Nepal: Discovering Peace through Livelihood
Recovery from conflict is essential to sustain peace in a country like Nepal going through a historical transition. Experiences from around the world have shown that relapsing into conflict is more likely when peace dividends do not reach the people, especially those who are at the receiving end.
There is a promising sign that Nepal’s peace process is making some headway at the center. There are positive developments on the ground too where the marginalised communities are beginning to understand the historical causes of marginalization and organise themselves better to echo their priorities. These communities feel stronger today than they did before. Building peace from grassroots is possible when the marginalized communities benefit from some form of tangible peace dividends which could be their increased livelihood assets and opportunities for employment. UNDP’s Livelihood Recovery for Peace Project has done exactly that in the three central Tarai districts of Mahottari, Sarlahi and Rautahat since late 2009.
As poverty, conflict and natural disasters have largely hindered the development of these districts, the Project's integrated approach to livelihood improvement with a focus on peace building and conflict prevention has brought about remarkable changes to people’s lives. The stories documented here are examples of these changes that have brought back hope and new energy to the communities. They could be of interest to development practitioners to yield lessons learned for social and economic empowerment of women and marginalised groups through conflict-sensitive approaches.