Promoting Values of a Liberal Society

Terms of Reference

Background

More than a decade ago, monarchy vanquished as the second People’s Movement in April 2006 ushered the country to a Federal Republic, paving way for the writing of a new constitution and an overall expansion of political freedom and civil liberties. Despite the gloom and doom, the country endorsed democracy and a wave of socio-political freedom, while its long and constant struggle for economic freedom continued. 

In 2015, Nepal witnessed a new Constitution that adopted federalism and replaced the erstwhile unitary structure of governance. This long-awaited change charted out hope for economic freedom. When the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) (CPN-UML) and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) joined to form a combined communist force and went to garner a two-third majority in the Parliament, the country ventured a new era of political stability. Since then, the government has focused its efforts towards setting up the right policy and legal frameworks to enable the smooth transition into and for the implementation of federalism. The political leadership now faces the challenge of crafting hundreds of new laws and amending equally many.

However, in a bid to expedite the enactment of such laws, the government has imposed arbitrary rules on its citizens challenging freedom at all fronts. In an unprecedented move, the newly introduced criminal code curtails press freedom as the law prohibits releasing of private information, satires or disrespecting government officials. The Information Technology Bill empowers government authorities to restrict social media access by imposing penalties for posting ‘improper’ content on social media platforms. Moreover, the moral policing of the government by arresting popular singers and comedians for promoting ‘anti-social values’ has threatened the civil society space. In the economic front, the institution of the contribution-based social security scheme has deprived individuals from the choice to utilize one-third of their funds.

All of these instances substantiate the fact that the economic, political and civil space in Nepal is not just shrinking, but the ideals of democracy – personal autonomy and individual rights, freedom of expression, rule of law – are facing the hammer of draconian laws and rules. This absence of of a free society and a space to creatively project and test ideas will eventually hinder the prosperity of the nation. Therefore, this requires immediate intervention.

As an organization whose ideals are rooted in freedom, we intend to play the role of a watchdog to sensitize the civil society regarding the spread of anti-democratic practices. Samriddhi strongly believes in the creation of a free society in Nepal because it is only in a free society with different value systems that one can freely contest their ideas in the public sphere and policy can be robustly formed without any undue influence.

Opportunities

As Nepal turns into a Federal Democratic Republic with seven states and 753 local governments, there are new opportunities to work with the sub-national governments to promote and defend liberal values at subnational level as a way to check the encroachment of the federal government on the space of civil, political and economic freedoms. There are likeminded organisations and groups/individuals besides local media houses at subnational levels who have dedicated themselves to hold their local and state governments accountable and answerable to their constituencies. With targeted orientation engagements, some of these groups could be molded into becoming defenders of freedom. More importantly, there is an opportunity to feed professionals who are well-trained on the ideas of liberty and economic freedom into these organisations.

Samriddhi has also engaged a number of individuals and groups by way of training them on investigative journalisms-type research and different advocacy methods like consultative dialogues to video making on local and state policy issues and social media engagement to raise awareness and influence sub-national policy making.

As such, Samriddhi is well positioned to engage its network of likeminded agents at sub-national and even federal level in order to create a critical mass at the ground level to defend the shrinking sphere of liberty and values of a liberal democracy.

Program: ‘Promoting Values of a Liberal Society’

Through the “Promoting Values of a Liberal Society” initiative, Samriddhi Foundation attempts to advocate for an enhanced political, social and economic freedom of Nepalese people and intends to educate a wider mass whilst facilitating a discourse among them. For the same, Samriddhi will use two distinct kind of techniques – seminars and colloquium.

Samriddhi will identify young professionals and engage them in deliberations covering the principles of a liberal democracy, Nepal’s fight for democracy, the importance of protecting liberal values in the society, and how to become an ambassador to defend Nepali people’s liberties. The graduates of these programs will also contribute to promoting economic freedom in Nepal and work to remove regulatory bottlenecks in the system.

