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Nepali leaders elevate expertise to enhance Nepal’s federal governance

Posted: 4 September 2023

Nepal, Alumni, Impact, Short Course,

Twenty Nepali leaders completed the Australia Awards Short Course on ‘Promoting Effective Federal Governance’. Participants represented the three tiers of Nepal’s government and members of civil society. Queensland University of Technology (QUT) delivered the course in three components across 2023 — the Preliminary Learning Activities (PLA-online) on 21– 23 February, Core Learning Elements (CLE- in Australia) on 17–28 April and Applied Learning Activity (ALA-in Kathmandu) on 23–25 August.

The course familiarised participants with Australian experiences and knowledge of key mechanisms and processes in inter-governmental coordination and collaboration, and fundamental tools and approaches to effectively manage local public finance and service delivery. From Australia’s experience and knowledge on federalism, participants learnt strategies for improved governance, policy implementation and service delivery in Nepal. The course supported the Australian Government’s Nepal COVID-19 Development Response Plan, which identified strengthening Nepal’s governance as one of its key objectives.

Participants at the Pre-Departure Briefing in Kathmandu in April 2023.

Over the two-week ‘in-Australia’ program in April 2023, participants travelled to Brisbane, Canberra, and Sydney, where they had the opportunity to interact with various Australian stakeholders at all three levels of government. This included central agencies, such as the Parliament of Australia, Queensland Treasury, to front line service delivery including the City of Gold Coast’s water & sewerage service and various local governments, including the Brisbane City Council, Redbank Local Council, Blue Mountain Council and Queanbeyan-Palerang City Council.

Participants with officials from the Australian Embassy in Nepal and QUT team at QUT’s Gardens Point Campus, Brisbane, after a session on Pathways to Politics for Women, April 2023

The key output of the course is the participants’ Return-to-Work Plans (RWPs) for which they develop projects that put into the practice the information and learning gained from the course. Throughout the course, participants engaged with real issues identified during the pre-course and within their individual RWPs, which allowed them to further consolidate and contextualise the skills and knowledge gained and effectively link the Australian practice and systems to Nepali counterparts.

In her closing remarks at the end of the course, the Australian Embassy in Nepal’s Head of Development Cooperation, Kavitha Kasynathan, said, ‘We see you as a change-maker in your respective workplaces […] I hope that each person here who has an important role to play in Nepal’s journey, will do their part to take forward this agenda, which is of the highest priority to the government. I hope the combination of this course and the networks built will support your efforts.’

Professor Mark Lauchs, Course Leader at QUT, welcoming participants to ALA Program (Day 1) in Kathmandu on 23 August 2023.

Two participants shared their reflections on the course during the RWP workshop in Kathmandu.

Anita Poudel, Director of Studies, Nepal Administrative Staff College (NASC) said, ‘I was thrilled to witness the effective governance structure in Australia comprising role ownership and division of responsibilities at different levels of government, integrated service delivery, intergovernmental relationships, conflict management and inclusive policy development.

‘As a trainer of governance, I am extremely satisfied with the overall design of the course, especially dividing the course into three components.’

Prahalad Kumar Karki, Under Secretary, Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA) said, ‘For me, the three good governance takeaways from the course are: the attention to inter-government cooperation and unceasing dialogues between layers of government, collaboration and coordination for effective service delivery to people’s doorsteps, and a regular improvement plan for service delivery with feedback from beneficiaries and the general populace.’

Participants at the ALA Program (Day 1) in Kathmandu on 23 August 2023.

The course enabled participants to understand the challenges and successes of the Australian federal system and explore effective solutions and processes. It also provided participants with a strong technical understanding which was consolidated through practical exposure to Australian counterpart agencies, as well as engaging with real issues faced in Nepal through their RWPs.

Key underlying themes such as a whole of government approach, participatory planning, inclusive development and a focus on GEDSI were integrated throughout the course design.