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Mid Term Review Report, Nov 2007

Promoting critical and high-quality research on causes of social exclusion and ways to accommodate inclusion was the main concept when Norway endorsed the set-up of an
independent  Research  Fund  in  Nepal  in  2004.  Recognising  that  a  majority  of  the population had been left out of decision-making processes and major public arenas from
state administration, universities to civil society institutions, the planned Fund aimed to make  social  science  research  more  relevant  for  excluded  groups  like  women,marginalised Janajati, Dalits and Madheshis.

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Institutionalisation of the Social Inclusion Research Fund (SIRF)

Social Inclusion Research Fund was established, with its secretariat in the SNV/Nepal premises with the objectives to: i) Produce high quality and critical research on causes of social exclusion in Nepal and ways to accommodate and promote diversity; ii) Make social science research more relevant to excluded and disadvantaged groups and their agendas; and iii) Ensure that research contributes more effectively to policy debate and a deliberative democratic process. In order to initiate the process of institutionalization process of the Research Fund, the ISC decided to re-form a task force to initiate the process of the institutionalisation of the Research Fund by June 2008. The task force team focused more on team meetings to develop the framework for the formation order for the board and also carried out consultations with selected key persons. On the basis of the inputs received from the series of discussions, the taskforce has developed Draft Development Board formation act and was presented to NPC for initiating the formalization process. This draft Act lays out the legal, administrative and management framework for the proposed institution. 

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Social Exclusion and Nation Building – Assessment of Prospects for Enhancing the Role of Research and Research Institutions in Nepal

This Study was commissioned as a follow-up to an assessment of Norwegian support to NGOs in Nepal, where it was argued that, in general, there is a lack of understanding of the role of the civil society in poverty alleviation. Within the time and resource frame allocated to this assignment, it was not possible to address overall aim in much depth hence, we have chosen to be realistic, acknowledging the complexity of the matters concerned and rely on the confidence given to the Team by an open ended Terms of Reference. It is in the Teams view that there is a need for a new initiative that contributes to a reorientation of the current research agenda towards an agenda that is more responsive to the contemporary challenges of Nepal. Specifically, the most striking characteristic is that the research sector in Nepal is overly dependent on international donors, thus, being instrumental to donors' agendas and their specific need for commissioned work. This serves to explain why we see the need for an innovative set-up for the research programme that breaks with the current fragmentation and client orientation of policy related research in Nepal. 

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Policy Debate on Social Inclusion Programme

There is a compelling need for Nepal to demonstrate its commitment to establish a multi-cultural, multi-social, multi-linguistic, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic federal state, as the new government prepares to restructure the state taking into consideration the diversity of the state and its people.  Historically, the country had suffered from social exclusion. In this regard, there is an urgent need to initiate a dialogue with the CA members and their respective 25 political party’s policy makers and civil society representing voices of excluded group.

The main objective of the Programmes is to disseminate the research finding of the SIRF to the policy makers including CA members and to encourage all stakeholders including development partners to make their development strategies inclusive. The other objectives are as follows:

1.    Interact with and assist 25 Political Parties to develop policy paper on Social Inclusion making the restructuring of the state more inclusive.
2.    Empower CA members to articulate the need for including strong legislation on Social Inclusion and to ensure that any government in power implement any legislation enacted on SI.
3.    Bring relevant issues of social exclusion and nation building from Civil Societies representing excluded group.
4.    Share good practices, lessons and research outcome with other countries which are dealing with the issues of social exclusion in the Asia-Pacific Region, Africa and Latin America etc.  

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