Throughout Nepal’s transition to democracy, we have worked with civil society organizations and the new parliament to create more broadly-based constitutional and peace processes and to promote inclusive governance.

Community-based Disaster Relief (2015)

Karuna Center facilitated donations directly to community-based efforts led by a Nepali partner organization (Institute for Conflict Management, Peace and Development) to help rebuild rural communities hard-hit by the 2015 earthquake. Though the financial support we contributed was humble, we were able to provide construction materials to local self-help committees and support links between earthquake affected areas and skilled vocational students who were mobilized as volunteers. The primary focus of the project has been to teach and assist people to construct their own low-cost and environmentally practical short-term and mid-term shelters.

Consultation and Training for the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (2012)

Karuna Center provided consultation to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank regarding the intersection of development and peacebuilding, along with training for bank staff and Nepali government officials. We worked with the Asian Development Bank to revise their “peace filter,” which is now publicly available here. For the World Bank we performed a Peace Audit of current and recent programs, and developed recommendations for improving the conflict sensitivity of future programs.

Negotiation and State Building Program for Nepal Political Leaders (2010-2011)

After a 10-year civil war and the fall of Nepal’s monarchy, the nation’s new political process remained stuck. We led a capacity-building program for 75 members within Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, which served as the interim parliament at the time. We helped form a new Backchannel Group to address the most contentious issues that stood in the way of the peace process and lay groundwork for a new constitution.

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Peacebuilding in the Birthplace of the Buddha (2007 and 2009)

Karuna Center facilitated a series of conflict resolution processes in Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha in southern Nepal, close to the Indian border. Over recent decades, misperception and conflicts between the monastic communities from a variety of Asian countries, the Lumbini Development Trust, and the local population have resulted in tensions and delayed progress on the development of Lumbini as a spiritual and World Heritage site. Through a consensus building process, new agreements were developed that met the interests of all stakeholders.

Programs for Women Leaders

Women have never had equal rights, status, or opportunity in Nepal. In July 2008, Karuna Center, with support from the Institute for Inclusive Security launched a series of programs to promote women’s leadership on issues of peace and security. Women parliamentarians from conflicting parties developed a common agenda for a women’s caucus. And in partnership relationships with Women in Good Governance (WIGG) and Federation of Women Entrepreneurs in Nepal (FWEAN), we developed peace leadership programs for women in business and civil society that focused on advocacy, social justice, and reconciliation.

Promoting Multi-Sector Dialogues and Partnerships (2008)

Karuna Center conducted two seminars in partnership with our Nepali partner, ICPD, and the Office of the Prime Minister, in which participants from government ministries and civil society formed cross-sector working groups to develop public/private partnerships in the following areas: Constitution Making a Peacebuilding Tool, Transitional Justice, and Social Healing. Recommendations were presented to invited national and international guests.

Constitution-Making as a Peacebuilding Tool (2006)

In August and December 2006, Karuna Center was invited by the Canadian Cooperation Office to work with their Nepalese NGO partners from all five regions of Nepal on engaging civil society in the constitution making process. Recent experiments in Africa and Latin America have demonstrated that constitution-making can be an important post-conflict peacebuilding tool if it becomes a truly participatory process that reaches out to all groups, including the most marginalized. Participants developed action plans for the specific roles that their NGOs could play.

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