· Support financial oversight committees in monitoring Public Finance Management
· Support Federal Parliament and Provincial Assemblies' thematic committees in scrutinising draft laws and monitoring provincial government activities
· Support Federal Parliament and Provincial Assemblies' committees in monitoring the implementation of SDGs
· Support Federal Parliament establish a mechanism for their strategic role in addressing social and development issues
· Enhance capacity of staff of Federal Parliament and Provincial Assemblies' to conduct effective deliberation in parliamentary business
· Enhance institutional capacity of Federal Parliament and Provincial Assembly secretariats to implement innovative use of IT
· Support Provincial Assemblies to establish and implement policies, procedures and mechanisms that promote openness and information sharing with citizens
· Support Federal Parliament to establish and implement mechanisms for routine outreach towards citizens and to share information and knowledge with regard to the work of the Parliament
· Support Federal Parliament to operate in accordance with Open Parliament principles.
· Support Federal and Provincial parliamentary committees to engage with women and disadvantaged groups in their work on a routine basis
· Support Federal Parliament and Provincial Assemblies to establish processes and mechanisms to incorporate substantive youth input into their work.
What have we accomplished so far?
A. Technical support in law-making:
· Expert reviews of proposed bills: The project has been supporting parliamentarians by making available expert reviews of various bills. So far, the project has supported such reviews on 24 bills, key among them the Wildlife Bill, Cooperatives Bill, Six Commission Bills, Bills on Elections and CA Rules of Procedure. The support has been instrumental for more than 166 parliamentarians to scrutinize the bills and amend them accordingly.
· Public consultations on various bills: In order to receive public inputs in the lawmaking process, the project has helped various committees in establishing greater outreach. For this, the Cooperatives Bill, Constitutional Commission Bills (namely Muslim Commission Bill, Cooperatives Bill, Tharu Commission Bill, Indigenous Peoples Commission Bill ), Medical Education Bill, Disability Bill, and Wildlife Bill were taken to the public in different locations for their feedback. As a result of submissions obtained therein, the parliamentarians made substantive amendments on the proposed provisions. Altogether, 800 (688 men, 182 women) people from 15 districts were engaged, along with 48 men and 13 women government staff.
B. Support to strengthen oversight functions:
· Finance Committee: The project has backed various committees in their oversight functions. The Finance Committee was supported in visiting cooperatives and district-based government organizations. In this regard, Committee members, headed by Hon. Chair Prakash Jwala visited the Annapurna Milk Cooperative Ltd in Chitwan and the Customs Office in Bhairahawa. As a result of the discussions, MPs committed to take forward the issues raised for the Government's attention and action.
· Social Justice and Human Rights Committee: Committee members headed by Hon. Chair Sushil Shrestha visited a prison and the Western Regional Office of the National Human Rights Commission in Pokhara. After the oversight visit, the committee expressed concerns, particularly on inadequacy of daily subsistence allowance for prisoners and detainees and of the space allocated to them. Following this, the committee made other proactive visits to jails and instructed the Government to introduce a prison reform programme.
· Other Committees: A number of other missions included the Environment Protection Committee's oversight visit to the controversial site of a national park in Nawalparasi, and the Women, Children, Senior Citizens and Social Welfare Committee's supervision of microenterprises in Dolakha and Saptari. Apart from this, parliamentarians including whips have been sensitized on the best international practices on oversight and the SDGs. Over 30 MPs, including the chairpersons of three committees, have participated in oversight missions in the field. Likewise, the project has also developed a tool for the use of relevant committees in strengthening financial oversight.
C. Public-hearing programmes for parliamentarians:
In order to increase direct dialogue between the constituents and their elected representatives and to ensure accountability, PSP has been supporting the MPs and the public by organising public hearing programmes. These programmes offer a great opportunity for the public to raise their concerns and for the parliamentarians to respond to the feedback. Two such programmes have been held in Katunje and Alapot, Sundarijal, in which over 300 local people were actively engaged. These events were broadcast live through FM radio networks as well.
