Promoting Dialogue for Nepal’s Peaceful Transformation and a lasting democracy

Women, Youth and Minorities in the Democratic Process
Project Description:
NA (to see the details please go to OBJECTIVESNA 

 A) Lecture sessions, discussions
 B) Field visits to important places/sites in Kathmandu
 C) Meeting with high level political leaders (eg. Maoist party Chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda) and non-political inspirational leaders (like, Anuradha Koirala, Dr. Sunduk Ruit etc.).

2. Production and broadcast of 15 interactive radio episodes by change agents
 The trained young leaders will return to their communities/schools, share their experience, and engage on one radio episode each, aided by a local supervisor. Finally 15 program will be aired through 10 FM stations which reach out to millions in remote and conflict affected parts of 
Nepal. Each leader is expected to reach out to around 2000 fellow students in his/her school.
 3) Production/dissemination of a comprehensive package of CD containing radio programs and audio visuals
 + network of leaders through Facebook etc.

 Direct: 15 participants

Primary impact: 7500 (15 * 500) (Experience sharing)

Secondary impact: 7.5 million (15 radio episodes * 10 FM * 50,000)

Plus hundreds more through TV and newspapers, Facebook etc


FM stations, and other local NGOs,
Team Members:
1. Anju Devkota - East West Center APLP Fellow 2009-10
 Asheshwor Man Shrestha East West Center Fellow 2008-2010
 Bal Krishna Sharma - East West Center Graduate Fellow 2008-2011
 Kamal R. Sigdel - East West Center, APLP Fellow 2008-2009
 6. Kosh Raj Koirala - East West Center, APLP Fellow 2010-2011
 Padmendra Shrestha - East West Center Graduate Fellow - 2007-2009
 11. Sunita Chaudhary - East West Center, APLP Fellow 2008-2009
 12. Sushma Rai - 
East West Center APLP Fellow 2009-2010

 Subaltern Forum (Simant Bikash Manch), Nepal
 Asia Media Forum, Nepal
 15 government schools from remote and conflict affected areas
 10 Local FM radio stations
 ** The institutional infrastructure to help these State Alumni implement the project will be provided by Subaltern Forum (Simant Bikash Manch). Besides, local FM stations in respective remote districts from where the participants come, and other local NGOs, including Asia Media Forum and educational institution like 
Trinity International College from Kathmandu will join hands. We will be engaging more partners as per need. The partners will be expanded as per need and they will provide in-kind support as per their capacity.
South Asia
This project will take place in Nepal. The major part in Kathmandu and fifteen remote districts of the country, mostly away from center's access and development.
For the first time in Nepal, the State Alumni will be engaged in a leadership training that reaches out to such a crucial target group in such a crucial time like never before

This program will impact directly to around 15 participants and they and the FM radio programs/media will reach out to over 7.5 million people in the areas hard hit by conflict

This project takes an innovative approach of mixing leadership training with opportunity to implementing the learned skills in real situation.

The prgram utlises the knowledge and skills learned by State Alumni from Nepal

This project is innovative in the way it reaches out to young people for the first time in far, remote and so-far neglected conflict affected areas

This will deploy the media, FM radio stations, local NGOs and colleges through a wide collaboration plan

The leaders will get chance to meet/question political and non-political leaders, otherwise impossible. This will help build the young leaders' confidence to meet goal

The program forges a wide partnership with local non-governmental actors

The program will have a long lasting impact and will continue to promote debate through the Facebook and other social networking tools which will be developed during the program

Very low cost but very high impact or outcome/output

This project has potential to be expanded further in Nepal and replicated in other countries as well 

Goals and Objectives:
Timeline and Activity List:
As budgeted this is 45 day long program, and will be implemented as outlined below:

