Target groups not benefitting from Golden Thousand Days

Published On: July 6, 2016 07:05 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 5: The implementation of the Sunaulo Hazar Din (Golden Thousand Days) project is limited to organizing training and workshops in Mahottari district, according to stakeholders. 

The project has failed to bring substantive results as it could not reach out to local target groups. According to locals, the project is already set to lapse due to the negligence of District Development Committee (DDC) Rautahat, which has been entrusted with the implementation of the project. 

Out of over 38.5 million in budget funds allocated for the project for the last fiscal year, only Rs 4.1 million has been spent in the district. The higher portion of the spent budget is for conducting trainings and workshops. 

Admitting the ineffectiveness of project implementation, project coordinator for Mahottari district, Ajay Sah, said that dispute over its implementation existed from the beginning. 
“As the project implementation process itself is full of hassles, it has not been implemented in the way envisioned,” Local Development Officer (LDO) Krishna Chapagain acknowledged.  

In Saptari, the project has not been able to make any substantive achievements as anticipated. For instance, many targetted locals in Tilathi VDC, especially pregnant woman and new mothers from disadvantaged groups, are not aware of the project nor have they received the facilities. 

“I’ve heard about the project targeted at women. But I cannot say exactly what the project does,” said Birendra Jha, who is ex-VDC president of Tilathi. 

“I have observed that a community group  has been formed in the village so as to make some money,” Atish Kumar Jha, one of the locals, alleged. He claimed that not even 10 percent of the total target group in his village has been aware of this project.   

Similar is the status of the project in Mahadeva, Pharsaith, Trikaul and Mainakaderi, among other target VDCs. 

Although local groups have been formed in 15 different VDCs for active mobilization during the project execution, the coach and other staffers of the projects have reportedly avoided those groups in order to distribute sub-standard materials. 
Local groups alleged that Shiv Shankar Mandal, the project coach for Bhardah VDC, has been receiving the budget in his personal bank account and spending it as per his arbitrary interests, according to Ranjana Devi Das, a member of a local group in Bhardah VDC. 

Local groups and stakeholders have also alleged misuse of funds for the project by the DDC. DDC officials are reportedly seeking commissions for timely release of the budgets to the local groups. 

In Siraha, locals from VDCs which are target locations for the World Bank-funded  project have been deprived of the benefits. Although the project was to be implemented in 27 VDCs, it is being implemented in 18 VDCs only. A budget of Rs 100 million out of the total allocation of Rs 1,105 million for the project has remained unspent. Complaints have been registered at the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), claiming misuse of project funds at Sothiyain and Maheshpur Patari VDCs.

The situation in Rautahat is no different. The women at the local level have been receiving vegetable seeds and Piyush, a chlorine solution used for disinfecting water, according to locals. VDC secretaries and other staffers ask for commissions to provide the facilities to the target groups, a coach affiliated to the project said. 

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