In the run-up to the local elections in Nepal, DIPD has supported training of potential female candidates. The training has been implemented by the Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) in partnership with the Joint Mechanism for Political Party Strengthening (JOMPOPS). Many of these women succeeded in being selected as candidates and some of them got elected to office in the recent first-phase of the local elections.
As the elections results are starting to come in, a number of women trained by DIPD have reportedly won various elected positions at the local level. Many of these women attribute their success to the training, as this was the only training they received prior to the elections, equipping them with necessary knowledge on contesting the elections successfully.
DIPD talked to one such elected, female official – Kalpana Tiwari from the Nepali Congress party in Syanja district. Tiwari has been elected as the deputy mayor of the Warling municipality and is also the chairperson of the District Women’s Wing of the Nepali Congress Party. When asked about the key factors for her success in the local elections, Tiwari refers to a combination of her continued commitment to politics and the training she received with support from DIPD:
“I would say my continuous involvement in politics and in public service for around 25 years got me elected. People trusted me to take responsibilities because they have seen me work with dedication for all these years. So, the key to success for these elections is my commitment to the public service. “
Tiwari goes on by explaining how the training, she received, helped her in the recent elections:
“I have attended several other trainings in the past. But they were not election-related trainings. We got the training from ECN/DIPD at the most crucial time during the elections, learning about the necessary legislations of the local elections. That is very helpful.”
Need for further training
As the job for newly elected politicians only begins with a successful election, Tiwari highlights that, by having an increase in female candidates elected to office, a need for further training arises:
“I would say that DIPD should support newly elected women. Many of us don’t know what our actual role and responsibilities are. Therefore, DIPD should support such programmes now. “
As for fulfilling her own new role as deputy mayor, Tiwari’s priority is clear:
“My main priority is to establish a just society. It’s not just about women – I want justice for men too. But since many women have faced many types of injustices, my priority would be to change that… One of my immediate priorities would be to ensure that no woman is a victim of gender-based violence in my municipality. The deputy mayor serves also as the chair of the legal committee in a municipality. That would give me an opportunity to work on this priority. “
Be fearless and win the world
After being elected in the first-phase local elections, Tiwari has one piece of advice for female candidates running in the second-phase of the elections, which also holds for women in general:
“Women should be fearless. If they fear then the battle is lost. If they are fearless then they can win the world. Due to various socio-cultural factors, women are generally made fearful. They should overcome that.”
Full results of the first-phase of the local elections have yet to come out. As the ECN is occupied with the election process, information about the total number of participants, who got selected as the candidates as well as who have won the local elections, is not fully available. Nevertheless, the reports in the newspapers have indicated that many of the participants of the training have been selected as candidates and a few of them was elected to office.