Project winner announcement: Mid-May

Team meets: May 15-20, 2012

Call for applications: May 20-25, 2012

Fixing trainers: by June 10, 2012

Selection of students: by June 15, 2012

Logistics preparation: June 10-15, 2012

Arrival of 15 student participants: June 19, 2012

Week-long package program (lectures and visits in Ktm): June 20-27, 2012

Radio program assignment starts: July 1, 2012

Follow up and support to trained student leaders: July 1-July 30, 2012

Collection of radio programs and airing: August 2012

Follow up and online networking continues: from August

The forgotten victims of Nepal's civil war

Published on : 12 April 2012 - 4:35pm | By Aletta André (Photo by Aletta André)

Nepal's struggling peace process may have reached its final stages with the deadline for a new constitution fast approaching. But for thousands of people, peace constitutes much more than a new constitution. For them, any transition is not complete without justice for the many victims of human rights violations committed in the name of war.
The peace process began in 2006 when the Maoists ended their decade-long insurgency against the monarchy and joined parliamentary democracy in 2006. This week, the cantonments of former Maoist combatants and their weapons came under control of the Nepal army. 
Also, a new constitution should come into force before the current Interim Constiution expires on 28 May.
But thousands of people are waiting for something else - justice for their loved ones who were the victims of severe human rights violations.
Fight for justice
“Sometimes I’m out of money or have to walk on bare feet, but I will always continue my fight for justice.” Devi Sunuwar (pictured), a chubby, youthful woman sits on the bed in her one-room flat, above the tea stall she runs in
Kathmandu. While speaking, she holds a tarnished picture of her daughter Maina. In 2004, at the age of fifteen, Maina was taken from her by the Nepali army.
The soldiers were actually looking for Devi, who lead a local protest against human rights abuses by the army, but when she was not home they took the school girl instead. Maina never returned. Devi, along with human rights lawyers, suspects that Maina was tortured to death, but this has never been officially confirmed.
Around 16,000 people were killed during the civil war in Nepal and over 1400 people are still missing, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The conflict ended with a permanent cease fire in 2006.
According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN(M)) signed with the government of
Nepal in November 2006, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was going to be set up to record and probe serious human rights violations.
But over five years later, no agreement has yet been reached regarding the exact role of this commission. The major political parties argue in favour of blanket amnesty, while activists believe prosecution of the perpetrators should remain possible.
“By providing blanket amnesty to everyone you cannot address the problem of impunity, which is deeply rooted in
Nepal”, says human rights lawyer Mandira Sharma, who in 2001 founded the organisation Advocacy Forum to offer legal aid to victims of the conflict.
A recent joint report by Advocacy Forum and Human Rights Watch, published in March, lists perpetrators of human rights violations who since 2006 have been part of the Nepali government, have received international scholarships and even have been sent on UN peace keeping missions.
“No one who is in power and has committed crimes is being held accountable”, says Sharma. “When you see these people roaming around like this, how do you feel secure or safe?”
Full truth
In response to the argument that prosecution will delay the peace process, she says: “Prosecution should be part of the peace process. We work with thousands of victims and for them, the peace process is getting the full truth; it means that the state is making sure that it will not happen again, and also providing them justice.”
Samir Hadzimustafic of the local International Committee of the Red Cross delegation says the same. The ICRC has been offering psychological aid to the family members of missing persons since 2010. “Apart from knowing the full truth, we found that it is often important for the family members to see justice being done.”
Marriage and murder
Sabitri Shrestha has been fighting for this since 1998. Her brother Ujjan was murdered that year by Balkrishna Dhungel, a local politician who later joined the Maoists. Dhungel did not agree with Ujjan’s marriage to his sister, because they belonged to a different caste.
Ujjan’s body was never found. When Sabitri’s other brother Ganesh tried to file a case, he was also killed. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court found Dhungel guilty of murder and ordered a life-time imprisonment.
However, he is still free and even more, he's now a member of parliament.
“I don’t know what to do anymore”, cries Sabitri, who runs a mountain trekking agency from home. “I feel terrible, defeated and also scared. I truly believe that if there hadn't been this much attention for the case by media and activists, me and all my other family members would by now have been murdered as well.”
“This is a mockery of justice”, Advocay Forum's Mandira Sharma says. “If at all consensus has to be made, at minimum, the court orders should be respected.”
She points out that successive governments until now have withdrawn over 600 cases from the conflict period, including for murder and rape. “Without rule of law, we can't think of introducing democracy, we cannot think and dream of lasting peace, and we cannot think of development and progress.”