The first of the two techniques is the ‘Promoting Values of a Liberal Society’ seminar which will be a residential seminar dedicated to training young professionals into core principles of liberty and sensitizing them about economic freedom and policy regime. The seminar will help young people explore alternative ideas for Nepal’s existing problems; to help young people understand the value of liberty, and inject new ideas into the public discourse for promoting liberal values in the society.

In the year 2020, two 9-day online workshops will be organized to train and educate young people. Workshops will incorporate at least 25 participants from all over Nepal. These residential workshop will be developed in a “youth friendly” interactive way for higher impact. The workshop will be a combination of guest lectures, working sessions, case studies, interactions, some skill sessions, documentary screening etc.

A full-time workshop coordinator for each seminar will be hired to facilitate the event and relevant individuals and professionals will be invited as guest speakers on a per-session basis. They will share their knowledge, experience and lessons and prepare the participants to promote the values of a liberal democracy within their own realms. For example, graduates coming from new think-tank background could expand this advocacy of Samriddhi through their works like research, articles, blogs, social media contents, public discourses, etc. 

The second technique is a colloquium. Samriddhi believes that a free society requires a dialogue among active minds freely engaged in pondering the ideas that have shaped human civilization in general and the free society in particular.

After the two aforementioned workshops, Samriddhi will host one 3-night-2-days colloquium (‘Promoting Values of a Liberal Society’ colloquium) which will see 20 participants (selected graduates of the two earlier seminars) who understand and believe in the role of reading/learning and active dialogues in shaping societies, spend a number of days discussing selected classical liberal texts with an experienced and knowledgeable moderator. The event will encourage exploration of ideas through informal, yet serious, discussion among a small group of individuals from a range of disciplines and expertise. Participants will be shared a list of articles around the theme which they will read and sit at a round-table setting to have a moderated Socratic discussion on. The purpose neither has to be to convey a doctrine nor to reach a consensus. Yet, for Nepal, such dialogues could help shape the future courses of Nepalese democracy.

Outputs and Plan of Action

Outputs:

  • Two nine-day and online ‘Promoting Values of a Liberal Society’ workshops.
  • One two-day and online ‘Promoting Values of a Liberal Society’ colloquium.
  • Four investigative-journalism-type papers from the participants of the workshops
  • Four short videos based on the research done for the investigative-journalism-type papers
  • Three policy briefs submitted to the government of Nepal as inputs for the Federal Budget for the Fiscal Year 2020/2021

Plan of Action:

S.NOutputPlan of Action
1Two nine-day and online ‘Promoting Values of a Liberal Society’ workshops.  Step 1: Leverage the network that Samriddhi Foundation has with business chambers and CSOs across Nepal and identify potential candidates for the seminars. Screen the candidates via one-on-one online engagements and finalise the participants for the seminars. Step 2: Conduct the first seminar online via a virtual platform. Workshop will be conducted as per the curriculum designed. Resource persons will be as per the initial plan. Step 3: After the first workshop, do an internal review of the seminar (including resource persons and participants) and its effectiveness, and design the curriculum for the second workshop accordingly. Step 4:  Conduct the second workshop online via a virtual platform. Workshop will be conducted as per the curriculum designed.
2One two-day and online ‘Promoting Values of a Liberal Society’ colloquium.  Step 1: Hire a consultant to design a reading material factoring for the objective of the program as well as the review of the level of comprehension of the participants. Step 2: Circulate the colloquium reader with the participants well in advance. Step 3: Conduct the two-day colloquium through a virtual platform.
3Four investigative-journalism-type papers from the participants of the seminars  Step 1: Group the participants on the basis of their geographical location in at least four groups. Step 2: Tie up each group with a senior and professional journalist from the same geographical region as the mentor for the group. Step 3: On the guidance and mentorship of the senior journalist, the graduates of the program conduct an investigative research on a topic related to governance (for example the effectiveness of the local governments in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic). Step 4: Each group produces a short investigative-journalism-type paper based on their research.  
4Four short videos based on the research done for the investigative-journalism-type papers  Step 1: Tie up each group with a professional videographer who acts as the videography mentor for the groups. Step 2: Each group produces a short video based on the investigative research they conducted with their research mentor.
5Three policy briefs submitted to the government of Nepal as inputs for the Federal Budget for the Fiscal Year 2020/2021  As an economic policy institute, it is one of the best times for Samriddhi Foundation to advocate for policy reforms that can not only enhance the economic freedom of Nepali people but also contribute to strengthening Nepal’s response in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. End of May is also the time for the federal government of Nepal to present its budget for the fiscal year, and Samriddhi Foundation will capitalize on this benefit of circumstances to produce three policy briefs that promote liberal values and advocate for policy reforms through the budget by way of advocating straight with the federal government. Step 1: Build three teams to study these three areas, viz. reviving agriculture, reviving tourism, and improving the doing-business scene in Nepal. Step 2: Conduct a preliminary study on the three areas and produce first draft. Step 3: Conduct an online consultation meeting on each of the three areas and invite sectoral experts to review the draft and give additional feedback/inputs. Step 4: Incorporate the feedback from the consultation meetings with experts and finalise the policy briefs. Step 5: Submit the fresh policy briefs to the federal governments.

