Encouraging citizen engagement for promotion of good governance

The need of citizen engagement for promoting good governance and anti-corruption issues has been emphasized by the stakeholders at Doti district. Amidst the district civic interaction organized by Development Communication Society Nepal at district headquarter Silgadhi on governance and anti-corruption related issues, various state agencies expressed their commitment to continue and contribute assertive action. The interaction program held on 13th October 2017 was organized in collaboration with Tribeni FM, Shaileswori FM and Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Doti Chapter.

Chief District Officer (CDO) for Doti Mr Kumar Bahadur Khadka emphasized the importance of citizen engagement for promotion of good governance and anti-corruption issues for which the concerned state agencies have been directed to follow the government directives on governance. As transparency and accountability are the two pillar for good governance, he said that it is important for state agencies to strictly adhere to citizen charter, implementation of right to information, elimination of irregularities in state agencies, improvement in service delivery, functioning complaint box, and easy access to information officers. The chiefs of all government service delivery offices are provided with public cell phones whose number will be available to everyone to facilitate the easy access to service seekers. In addition, all government offices will hold a press conference in every three months period to inform the citizens of the works accomplished by them. He also encouraged Commission on Investigation for Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Doti to organize similar interactions such as the one organized by SODEC-Nepal in future, expressing his full commitment to cooperate with CIAA.

CIAA Chief Amar Raj Joshi also informed the participants of the condition of governance in Doti district. He laid out the facts on number and types of complaints received by CIAA and number of solved cases during the previous fiscal year all over the district. According to him, the most of number of complaints were on education field. Apart from these, he also shed light on the promotional activities of CIAA including awareness programs for college students on how to register complaints with CIAA, pick news stories from mass media as preliminary evidence to pursue corruption cases and so on. He also emphasized on citizen engagement to face the challenge of promoting good governance and anti-corruption as CIAA relies on the citizens to register complaints.

FNJ Doti Chapter Chairperson Mr Yogendra Balayar informed the participants of the interaction program that a loose citizen network named "Civil Society Campaign Network against Anti-Corruption" under the coordination of FNJ has been formed to promote constant public discourse on anti-corruption and good governance. Various professional organizations such as District Bar Association, Federation of Non-government organizations, forest consumer association are part of the citizen network. He also anticipated more involvement, participation and assistance from all sectors in the future. Apart from that, Mr Balayar also emphasized on the necessity of journalist training on covering issues of governance and anti-corruption as it consists of various legal and highly technical issues.

A total of 50 participants consisting of chiefs of various state agencies, civil society leaders, journalists and various professionals were present during the district interaction. All participants agreed that citizen engagement is the most important factor in order to promote issues of governance and anti-corruption and initiatives from all fronts is necessary to have a meaningful impact. They unanimously concurred that interactions like such should continue in the district to increase the public discourse on such essential issues.