Excluded woman leading local decision making forum

Punam Nagarkoti, a 40-year-old woman, is the residence of Nayabelhani-5, Nawalparasi district. Ms. Nagarkoti comes from the farming background. She was passionate to engage in social activities and work for rural women from her young age. Ms. Nagarkoti was active at social work in her community. As a result, she was selected to be the member of Ward Citizen Forum (WCF) from her community. Despite being member of the WCF, she was not completely aware of the subject of local planning and development and passive in the committee. Leading the WCF was a nightmare for her until she joined the leadership training organized by HIMAWANTI Nepal, implementing partner of SABAH Nepal at Nawalparasi district.

She participated in three days’ leadership training program organized on August 2016 where she enhanced her leadership skill along with the information related to local development and planning. With leadership skills and knowledge on local planning process, she returned back to her community with determination to be active in the WCF. She translated the leadership skills learnt in the training to become more influential in the WCF. She outreached other community women from excluded groups, shared the knowledge she learnt in the leadership training and brought them together to participate in community development programs demonstrating effective leadership skills. Through active and continued participation, she was able to establish herself as women leader in the community. The leadership training enhanced her confidence and motivation to lead the WCF. Utilizing the advocacy, negotiation and campaigning skills learnt in the leadership training, she was able to collect the necessary majority to be elected for the position of the President of the WCF, which was never easy for her until she joined the leadership training.

Mrs. Nagarkoti, still has a fresh memory of her situation within the WCF committee where she was irregular and hardly trusted for leadership by the committee members. She is so proud to share her story from a passive member to influential President of the WCF in her community. The training has helped her to be more assertive and critical in the discussion in the WCF meeting and equipped her to manage group dynamics. She is hopeful that she can justify new responsibilities and keep up the expectation of the community in her leadership tenure. She believes that her victory in the position has changed the perception of the community towards excluded women and their potential. She is thankful to HIMAWANTI Nepal, SABAH Nepal and UN Women Nepal for providing an opportunity to enhance leadership skills. She is determined to increase meaningful participation of excluded women in the local decision-making through her leadership.