processes. However, policy consistency and assurance of resource availability to implement the policies has been critical to harmonize both the demand and supply sides. Governance model of Social Mobilisation might contribute better in the regard that the institutions of people representatives can address to make a proper balance between demand and supply sides. Furthermore, this study has identified that Social Mobilisation is an important measure for the involvement of grassroots level people in their development processes. In this regard a comprehensive policy of Social Mobilisation is essential in Nepal. Social Mobilisation enhances and helps to articulate the people’s power by strengthening their demand side. In this study a conceptual framework of empowerment through Social Mobilisation has been identified that the economic dimensions are also essential part for empowerment of the people through Social Mobilisation. People become eager to engage in Social Mobilisation to get some sort of tangible benefits such as natural and financial resources particularly forest resources, water resources, irrigation facilities, micro credits facilities etc. It is also expected by the citizen for active engagement of all the citizens in every step, from problem identification to benefit sharing in development activities with meaningful representation and participation by providing them equal accesses and opportunities. The debate of Social Mobilisation as a Transactional or Transformational approach as practiced over the last few decades can contribute to resolve by this study. Effort has been taken to eliminate the patronage system in the development process by internalising Social Mobilisation process in popular representation at local level. Self-reliant efforts and self-decision of the community members and citizens can reduce the patronage culture in the development process. Transformational approach of Social Mobilisation supports in making meaningful participation of marginalised section of population in local governance processes. However, transformation of marginalized and poors are still been rhetoric. So that co-operation and mutual understanding between local governance actors, citizen and group members should be established through Social Mobilisation initiatives and it is essential to institutionalize the basic norms and values of society in inclusive manner.
Description: A dissertation submitted to the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Tribhuvan University in fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Rural Development, Kathmandu, 2014.
Appears in Collections:300 Social sciences

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