Six tips for journalists on launching a successful blog

by Valentina Gimenez

Many journalists want to start blogging but are wary of the time commitment and wonder about the outcome of all that work.

Enter reporter Jordi Pérez Colomé, who recently won the José Manuel Porquet prize for digital journalism. The jury said that his blog Obama Worldhas become an "essential reference" for analyzing international politics.

Here are some tips from Pérez Colomé on getting started.

Get experience. Pérez Colomé said he has started his blog "of necessity" after losing his job. "Losing your job helps you seek alternatives. You don't need to ask permission or own a press to start a media organization or a press to open a media. However, having some newsroom experience helps."

Create something new. "It's unrealistic to think that journalism succeeds only if it repeats what is already being done [by traditional media]. The advantage of the Internet is that the journey between an idea and implementing it is short. The disadvantage is that there is more competition...If you want your project to work you have to do something that hasn't been done or is being done wrong, tell it well and, above all, begin by doing something that you would like to read or see," he said.

Seek alternative funding. Pérez Colomé gave several examples of funding streams that he is already using or plans to start using. "A blog is an investment, especially in time...Today, the only option is to try what's available. I put the Paypal button on the site and it pays part of my travel. I went with digital books and they are selling. Soon I'll try long features published only in digital book form, and perhaps crowdfunding."

Build a brand. With a blog, reporters acquire visibility and a brand, which can help generate indirect income, he said. Some of the perks? He now teaches a journalism writing class, people call him for lectures or as a news commentator - and he won that prize of EUR€3,000 (about US$4,000.)

Experiment with multimedia and social networks. Never underestimate how much a photo or video can help tell a story. Pérez Colomé says he's not a great photographer, but now takes a camera with him everywhere he goes. He's on Twitter, but also looking to learn more about other social networks, too.

Pay attention to the hidden work. A blog requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work that may not come easy to a journalist but has an impact on the final product. This includes design, programming, advertising.

To read the whole post, in Spanish, click here.


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'Ridiculously Photogenic Guy' picture from 10k race goes viral

By Chris Chase | Fourth-Place Medal – Fri, Apr 6, 2012 10:35 PM SGT


It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you look when they take your picture.

For 25-year-old Zeddie Little of New York, an affable smile amidst the pain of long-distance running that was captured during a 10k race in Charleston, S.C. turned him into a viral phenomenon knows as "Really Photogenic Guy." Nearly 1.4 million people have viewed the picture in recent days on Flickr and it has been uploaded countless times to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

A South Carolina systems analyst named Will King was looking through his photos of last weekend's Cooper River Bridge 10k when he stumbled across the one above. He noticed how different Little looked than all the other runners and uploaded it.


"One of my friends commented on the picture and said something along the lines of 'I dub this guy Mr. Ridiculously Photogenic,'" King told the Post and Courier . "I thought it was a pretty cool comment, so I posted it on Reddit. For some reason it just took off from there."

The nickname sounds like one the characters on "Friends" would have bestowed upon a handsome neighbor.

The juxtaposition of Little's smile and the rest of the runners is what makes the picture so amusing. Photoshop him out of that shot and put him in a family photo at Disney World and Little doesn't look any more "ridiculously photogenic" than anyone else. But while running a 45-minute race in the spring heat of South Carolina? Yeah, that's a photogenic guy.