D. Parliament outreach:
· Parliament website and social media: As part of strengthening parliamentary communication, the project has supported the parliament in revamping its website as well as broadcasting parliamentary deliberations live via YouTube.
· Radio mobilization: Over 5 million listeners tuned into Hello Samsad, a radio programme that aired on 200 plus FM radio stations in different parts of the country. 110 people interacted directly with 93 MPs (women-14%), providing feedback on 11 thematic issues related to development and accountability, mainly focusing on bills, parliamentarians' fund, budget, election, parliamentary oversight, civil codes, committee works and governance, inter-committee coordination, and others. The programme was broadcast through 120 FM stations in all 75 districts until December 2017.
· Civic education: The project has also mobilized the media for civic education on the new Constitution and reached 15 million people through FM networks, alongside conducting civic awareness programmes in different districts. This apart, about 30 parliamentary journalists were provided an orientation on development communications.
· Youth engagement: In order to augment youth engagement in democratic processes and advocacy, PSP continued to partner with the Association of Youth Organisations Nepal (AYON). To this end, the project has completed 11 events and covered Mock Youth Parliament Programmes in all seven provinces. More than 1,100 youths (50% women, 5% Dalit, 17% Janjati and 19% Madhesis among them), including 10 members of the LGBTIQ community and 20 people with disabilities, directly and actively participated in these events that sought to inculcate in them knowledge about policy formulation, law making, parliamentary processes and development issues. Coverage was optimized by way of live broadcasts through radios and news dissemination through TV and print media to a huge section of the society. Following these events, it was found that some participating youths had also contended in local-level elections in some districts. And in a continued bid to inspire youths to play an active role and increase vigilance on implementation of the SDGs, PSP has established SDG Youth Alliances in each of the programme districts and the inducted youths are being provided additional leadership trainings.
E. Knowledge production:
In order to provide relevant knowledge and guidance to journalists specializing in parliamentary affairs, PSP has published a book on 'Parliamentary Journalism'. Other tools for strengthening committee functions have also been produced and are in the final stage of endorsement. Significant among these is a tool to review public accounts, a tool for effective oversight and public consultations, a handbook for reviewing bills, translation of SDGs handbook for Parliamentarians, Handbook for new MPs (Federal and Provincial) and a climate change finance toolkit.
F. Capacity-building of parliamentarians and the Secretariat:
· Workshops, interactions and sensitization programmes: The project has conducted over a dozen interactions, workshops and sensitization programmes with the Parliament committees and the Parliament-Secretariat on various thematic areas, such as international environmental laws and Nepal's obligations; human rights protection and promotion; rights and the new Constitution; strategic planning for committees; media and development; induction on outreach and oversight for the Parliament-Secretariat; and SDG orientation for whips and parliamentarians, among others. More than 200 parliamentarians and over 1,000 other participants were part of these programmes.
· Trainings: The project continues to organize trainings, conduct studies on various thematic areas as the need arises and bring in international expertise. Examples include an Effective Communication Skills Training, Leadership Training, thematic orientations and exposure sessions. Over 85 MPs (78% women, 22% men) have benefitted from these interventions.
· Induction programmes: The project completed induction programmes which helped 420 MPAs (52 women) from 7 provinces to take up their roles in the first session of their respective assemblies.
· Orientations for staff: Orientation programmes conducted by the project have helped 204 Provincial Assembly Secretariat staff (27 women) to effectively manage parliamentary business during the first session of their respective assemblies.
G. Institutional Support to the Parliament Secretariat:
· Similar to the technical assistance provided to the Legislature Parliament to operationalize its Internal Broadcasting System, the project has also furnished technical as well as human resource support to the Secretariat. The support has helped to archive 5,000 hours of audio-visual data of parliamentary deliberations so far.