Measurables

As Samriddhi engages with likeminded individuals and engages a number of young idea enthusiasts through these workshops and colloquium, Samriddhi hopes to have instilled in them an affinity towards liberal values. Samriddhi will continue to engage with them in the future to track what kind of positive changes have been noted in them in terms of them becoming ambassadors of liberal ideas and promoters of civil, economic and political freedom in Nepal. 

Samriddhi will gauge the success of the event on the basis of following measurable:

  • Articles and blogs written by the graduates of the workshop and colloquium.
  • Their future association with likeminded organisations that promote ideas of liberty.
  • Their participation in other workshops and forums like those hosted by ATLAS Network or CCS or even FNF in future.
  • The ideas and opinions they share in public forums in future.
  • Any change in their social media content before and after participating in the seminars and the colloquium.
  • Any research work conducted by these graduates in future, either independently or in association with other organisations.

Call for quotations

In order to deliver this project, Samriddhi invites quotations from interested consultants for the following tasks and responsibilities. Interested individuals or consulting agencies are requested to send in detailed quotations including estimated costs, and detailed resumes to:

Either info@samriddhi.org via email, or,

 via post to Samriddhi Foundation, PO Box No.: 8973, NPC 678, Kathmandu, Nepal, or,

hand deliver the quotation to Samriddhi premises at 664, Bhimsengola Marga, Minbhawan Kharibot, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Kindly mark the positions that is being applied for on the cover of the envelope. The quotations should reach Samriddhi by 28 June, 2020, no later than 5.00 PM Nepal Standard Time. Contract award will be communicated by 22 June, 2020 to all the applicants.

Position: Workshop Coordinator

The Workshop coordinator will be responsible for:

  • Working with Samriddhi Foundation to communicate selection results with candidates
    • Compile reading materials and all videos and other reference materials to be used by lecturers and participants throughout the workshop
    • Coordinating the online organisation of the workshops including participant sign ins and management of break-out rooms on daily basis
    • Coordinating with guest lecturers, communicating workshop’s expectations with them and arranging their sessions.
    • Conducting pre and post tests of the participants
    • Ensuring record-keeping of all sessions
    • Handling participant queries and issues throughout the workshop
    • Overall logistical support of the workshop

The consultant should have the following qualifications:

  • Have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in Social Science,
  • Have at least 3 years’ experience of organizing and coordinating workshops and trainings,
  • Have an understanding of policy process in Nepal,

Preference will be given to candidates who have worked with public policy institutes in the past

Duration: The Consultant will work on this project for 12man-days.

Remuneration: Negotiable. The Consultant is required to offer their quotation first.