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Alicia Silverstone feeds baby mouth to mouth

Cover Media – Tue, Mar 27, 2012 7:30 PM SGT

Alicia Silverstone has posted a video of herself feeding her baby mouth to mouth.

The 35-year-old actress gave birth to baby Bear Blu 10 months ago and is delighted he is now going onto solid food.

But the actress has chosen an unconventional way to feed him and seems to have been inspired by the way birds feed their young.

The Clueless star is seen taking a mouthful of food and chewing it up before placing her mouth over her baby’s and feeding him the softened morsels.

Bear Blu is seen reaching to his mother’s mouth to get fed and appears to be comfortable with getting his meal that way.

“I just had a delicious breakfast of miso soup, collards and radish steamed and drizzled with flax oil,” Alicia wrote on her blog.

“Cast iron mochi with nori wrapped outside, and some grated daikon. Yum!

“I fed Bear the mochi and a tiny bit of veggies from the soup… from my mouth to his. It’s his favourite… and mine.

“He literally crawls across the room to attack my mouth if I’m eating. This video was taken about a month or 2 ago when he was a bit wobbly. Now he is grabbing my mouth to get the food!”

Alicia is a staunch vegan and is bringing up her son that way too. She is married to singer and radio presenter Christopher Jarecki. They met in 1997 and tied the knot eight years later.

Watch the video of her feeding her child below.

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Veena Malik is a slur on Pakistan says Resham

Monday, April 9th, 2012 11:04:40 by Imran Shaukat Khan


It’s been more than a year now since the drama queen, Veena Malik, is in India but now she is finally planning to return to her homeland. However, it seems as if she is not being welcomed at all by the Pakistani actors.

Resham, one of the leading Lollywood actresses, has insisted that Veena should be ashamed of herself for what she has done in India.

Veena Malik has portrayed a negative image of our country. She should be ashamed of this,” film star Resham commented while talking to

Controversy’s favorite child, Veena Malik, rose to fame during her stint in the Bigg Boss house because she started an affair with a Bollywood actor, Ashmit Patel, who was also a participant.

The actress did many other cheap publicity stunts in India but the biggest of all was her ‘nude’ appearance on the cover page of FHM India. The news caused a storm in her country so much so that she started getting death threats.

Resham stressed that Pakistan needs people like Sharmeen Obaid and Arfa Randhawa, the youngest Microsoft specialist who died not too long ago, and not Veena Malik.

Resham further said, “An artist of a nation actually represents his or her country but artists like Veena Malik are a slur on our country. We need people like Sharmeen Obaid and Arfa to represent our country. Veena is a shame for us and our religion,” Resham concluded.

Well, when Veena was asked she said “I am the real darling of the nation.”

The people who say negative things about me are actually jealous of my fame.”

The actress, in the meantime, admitted that she fears that she may get assassinated by another ‘Qadri’ on her return to Pakistan. Nevertheless, she still said that she will return to her homeland one day.

While sharing her fear with, Malik said, “I have received threats from extremists. My friends ask me not to be worried but I take them (threats) seriously. I will reconsider my homecoming plan.”

Veena added, “Pakistan is my country and I will come back one day.”


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Pakistan media comes of age: showcases the glamorous face of Pak

By Alizeh Kohari



Hello! magazine has arrived in Pakistan, on a mission to celebrate the country's glamorous side - one that is missing all too often in international news coverage - and to help develop a home-grown celebrity culture.


A clink of jewellery, a tinkle of glass, a hushed audience and a lit-up runway - and Hello! Pakistan is launched in Karachi, with an extravagant four-day fashion show.


Publishers hope the magazine, which will hit news stands in mid-April, will - by showcasing gloss and glamour - dispel some of the gloomier images foreigners associate with Pakistan.


"We will highlight the fashionable and the athletic, the intellectual and the aesthetic," says Zahraa Saifullah.


