UNESCO EU project EIDHR/2012/292-704 “Empowering people to enjoy their Right to Information for greater accountability of Nepal’s power holders”
The project aimed at improving the transparency of Nepal’s government and the accountability of decision-making through a broader implementation of the Right to Information Act.
Project duration: February 2013 – July 2016
Budget: EUR 365,606
The project was funded with EUR 290,000 by the European Union through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) within the framework of the Country Based Support Scheme (CBSS) 2012 Allocations to Nepal and with EUR 75,606 by UNESCO.
Overview of the Project
The Office started the implementation of the three-year project “Empowering people to enjoy their Right to Information (RTI) for greater accountability of Nepal’s power holders” on 1 February 2013 and successfully concluded it on 31 July 2016 (42 months). The project was funded by the European Union under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
The aim of the project was to make the Act on RTI adopted in 2007 in Nepal more accessible and easy to understand to citizens. It has been the first project in the country that aimed at encouraging and empowering citizens to claim their RTI as well as to increase the accountability of power holders.
The project targeted three major groups: journalists, local mediators and government officials, to empower them to use and comply with the legal provision related to RTI and facilitate public information access for citizens of the Central Tarai and Eastern Hills regions.
The main activities of the project include the recruitment of project staff, the preparation and publication of two handbooks for mediators and journalists, the design and organisation of two Training of Trainers (ToT) for 20 mediators and 20 journalists respectively, and the training of 297 journalists and 239 local mediators belonging to various project targeted districts to actively use RTI as effective tools in their daily as well as their professional life. The project also published three advocacy materials, such as stickers, posters and leaflets to promote the RTI in the project area.
This project has been instrumental in creating awareness among the local citizens on fundamental features of RTI, its importance to their daily life and information seeking process etc. The trained mediators have been seeking information, facilitating and empowering people in the project area.
The project has provided trainings to the local journalists on RTI and its utilization for investigative reporting.
A more effective use of RTI act
The implementation of the RTI in Nepal has never been a priority for the government. However, there have been advocacies by those who were trained so that state agencies are made accountable to implement RTI laws effectively. The voices are becoming stronger recently compared to the previous years.
The National Information Commission (NIC) has received 470 appeals from different information seekers, and has issued the order to public agencies to provide information to 409 of these appeals. However, in some cases the government has not paid attention to the recommendation given by the NIC.