Raising awareness about constituent assembly polls

31 Jan 2008

In the UNDP ‘Participation in Peace’ project, the BBC World Service Trust recorded the latest edition(12th) of the discussion programme Sajha Sawal (common questions) with Sujata Koirala, Minister Without Portfolio (daughter of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala). The programme was on air in BBC Nepali Sewa on 3 February. A live audience of more than 60 people drawn from local groups and members of UNDP supported community organisations took part in the interaction while a reporter phoned in questions from local people in Sunsari, her own constituency and home district.

The public asked the Minister about her reported changes of position from Monarchy to republicanism and viceversa. She answered questions about the future of the Monarchy and about her role as Minister Without Portfolio.

There were also discussions about the CA Polls, the likelihood that they will take place as scheduled in April and concerns about security, particularly in the Terai.

The need for equal representation of all communities especially the Madhesis (people from the terai) in the Constituent Assembly and in parliament was discussed.

The Trust held a partner’s conference in Biratnager with 15 local radio stations from the Eastern region of Nepal in January and shared research findings from its recent baseline survey on media consumption patterns in Nepal, and provided training on how to produce programmes that are relevant to and driven by audience priorities.

The Trust also conducted a training needs assessment with the stations to help plan future training packages.

Also the Sajha Sawal team had its first work experience attachment. The attachment scheme gives radio producers intensive training and on-the-job experience by working alongside the Trust’s production team. Deepa Bardewa joined the team for a week from the Jagaran Radio in Butwal, the only station in Nepal run by and for the Dalit community. Sajha Sawal is broadcast on radio every Sunday at 21:00 by over 60 commercial and community radio stations across Nepal.

The BBC World Service Trust project launched its new drama series ‘katha mitho sarangi ko’ on 1 Feb with an event at the Patan Museum. The programme has introduced a new docu-drama format to Nepal which features the stories and participation of real people. It is recorded in both the Terai and the hill region and explores the forces that are shaping today’s Nepal and charting a course for their peaceful resolution. There are popular local actors who have come together to make this drama `lively and easy to communicate.’