Pakistan already has a number of local publications whose glossy pages are devoted to showcasing the weekend engagements of the Pakistani elite. But the team at Hello! Pakistan - the country's first international franchise of this kind - says that their approach will be different.


"The aim is to move beyond the 'typical 10'," says Wajahat Khan, the consulting editor at the magazine. "We want the 11th man, the 12th girl, the 13th crossdresser."



The Hello! launch fashion show continued for four days

"We have a thriving television industry, an emerging literary scene - and we have a very strong art scene," adds editor-in-chief Mahvesh Amin. "We're going to tap into all of these as well as others - politicians, businessmen, sports figures - and cover them as personalities."


In the US and the UK, she says, the mere sight of a celebrity walking down a street - say, Angelina Jolie - can classify as news. In Pakistan, this isn't really the case.


"So we've decided that our coverage will be more achievement-oriented," she says. "People who are doing good things, have done great things. This way, we'll create celebrities."


Continue reading the main story

Start Quote



You will never find a picture of a topless Veena Malik [above] plastered on our cover”


Zahraa Saifullah


Saifullah, who says she grew up watching her mother and grandmother flipping through the pages of international Hello!, says it took her two years to coax the the international franchise into Pakistan.


Initially, the management was "reluctant to enter a market that is not really perceived as a prime investment opportunity," she says.


It's true, the market for an English-language print publication is limited in a country with low literacy rates even in Urdu.


According to consulting editor Wajahat S Khan, the circulation figures of such magazines is only between 12,000 to 15,000 issues. Moreover, Hello! Pakistan, which will be published once a month, will be priced at 500 Pakistani rupees ($5.50, £3.50), no small amount by the country's standards.


Saifullah does not reveal any figures but has full faith that her publication will do well. "We've done our research," she says. "I can say with complete conviction that we will break the numbers of all English-language publications in the country."


In freelance fashion writer Moiz Kazmi's opinion, two types of people will read the magazine.


"Firstly, people will buy the magazine if they - or people that they know - have been featured in its pages," he says.


"Secondly, there are those who look at who's-wearing-what in the magazine, then take it to their local tailors to get the clothes copied for themselves."


There are some critics out there though.


Munawar Bawany, member of a local branch of Tanzeem-i-Islami, a Lahore-based religious organisation that aims to inculcate Islamic mores and values within society, says he would not read the magazine - and would discourage his children from "bringing it into the house".


"Such magazines promote and perpetuate ideologies that aren't inherently Islamic, that aren't part of our culture," he says.


"I would be concerned about the effect it may have on young people."


Saifullah, however, is quick to reassure that the magazine will take great pains to remain "socially responsible and culturally aware".



Karachi, and Pakistan, are often in the news for the wrong reasons

"You will never find a picture of a topless Veena Malik plastered on our cover," she says, referring to the incident late last year when Pakistani film actress Veena Malik shocked segments of society by appearing on the cover of an Indian magazine, apparently naked and with the letters I-S-I tattooed on her arm - an impertinent allusion to Pakistan's intelligence agency.


There are some further concerns.


Publishing a lifestyle magazine that serves as an open advertisement of wealth could be problematic in a country like Pakistan where kidnappings - often for staggering amounts of ransom - are on the rise.


A publication of this nature could also be viewed as symptomatic of a deeply-divided society - a disconnected elite, firmly ensconced in its own ivory tower, versus the impoverished masses.


Indeed, as models sashayed down the runway over the course of the four-day fashion showcase at Karachi's upscale DHA Golf and Country Club, on the far side of the town, bullets were fired and buses torched as the city's law and order situation took a turn for the worse.


But there is nothing wrong, says Saifullah, in portraying a more buoyant image of the country.


"It's about time we began moving away from all this negativity that we dwell in and that we seem to thrive on," she says.


"There are so many positive things taking place in Pakistan that remain unspoken."


