How can we organize ourselves for progress in Nepal?
Looking at the topic, ‘ourselves’ becomes an important word here. Ourselves means, at least for me, I as an individual, then my family, my neighborhood, my society, my ward, my municipality, my district, and at national level, my government. It also includes businesses, different government agencies, non-governmental non-profit seeking organizations, and many others. This is because I am a Nepali, and whatever is from Nepal is ourselves.
I as an individual, however, cannot work or hope to influence all these stakeholders, but I must operate in such a manner that I create an example. This example can hopefully influence people around me, and they can then in turn influence other people, and this can then have a nationwide ripple effect.
So the question is – what is this example that I can create that can have a nationwide ripple effect.
The answer comes when I look at the core of myself – honesty.
In Nepal, most of us are all earthquake survivors. We saw how people, immediately after the quake, came together in such a wonderful fashion to save and help others. There was no ‘you and me don’t know’ feeling, there was no ‘I escape and you didn’t’. We wanted to save and help everyone. This was our deepest feeling, and this was the feeling we manifested in our action. There was no dualism in our thoughts and actions. This is what I term honesty.
If you and I as an individual work with honesty, and what we do feels good in the inside and outside, then our efforts rebound. This was exactly what happened when thousands of people volunteered with to help the earthquake survivors with honesty and integrity, and seeing them more volunteered. Let’s always remain honest like this.
I work for an NGO. After the quake, I was part of many relief distribution efforts. I took many pictures, posted them online, and people even send me money to distribute relief. Could I have done more? I don’t know. I was hungry to help others, I also wanted to see the destruction, be part of it, and help alleviate the suffering of others. How honest was I in my work? Could I have done it better?
I can’t answer that for certainty. But I did what I thought was correct, with integrity, with urgency, and with deepest of care. The result was the immense satisfaction I got out of it. And the fact that I was appreciated and people followed my posts on Facebook and even congratulated me, means what I did was positive, and it encouraged people to do the same.
The other thing relief distribution taught me was the necessity to coordinate.
The Government of Nepal was asking us to coordinate with their agencies at different level. Yet, I found out the Government wasn’t coordinating between themselves and facilitating the process of coordination. Their coordination can at best be described as shambles. This created a lot of problem and hampered many relief efforts.
Yet, as time went by, the coordination, at least, appeared to improve. Because of that, the relief distribution also improved.
Through coordination with many people and organizations where were helping the earthquake survivors, I was also able to mobilize volunteers, learn from the experience of others, make my own action more meaningfully, and it all ended up becoming less stressful and a lot less expensive.
My trip to remote, earthquake ravaged villages also taught me one more extremely valuable lesson, and that is – listen to the voices of the people.
Our honesty and our coordination can, in fact, improve if you hear the people who are actually the recipients or beneficiaries of our action or intended action. Today, our big leaders, businessmen and women, and NGO leaders have isolated themselves from real people, and when that happens they do not know what the real problem is. How can they come up with real solutions when they don’t even hear from the real people and don’t know the real problem?
So listen, and listen well, and listen from as many people as possible directly. Listen from village leaders, from housewives, teachers, health workers, students both female and male, listen from as diverse voices as possible.
Many people are even scared of listening. They think they can’t help or it’s too complicated, so what’s the use of listening. But more you listen, the better and the simpler your solutions will be. These voices will also tell you how to solve their problems, locally, and in a more simple way than you can think.
The vast majority of us will act in an individual level. We are, after all, not leaders of political parties, lawyers, bureaucrats and business leaders. We are ordinary Nepalis. Yet, our actions, if we do it in a positive way, can influence our country in a better way.
In an individual level, what better way to act than by being honest with ourselves. This honesty, however, is also relative. It can change. That’s why we must endeavor to open ourselves. And you do that by listening to people, and by coordinating your actions and plans with others around you, be it at a local or a national level. When we do this, we empower each other and transform our nation.
That is how we must organize ourselves.