STREAC launched amidst concerned stakeholders

On 25 March 2016, Friday, Project Launch for Strengthening Citizen Engagement in Anti-Corruption Efforts (STREAC), was organized by Development Communication Society (SODEC) Nepal at The Malla Hotel, Lainchour, Kathmandu.

The launch program was attended by representatives from various government offices working against corruption such as Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Department of Money Laundering Investigation (DMLI), Special Court; as well as concerned non government agencies, independent experts, media, students and all consortium partner organizations.

Strengthening Citizen Engagement in Anti-Corruption Efforts (STREAC) is a project that is designed to work in partnership with four different organizations SODEC-Nepal, Centre for Media Freedom (CMF), Nepal Centre for Contemporary Research (NCCR), and Organization Development Centre (ODC) as well as with the CIAA. The project is built around the analysis of causes and effects of limited civic engagement in combating corruption in Nepal.

To introduce the project, Project Director Dr Pius Raj Mishra delivered a presentation summarizing the overall objectives, impact, outcome and output of the project. He detailed the importance of all consortium partners and their respective organizational strength for the implementation of the project activities. This presentation served as a foundation for further discussions and reviews during the program.

The presentation on project overview was followed by remarks and reviews by various attendees. Niranjan Baral, Investigation Expert at CIAA began the conversation about the project, its implications and significance by discussing on the components of the project outcome, outputs and activities. He expressed his enthusiasm to get engaged in the project and take as much as benefits by CIAA from the project goals.

“It is the youth that has the ability to change the social dynamics and the components of this project to target students and young journalists will serve the purpose of transformation,” said Baral.

Agreeing with Baral’s analysis, Chabbi Bhattarai, Investigation Officer at Department of Money Laundering Investigation (DMLI) also expressed the willingness to be part of the project.

During the discussion, Bhadrakali Pokharel, Registrar at Special Court emphasized on public hearing and public audits. “These are the best practices in terms of research and citizen engagement to undertake steps to image building and effective execution to anti-corruption efforts,” he said adding that not everything can be accomplished at once regarding anti-corruption; it is a continuous and dynamic process.

Likewise, Narayan Manandhar, an independent expert for anti-corruption highlighted that corruption isn’t just a custom of government bureaucracy; rather it is rampant in all sectors such as mainstream politics, student unions, media, education and other non-governmental organizations.

“I think there should be an extra focus on literature review,” said Manandhar emphasizing that STREAC project can have higher chance of success if a proper review of such past projects is done to determine the reasons behind their failure to achieve the desired outcome.

On the other hand, Hari Tiwari, Deputy Director for NGO Coordination Section at Social Welfare Council, expressed his concern on good governance and corruption issues in non-government organizations and advised that all partner organizations for the project also to comply with the SWC guidelines.

After all the discussions and reviews, Dhruba Hari Adhikari, senior journalist and chairperson at CMF welcomed all the suggestions shared during the project launch program and added that STREAC project just a stepping stone towards contributing to anti-corruption efforts by various government as well as non government cluster.

Dr Mishra also commented that the project launch program has been very fruitful and a learning process for all involved in the project implementation. Likewise, Dr Ken Afful from ODC and Suman Paudel from NCCR echoed with Dr Mishra and also expressed their sincere thanks to all the attendees of the launch program.