Development is multidimensional and complex. Development is a wicked problem. These are powerful statements that were spoken by Professor Prateep during my first days as an undergraduate student and they still resonate with me to this day.

Presently, in Nepal I am working with two interns who are recent high school graduates and are spending their gap year working at The Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (FWEAN). These two individuals represent the “youth” of the nation. I was curious to learn about what they believed the most prominent developmental issue in Nepal was. So, when asked, they stated that it was the political system.

One of the interns, Aatish, said, “The Prime Minister changes so often that I am not even sure who the Prime Minister is right now.”

Nepal had recently become a democratic state [2]. This may be seen as a positive event, given the nation’s long history of political instability. However, in retrospect, after nearly 10 years of being a democratic country, civilians still feel irritated by the political stance of the country [2]. The locals view democracy as a tool that amplifies  Nepal’s problems, as opposed to diminishing them. Sure, their voices are heard; yet, when a project or policy is suggested or implemented it does not last long. The political system in Nepal does not commit to long-term solutions.

Hence, I asked myself “is this a wicked problem?” (Defined as: a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve) [1].

As a CECI volunteer, I work for a non-for-profit organization called, The Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (FWEAN). FWEAN, “advocate[s] on issues related to women’s socio-economic empowerment [3].” FWEAN is an outstanding organization, where the majority of employees consist of women, who are of the women, by the women and for the women [3]. FWEAN was established in 2003 and has been advocating for women entrepreneurs for over 15 years [3]. Yet, one of the largest challenges this organization faces is the inconsistency of governmental support.

 Last week, I went on my first field visit, and it was more than just eye opening. It showed me what really happens “behind the scenes” of a non-for-profit organization. We visited a district outside of Kathmandu, called Lalitpur. Here, FWEAN re-visited a group of women that were given training. They were taught how to utilize the resources around them to start their own vermicomposting business.

Although their business has been growing, I noticed that their living situation was not ideal for the work they were doing.  They deserved and needed better facilities. The governance system of Nepal lacks focus and overlooks minor, but fundamental factors such as better fertilization and irrigation systems. This would help the vermicomposting business flourish for these women, helping to enhance their livelihood.

However, the governance system and Prime Minster of Nepal are in a constant flux, that when one project begins, a different Prime Minister is elected. This results in a cycle of delayed implementation of projects.

The other intern, Saksham, stated, “there was a project related to water facilities that started when I was born, and it still has not been completed, even after 18 years.”

What I have learned so far from my first month into my mandate is that development is a broken record of governmental inconsistencies. Development is a “wicked problem,” because it is a never-ending cycle of too much discussion and very little implementation, and so in order for change to happen this cycle needs to be broken.

 

 

References

[1] Hendricks, B. (2018). Wicked Problem: Definition & Examples. Retrieved October 26, 2018, from https://study.com/academy/lesson/wicked-problem-definition-examples.html

[2] Huang, R. (2017). Wartime origins of democratization: Civil war, rebel governance, and political regimes.

[3] FWEAN. (2003). FWEAN. Retrieved October 26, 2018, from http://www.fwean.org.np/