“The information we learned on elections and the role of Community Learning Centres (CLCs) will be particularly pertinent during the by-elections, to ensure that no vote is invalid.” said Kamala Bhattarai, one of the participants of the workshop on developing capacities of CLCs on facilitation, management and civic education.
Rajaram Dahal, another participant assured that CLCs will fully commit to provide support to elections in taking them to the community level. This year, the UNDP’s Electoral Support Project (ESP) and UNESCO with support from the European Union organized a five-day workshop in Bhaktapur from 5-9 August 2019 where members of 22 CLCs of Bhaktapur participated. The workshop helped to enhance the understanding of the CLC managers and faciitators on democratic governance and elections.
The CLC is a community-based non-formal educational institution or organization that provides a range of services and learning opportunities to out-of-school children, youth and illiterate or semi-literate adults from socially disadvantaged rural and urban communities.
The content, based on information published by the Election Commission, Nepal, included voter education, civic education, management, election procedures, election cycles and legal provisions regarding elections and people’s participation to support credible elections.
The inauguration session emphasized that CLCs represent a sustainable way to reach the most isolated community members on various issues, including elections. Mr. Baburam Poudel, the Director General of the Centre for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD) stated, “There are currently 2,152 CLCs in Nepal, in 51 districts.” Mr. Balaram Timilsina, Head of Education Department of UNESCO emphasized that as CLCs are under the local government in the new federal structure of the country, and therefore well-placed to support inclusive and fair elections by ensuring community participation. Mr. Kundan Das Shrestha, Senior Electoral Advisor of UNDP ESP, also highlighted the important role that CLCs in capacitating communities on civic and voter education.
The workshop included a total of 28 participants; out of which 75% were female. Among the participants of the workshop, 68% strongly agreed that their knowledge on democracy and elections was enhanced because of the workshop. The participants were all committed to enhancing the capacities of their communities on the issues that were addressed at the event.
The Electoral Support Project- Phase II (ESP) is a technical assistance initiative which focuses on a long-term institutional and professional capacity development of the Election Commission (ECN) for conducting credible, inclusive and transparent elections. The objectives of the project are 1) to strengthen the capacity of the ECN to function as an independent and credible institution, 2) to allow the conduct of the election cycle in an effective, sustainable, and credible manner, and 3) to increase democratic participation, particularly for under-represented and disadvantaged segments of the Nepali society. ESP is currently funded by EU.