Nepal is one of the world’s least developed countries. The legacy of internal conflict continues to be felt even after a series of political reforms which responded to popular demands for change following a decade long insurgency started in 1996. Armed conflict claimed the lives of more than seventeen thousand people and displaced an estimated 100,000 more creating social upheaval across the country. It eroded many social values and slowed development processes. Human rights violations and brutality escalated on both sides of the conflict, affecting all segments of the population, but particularly the most vulnerable.
In 2013 the National Planning Commission of Nepal included the concept of “Infrastructure for Peace” as a national development goal. In 2014 SeeD was invited to join a consortium involving the NGO Pro Public, Forum for the Protection of Public Interest, and the German development agency, GIZ, to support the government’s policy design process for national reconciliation. The project used the SCORE index and was focussed on better understanding of the drivers of peace and violence in Nepal by exploring the existing relations between peace needs and peace services for citizens. We quantified a range of relationships including citizen-state peace, inter-community peace, intra-personal peace, interpersonal peace, and material peace.
A key finding was that low national civic life satisfaction and low intrapersonal peace predicted higher willingness to use violence as means of social and political change. This led to several peacebuilding recommendations including proposals to integrate intra-personal peace perspectives into peacebuilding interventions, by teaching self-empathy and empathy for others through Nonviolent Communication (NVC) training for teachers, peacemakers, and psychosocial workers. We also recommended strengthening nonviolent action tendency by increasing awareness of nonviolent means for social change, and using the media to constructively channel citizens’ frustrations in national civic life. Our findings and recommendations were used by Pro Public and GIZ to design evidenced-based peacebuilding programmes and were presented to the government of Nepal and the wider peacebuilding community in July 2016. The full research findings and SeeD’s peacebuilding solutions were published in a book entitled Predictors of Peace and Violence in Nepal: An Empirical Study of Peace Needs and Peace Services (Pro Public, June 2016).