For 14 days in September, Nepalis both at home and abroad flocked to their twitter and facebook accounts and voted for their favourite charities and non-profit organisations in the Chase Community Giving competition. Hundreds of votes poured in from places as remote as Achham where satellite internet connection was installed only five years ago.
The Chase experience, however, wasn't just about supporting remarkable organisations and people's faith in these causes. As board members of Nyaya Health, we also got compelling insights into Nepali people's psyche.
It is fashionable to lambast Nepali politicians, political institutions, public schools, and hospitals. And indeed the ground reality is harsh. Every day teachers and health care workers across the country struggle to fulfil their responsibilities because of the meager resources at hand. Students and patients don't have access to the education and care they deserve.
However, despite the political failures and the implementation challenges of public sector services, the Chase competition showed that Nepalis are engaged and ready to rally around positive change in the country. Most votes were cast out of a belief that progress is possible, that a better Nepal and improved governance is possible. This is the real people's movement.
It is a movement that will take democracy into government offices, private businesses, and NGOs. The revolution, however, will not be achieved through the use of violence or bandas, but through pragmatic action where citizens hold organisations accountable and compel them to stay true to their mandates and deliver on their promises.
It will require organisations such as Nyaya Health, HiNN, and GMIN to identify a social justice need, work through partnerships, and remain committed to transparency.
This is the only way we will achieve the basic economic, social, justice, and health rights that so many Nepalis are lacking. The Chase Campaign gives us hope that together we can build a new Nepal, one grounded in the true realisation and implementation of social justice.
Duncan Maru, MD, PHD and Bibhav Acharya, MD are board members of Nyaya Health, which partners with the Ministry of Health and Populations and local communities to build justice-oriented health care systems in far-western Nepal.
Rs 1 million in 2 hours, RABINDRA MISHRA
Korea's Nepali diaspora donates generously to help Nepalis back home
Resurrection Achham, PAAVAN MATHEMA
Nyaya Health is making the right to health a reality for the people of Achham