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Alliance for Social Dialogue

The Alliance for Social Dialogue (ASD) was started in 2007 with the aim of promoting dialogue within Nepal on a variety of issues, including but not limited to the promotion of democratic values and institutions in Nepal. The ASD itself is an unincorporated body comprising like-minded individuals working towards a common purpose. The ASD Secretariat is located at the Social Science Baha.

One of the functions of the ASD is to facilitate grant-making in Nepal by the New York-based Open Society Institute (OSI), which has also been supporting the activities of the ASD and the Secretariat.

ASD has identified two major objectives to support its mission:
a. To engage with Nepali stakeholders in an effort to exercise intellectual leadership in important open society areas such as education, human rights and an independent media; and
b. To assist in the development of funding priorities in Nepal by conducting outreach programmes among relevant stakeholders through consultations, workshops, site visits, etc, in an effort to encourage submission of funding proposals in relevant programmatic areas.

Activities
Consultative meetings: Over the course of a year, ASD organised 14 consultative meetings (6 regional, 3 thematic, 2 sector-wise and 3 national) to serve as an open forum for members of the ASD, the Secretariat, and regional and district-level stakeholders to deliberate on contemporary issues of education, human rights and an independent media. Representatives from various organisations and civil society groups participated in these meetings which had the objective of identifying the needs, problems and challenges relevant to these areas.

Facilitating OSI grant-making: In terms of recommending proposals to receive OSI grants, ASD has decided to focus on groups below the radar of international donors and which are situated outside Kathmandu. Accordingly, ASD placed call for proposals in the areas of human rights, education and independent media, and received a total of 325 proposals.

Policy platform initiative: ASD began working towards developing as a platform to facilitate the discussion of policy issues influencing the political transition of Nepal, including the debate on the future constitution of Nepal. A total of 12 meetings on political transition as well as 17 others on human rights, media and education were held across the country.

Facilitating OSI grant-making: ASD organised six proposal discussion meetings around the country to allow applicants to present innovative ideas and also help further develop proposals that had qualified. ASD also encouraged collaboration between organisations to maximise the benefit from the grants. Altogether 102 proposals were discussed at the meetings, of which 20 were recommended by ASD to OSI, and the grants were duly approved to begin from January 1, 2009.

Cooperation with OSI’s network programmes: ASD began working with OSI’s network programmes by setting up thematic sub-committees to help identify possible partners and develop funding priorities.

Facilitating OSI Grant-Making: ASD conducted consultations, workshops, discussions and site visits as well as monitored the progress of all 20 grantees funded by OSI. To strengthen the capacities of the grantees and promote ideas and policies from the local to the regional and national levels and encourage cooperation among grantees, ASD held a two-day national meeting of all the grantees in July 2009.

Policy platform initiatives: ASD continued engaging with Nepali stakeholders, policy-makers and social/political groups through platform activities on important and critical issues of political transition, education, human rights and the media. Cross-sectional platform activities were organised to promote common cross-sector initiatives as well.

In addition, ASD introduced two other activities: a) interest/issue-based platform initiatives in the transition to promote dialogue to consolidate democratic practices and institutions though interest-based debates; and b) policy briefs in the areas of education, human rights, the media and political transition.