Provinces set to finally get a role in regulating national and foreign non-government organisationsSocial Welfare Council has drafted a coordination mechanism policy among the three tiers of the government
Provinces, which currently have no role in regulating and supervising domestic and foreign non-governmental organisations, will soon have some defining role with the Social Welfare Council working on a coordination policy among the three layers of government.
After the Province 1 government last month formally wrote to the council asking to clarify the role of the provincial government, the council moved ahead with the process of preparing the policy.
“A board meeting of the council passed the draft of the policy on Sunday,” said Durga Prasad Bhattarai, information officer at the council. “We held a stakeholders meeting on Tuesday. We will issue the policy after we get consent from the government.”
He said the council moved ahead to introduce a policy stop-gap measure after it appeared that it will take time to introduce a new law regarding the operation of international and non-governmental organisations (I/NGOs).
As per the proposed policy, the roles of federal, provincial and local governments have been defined in the areas of project design and implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
As per the council’s proposal, a local NGO or an INGO will have to go to the provincial government at first in the design phase and coordinate with the concerned provincial ministry to determine thematic areas of project and its location.
They then should approach the local government, where the project has been planned for implementation. After reaching out to the local government, the concerned NGO or INGO will have to work with the local government to identify the needs at the local level and sign a pre-consent agreement with the local body.
The concerned NGO or INGO should then approach the council at the centre with project proposals in the prescribed format.
“After taking consent from the government, the council will give its final approval to the project proposal,” said Bhattarai. “The council will then dispatch the approved project proposal to the provincial and local governments.”
When it comes to monitoring of I/NGOs, there should be separate responsibilities and coordination among the three tiers of the government, according to the council. Two tasks— reporting and progress review— will be carried out as part of monitoring.
As per the proposed policy, INGOs will have to do reporting about their works and submit annual progress reports to the provincial government and the council. NGOs, on the other hand, will have to submit their annual progress reports to the concerned agencies of all three tiers of the government.
The federal and provincial governments will separately review the progress reports submitted by the NGOs having a project budget of Rs50 million, as well as all INGOs.
“Currently, the council is responsible for reviewing the progress report of I/NGOs twice a year. We have proposed sharing this burden with the provincial governments,” said Bhattarai.
In the case of NGOs having project of less than Rs 50 million, a review meeting, coordinated by the District Coordination Committee chairman and participated by the representatives of the concerned local units, will review the progress report, according to Bhattarai.
When it comes to evaluation, concerned local governments will be responsible for the evaluation of the project’s performance of the NGOs whose programme budget is less than Rs 4 million.
The concerned provincial government will be responsible for evaluating the performance of the project if the programme budget of NGOs is between Rs4 million to Rs10 million, according to the proposed policy.
Those projects with a budget of more than Rs10 million will be evaluated by the council with the participation of the representative from the concerned provincial government.
It is also the council’s responsibility to evaluate the performance of all INGOs by ensuring representation of the concerned provincial government, said Bhattarai.
The council has come up with the proposed policy amid provincial and local governments seeking an increased role in regulating and monitoring of I/NGOs.
After the Local Level Operation Act made provisions that the organisations, consumer committees and cooperatives need to coordinate with the local authorities, local governments had been pressurising I/NGOs to register with them. The latter, however, have been asking for a policy whereby they could operate after getting registered with one particular authority.
Council officials said the provincial governments had also been seeking a greater role in regulating and monitoring of I/NGOs, as the constitution allows them to look into foreign aid in coordination with the federal government.
Despite making the policy for provincial and local governments, the council didn’t invite any representatives from the provincial and local governments during the stakeholder meeting on Tuesday. However, Bhattarai said that there has been communication with them in informal ways.
Durga Baral, chief women development officer at the Social Development Ministry in Province 1, told the Post that they knew nothing about the proposed policy, although they had written to the council for the introduction of a coordination mechanism policy. “We hope to get to know about it soon,” she said.
According to Baral, her ministry has formed a provincial level project approval committee to coordinate with I/NGOs.
“But, there is no clear policy on coordination among three tiers of the government yet,” she added.