How does the Governance Facility work and envision to support the people and Government of Nepal?

Every organisation has one or more purposes for its existence. For us, at the Governance Facility (GF), we have only one: to support the people and the Government of Nepal in their efforts to build a socially, democratically, and economically inclusive, fair, and progressive nation.

At the GF, we thrive on the very principles of multi-partiality, diversity, dignity, equity, rights, justice, knowledge sharing, leadership, progressive change, accountability, responsiveness, and inclusiveness. These concepts are beyond words for us. We strive to implement these principles in our professional day-to-day life, ranging from our own team-building to support for local initiatives and partnerships with the Government of Nepal, democratic institutions, NGOs, CSOs, media, private sector, and political parties. We consider these principles especially important as a guide for our work for the people of Nepal, the key beneficiaries of our support.

In late 2016, following a strategic visioning exercise, the GF was restructured to be more responsive to the political realities of the day, expand the range of skills within its staff, widen the range of partners with whom we work, and transform the GF’s overall role from one of being a financier and reviewer of projects and their results, to one where we build long-term, true partnerships with the organizations we work with. By mid-2017, a new team of professionals with specific expertise in various governance-related fields joined the GF. After an intensive in-house orientation program, supported by a wide range of experts from various backgrounds and areas of expertise, the team is now in full swing.

The GF is an organisation managed and staffed from the bottom to the top by a diverse group of Nepalis and two senior expatriate staff. We are a multi-ethnic and multi-religious organisation, with an excellent gender balance. We are proud to be a women-led organisation. Both the GF Head and Deputy Head are women with prominent international and national professional profiles.

The way we work with partners

The GF works in close partnership with government and civil society organisations spread across the country. Their initiatives are based in both urban and rural areas from east to far west Nepal in both the fertile Terai areas in the south and the remote mountains towards the north.

These partnerships embody the spirit of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005) and represent the harmonised and collaborative efforts of the Governments of Denmark, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom to facilitate more coherent, efficient, and effective support to a wide range of partners in the area of governance reform.

The GF’s partners are working on a cross-section of governance themes affecting the well-being of individuals and communities across Nepal. These partners address the challenges of improving governance outcomes. Some do so through engagement with public authorities while others are public authorities that have a major role to play in improved governance in Nepal and want to be part of the positive change towards more accountable, responsive, and inclusive governance. Together, the efforts of our partners envision more equal participation by Nepal’s diverse population in democratic decision-making about the use of public resources, as well as more equal and equitable access to public services. Our partners are also involved in addressing individual grievances that require state responses in terms of equal protection and remedies under the law.

The GF uses a cutting edge analytical and programmatic tool – the Integrated Results Framework (IRF) – as its approach to deal with substantive governance themes. The IRF views governance challenges as having most potential for improvement when collaborative leadership at all levels is harnessed and supported to drive a dynamic, mutually strengthening relationships between the following three goals:

  1. regular well informed production of targeted and shared analysis and local knowledge about governance issues;
  2. effectively-led dialogues and other interactions at all levels among relevant leaders and institutions resulting in new partnerships and pathways for change; and
  3. relevant and sustainable policy reform and implementation.

Weakness in any one of these three dimensions leads to an overall weakening of governance outcomes. Since the adoption of the IRF in November 2016, the GF team is engaging more systematically with a wider range of governance stakeholders, centred on dialogue and leadership processes, new partnerships, and the creation of synergies. In support of this IRF approach, the GF has developed a range of national and sub-national political economy and governance (PEG) analyses to ensure the relevance, effectiveness, and sustainability of its partnerships.

Once a new partnership has been identified, the GF team works hand in hand with the partner to develop the proposal, be a critical but supportive companion along the way, and provide technical and financial backstopping where required.

Looking forward

At the heart of the GF’s approach is a focus on leadership processes in six broad domains:

  1. Federal Restructuring (both as a focus in itself and as an umbrella and compass for the other focus areas below)
  2. Natural Resources Management
  3. Elections and Political Capacity Building
  4. Civil Service Strengthening
  5. Access to Justice and Human Rights
  6. Political Rights for Migrant Workers

Leadership acquires particular importance in light of the central challenge of governance reforms that emerge from the GF’s consultations: to build political capacities for generating shared understandings and approaches on matters of public interest and concern, thereby opening new pathways for change. In the absence of these capacities, the most ideal policy instruments may not be effective, relevant, or sustainable. This is the ultimate dimension of the GF’s support to governance reform that will receive more focused attention going forward.

We believe that in a democratic society, policy effectiveness will depend on engagement with all stakeholders capable and willing of building a consensus through collaborative leadership and deliberative dialogue. This implies culturally and socially diverse and innovative, locally owned, and trusted pathways to improved governance outcomes.

Many of the GF’s civil society partners work with communities where citizens are often insufficiently linked, undermining their ability to discuss and respond to matters of common public interest. These partners have established or strengthened community organisations as a principal vehicle for locally-driven change. Unlike typical user groups, these organisations aim in different ways to empower individuals as citizens and members of communities to engage more effectively with public institutions.

One of the areas in which the GF will focus this attention is civil service strengthening, including institutional leadership within justice and administrative institutions. Combined with continuing efforts to enable citizen and community engagement with public policy-makers and implementers, the current GF team believes that this twin focus can support widely shared aspirations for governance reform in the emerging federal context.

As part of addressing the challenges to good governance, the GF will strengthen an internal culture of inquiry, documentation, learning, and proactively anticipating future scenarios and possible programmatic responses. We envision this culture spreading like an inkblot to the GF’s partners and beyond.

The GF targets a unique ‘multi-partial’ approach that builds trust with all relevant stakeholders. This will occur at various levels, from the national policy level to new spheres of provincial and local governance. The GF will also look beyond these formal boundaries to strengthening informal networks of actors who coalesce around matters of public interest.

In carrying out this work, the GF will continue to seek guidance at the national level from the government and public institutions in order to ensure that its efforts continue to align with national planning objectives and values. Together, these aspects of the GF’s approach will be the foundation for an adaptive and flexible approach to governance programming.

We look forward to making a difference through our support to the people and Government of Nepal in every way possible!