Building Capacity for Dalit Women Elected Representatives

Gender and caste-based discrimination prevent Dalit women from accessing information, power and resources. However, the Constitution of Nepal 2015, the resulting federalism, and the 2017 local elections are bringing women and marginalized communities into the political process.

Center for Dalit Women Nepal (CDWN) recognizes that even though elected Dalit women leaders are in positions of potential influence, their effectiveness in exercising their power may be inhibited by a lack of confidence, education and technical skills. In response we are conducting a 7-month pilot capacity building project for 329 newly elected Dalit women representatives in the following districts of Province 5: Gulmi, Arghakhanchi, Palpa, Kapilvastu, Rupandehi and Nawalparasi.

Our project aims to strengthen the leadership and thematic capacity of elected Dalit women representatives. We aim to enable them to participate in the dialogue on relevant issues and effectively influence the decision-making process.

Each month, for 5 months, we provide two days training, each session covering one of the following themes:

1) Dalit rights and justice,

2) Local governance – structures and roles, legal and policy provisions in relation to Dalits and women,

3) Leadership and communication skills

4) Effective dialogue, lobbying and advocacy skills

5) Planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring at the local level.

We apply a range of interactive and adult-learning techniques in order to increase the effectiveness of the training. Furthermore, attention is paid to the practical needs of the participants such as language, accessible training locations, and engaging local trainers.

In addition to the workshops, the project offers opportunities for continuous learning, such as, a mentoring system, peer-groups for lobbying and advocacy, and partnering to share knowledge and skills. Orientation sessions are being provided for heads of households and people in key positions in the local communities in order to create a supportive culture for the women representatives.

Based on an evaluation at the end of the pilot and repeated needs assessments, CDWN will revise its approach and the content of the curriculum. It has already been decided that we will develop the resource manual to complement the training modules.

Our modules will then be ready to scale up to include all of Nepal’s 6567 elected Dalit women.