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Commissioned Research on Social Inclusion Atlas and Ethnographic Profile (SIA EP)

Introduction and Objective

The Social Inclusion Atlas and Ethnographic Profile (SIA EP) is one of the major research studies undertaken by the Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology (CDSA) at Tribhuvan University. The primary objective of the research is to promote informed understanding of Nepal’s social diversity by producing research based, high quality and up-to-date information of the country’s social, cultural and linguistic composition and the status of human and social development. The project aims to produce and present the information useful for inclusive policy formulation, social exclusion assessment and broader education on country's social diversity.

Nepal is richly bestowed with social, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity with multiple caste and ethnic groups. The country, however, does not currently have a comprehensive knowledge-base of its caste and ethnic groups and its social diversity. Nepal as multicultural society needs to develop understanding of dimensions of the country's diversity in its totality and related issues of inclusion, and national solidarity through research that covers entire length and breadth of the country.

Social inclusion has become a national agenda for attaining sustainable peace, equitable growth and inclusive state restructuring. Inclusive society is indeed both moral obligation and practical need. The phenomenon of heightened aspiration for identity, cultural recognition and their correlation with life chances and sense of belonging to wider national society has emerged as an important scholarly and policy concerns. This research with its various components helps address these concerns through generation and systematic analysis of empirical materials.

Research Components

The research study has four interrelated components. Each component supplements others for producing nuance picture of social groups through qualitative and quantitative information on social, cultural, economic, political and gender dimensions including factors of their exclusion and discrimination. The four components that cover the entire groups across the country are expected to help lay out a canvas for meaningfully charting out social diversity and inclusion in the country. The following are the key research components of the research: National Social Inclusion Index (NSII)

The first component on building of National Social Inclusion Index (NSII) will be based on reanalysis of data available from national surveys including Census 2011, Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS), Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), Nepal Labour Force Survey and others. Building on the past experiences on the work, this component aims to build multidimensional social inclusion index.

Nepal Social Inclusion Survey (NSIS)

The second component aims to collect primary information on social inclusion and human development status through sample survey. The survey conducted in a same reference period, is expected to allow better comparison between different groups in a social mosaic interwoven in complex relationship. This will also supplement both national social inclusion index and ethnographic profile by brining basic information on different communities.

Ethnographic Profile (EP)

The third component- Ethnographic Profile (EP) aims to eventually compile profiles of all the caste and ethnic groups in the country. The task of profiling will start with extensive survey of available literature on the concerned group for building annotated bibliography followed by extensive field survey. The field survey will be carried out by multidisciplinary team and look at various aspects of the group life to build a profile of each community. During the current project period, nevertheless, the research focuses on 42 highly excluded groups including those endangered and highly marginalised ones.

Social Inclusion Mapping (SIM)

The fourth component is projecting the relevant information on the social diversity and inclusion on spatial map through GIS. Working in close collaboration with the social scientists, the GIS experts will integrate the data obtained and analysed through NSII, NSIS and EP into GIS system for spatial mapping. The maps are expected to help discover the distribution, patterns, relationship and trends in the various indices on social inclusion and human development. In order to facilitate effective use in education, research and planning, an interactive digital mapping of 100+ social groups is also being planned for the future.

Major Outputs

The research will have three major outputs. The first is Multi-dimensional Social Inclusion Index that ranks different caste and ethnic groups according to their inclusion status. The second output will be a Social Inclusion Atlas that displays the information on social inclusion and diversity in spatial map. The third is a detailed Ethnographic Profile of highly excluded social groups. The research findings will be published in a series of monographs including online edition for wider dissemination.

Collaborative Organisations

The project works in collaboration with various Academic Departments and Research Centres at Tribhuvan University. The project plans to work very closely with Central Bureau of Statistics and other concerned government agencies. Nepal Academy, National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities and National Dalit Commission are among other key collaborators of the project in its future work. In order to respond to the concerns of stakeholders as well as to generate necessary support and facilitate future uses, the research will also work in close collaboration with National Planning Commission and international agencies including the UN bodies, DFID, the World Bank and others.

Research Method and Team

The research involves extensive analysis of secondary data and information together with field surveys. The research will obtain, generate and analyse quantitative and qualitative data including through ethnographic field work towards building robust multi-dimensional social inclusion index, diversity profile and interactive maps. The research team consists of more than three dozens of social scientists involved in the various components of this project. The experts are drawn from across the disciplines including Anthropology, Sociology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Population Studies, History, Education, Statistics and others.

Research Period and Budget The research project was formally started on 1st November 2011 for the period of 14 months. The total budget of the project is NPR 60.5 million. Of the total fund, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Nepal through Social Inclusion Research Fund (SIRF/SNV) provides NPR 60 million and CDSA contributes NPR 0.5 million for the project execution.