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Body painting is not body art, the semiotics of human body

Visit this site to know more about body painting

More body paintings and the new trends

The 92-degree heat outside permeates the second-floor room in a busy street. Inside, the man stands still, like a sculpture in a museum, under the whirling fan. He is clad only in paint. The two artists, Ryan and Mark, who have been working on him for about three hours have decorated him from his face down to his toes in intricate designs of copper, white, black and red.
Ryan steps back to look at his art work critically and nods in satisfaction. "You're looking great," he assures the model, as he dabs a few dots of copper on his face.
Mark, in the meantime, puts a few finishing touches on the model's back and says, "Yeah, it's about done."
Ryan and Mark practice what is considered the oldest art form - body painting. For them, the human body is the canvas on which they express their artistic talent with dots, swirls, and lines of paint. They create images that are drawn from tribal art, from the natural world, and some just abstract forms from their imagination. 
Body painting is a growing trend these days and is becoming one of the most popular types of body art. While other types of body art like tattoos are meant to last a lifetime, body painting is a temporary art form, which usually lasts just for a few hours. If henna is used, it can last for a couple of weeks. 
Traditional Body Painting
While body painting is certainly back in vogue, it is not a new concept. The tradition has been prevalent in many ancient cultures, some of which practice it even today. In these ancient forms of body painting, dust or sand was used to create their "magic paintings".
Humans, in fact, have been painting their bodies with natural dyes, paints, pigments, tattoos, ash, and clay since prehistoric times. These markings that they made on their bodies were thought to have magical powers with which they could ward off evil spirits or tribal enemies. They also used it to celebrate auspicious occasions. This practice can still be seen in the indigenous populations of New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and certain parts of Africa. Henna, or Mehandi, which is made from an herb known by the same name, has been in use in India and the Middle East since ages, especially during auspicious ceremonies like weddings. Mehandi has grown in popularity in the West since the 1990s. The native populations of South America have been using wet charcoal, annatto, and huito to adorn their bodies and faces. Huito, which is a black dye, can take weeks to fade away.
Clowns and actors all over the world have been painting their faces, and sometimes even their bodies, for many centuries, which continues even today. It is speculated that the cosmetics that are in use today has evolved from more subdued forms of face painting.
Modern Body Painting
With the liberalization of thought and wider acceptance of public expression of cultural freedom, especially regarding nudity, in the 1960s, body painting as an art form has witnessed a revival in the West. However, there is still debate today about whether body painting is truly an art form, although its practitioners and followers have no doubt about it being so. This is quite apparent not only in the proliferation of body painting parlors and body painting artists, but also the body painting festivals that are held regularly in the United States and Europe.
Fine Art of Body Painting
In body painting, a wide range of ideas are taken from various sources like alternative art, fine arts, rune, mythologies, and even current affairs. They can be related to occasions or events like political protest movements or sports events, like soccer. In the post 1960s era, several experimental methods were tried out, such as a model being covered with paint and rolled on a canvas so that the paint was transferred there. Depending on the paints used, whether multi-hued or in monotones, the images that were created could be very interesting. Usually, however, the paints are applied using paintbrushes, airbrushes, natural sea sponges, or just by the fingers and hands. These days the paints that are used are non-allergenic, non-toxic, and are easily washable. 
For artists like Ryan and Mark, they improvise as they go along, with each model. For them, the artwork arises from an unspoken dialog that takes place between the artist and the model. 
Says Ryan, " I decorate the skin with the soul, both mine and the model's."
Mark echoes his friend's thoughts, "Yes, I draw the energies that I feel from my model, and I let the paint and the brush express that on his or her skin."
They usually use delicate designs on women and masculine and bold imagery on men, although this is not a hard and fast rule.
Once the model is covered in paint, he/she becomes an expression of the art itself. 
Ryan likens it to wearing a mask for a masquerade or an actor becoming the role he/she plays. "It allows the model to assume some part of his or her personality that is not expressed normally. As for me, as an artist, I divine that hidden part and express it on the skin."

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