Samari Utthan Sewa (SUS) is a non-government, not-for-profit social development organisation. It was founded in 2008 by a group of committed youths from Dalit community. It is registered with the District Administration Office in Chitawan district and affiliated with Social Welfare Council (SWC), Kathmandu, Nepal. Since its inception in 2008, SUS has been working with the Dalit, poor, vulnerable and other socially excluded segments of the society focusing on their basic needs and improving livelihoods, while also contributing in the process empowering them to raise their voices for the cause of human rights, particularly Dalit and women human rights.
SUS takes the privilege of contemplating Mr. Markku Voutilainen, from Finland, as its Honourable Member, for his contribution in establishing the organisation. SUS feels pride in mentioning that Mr. Voutilainen initiated and involved himself in the implementation the Uplift Project (UP) – Empowerment and Community Development project focusing on the poor and oppressed communities (Dalit and landless) of Badarjhula in Chitwan and Punarbas in Sarlahi districts from 2005 to 2007. This project, in fact, laid the foundation for the establishment of SUS. Soon after the completion of the project, with the practical experiences of working even during the conflict situation and inspiration received from such a result-based project, a team of like-minded young and creative persons including the then project staffs was formed to establish this organisation, which later took the responsibility of continuing and accomplishing the project.
Vision: A peaceful society with social justice, equality and prosperity
Mission: Committed to empowerment and holistic development of the oppressed community (Dalit, Women, vulnerable and marginalized people)
Values: Core values are the basic philosophy that determines SUS commitment to reach its target groups.
Overall Strategic Goal: Improve Economic and Social Empowerment of Dalits, women and other marginalized groups in SUS working areas
Targeted Groups (Primary and Secondary) and rationale
Primary target groups:
- Dalits Communities
- Chepang communities (the most marginalized tribal minority group of Chitwan district)
- Women and Girls from other marginalized communities
- Women, girls, boys and men, and sexual minorities groups affected by human rights violations, social injustices, potential to internal migration to AES business and domestic work
Secondary target groups:
- CBOs and cooperatives of primary target groups (for mobilization and advocacy)
- Local, district, provincial and national CSOs and their networks (for policy advocacy)
- Individual Human rights defenders, activists, champions, artists, celebrities at all levels
- Local and provincial government officials, elected representatives,
- Business sector associations, AES business owners and other business actors
- Media organizations and university and academic institutions working for rights of marginalized groups
Geographical Focus and rationale
Based on above context analysis and legacy of the SUS work and models it has created, SUS will prioritize the existing districts and municipalities for this strategic period too. However, upon the emerging needs due to impact of disasters, pandemic or gross violations of human rights of Dalits and women, and based on availability of funds, SUS may extend its working geography in other adjoining provinces and districts too.
Province District Municipalities/Palika Madhesh Province Sarlahi Hariwan Palika Haripur Lalbandi Kabilashi Chandranagar Bagmati Province Chitwan Rapti Madi Bharatpur
SUS’s Working Approaches/Strategies
SUS is a human rights-based socio-economic empowerment and policy advocacy CSO. That’s why it needs to adopt various strategic approach while working with range of development and human rights actors or stakeholders to influence at all levels. Below are few key common approaches that are found essential for all types of interventions of SUS while working with right-holders level, organizational level and policy advocacy level.
Programmatic/Thematic Approach: Analysis and learning of SUS is that the standalone project/intervention/initiative don’t contribute for inclusive and sustainable development. Without addressing the issues of rights-holders and stakeholders at all levels through holistic approach or strategies and activities, sustainable societal change or social-economic transformation can’t be achieved. SUS, therefore, from this strategic period have applied programmatic or thematic approach in its each theme as well as promote complementary within its four thematic areas. This will also create synergy within various strategies and intervention within the theme and among four inter-related themes and contribute each other for great impact at all levels.
Applying Social Inclusion Approach with focus to inter-sectional groups: SUS always promotes inclusion of women and men as promoter of equal rights to uplift the rights of women, girls, young women, children, gender and sexual minorities, and socially and economically excluded marginalized communities such as Dalits, ethnic minorities, Madhesi including people with disability and sexual minorities in its all phases of program cycle. Additionally, from this strategic period onward, SUS will also focus with extra efforts on inter-sectionality approach to target the most marginalized and vulnerable women, girls among the marginalized groups e.g. women from socio-economically vulnerability, Dalits, gender and sexual minorities, disabilities. This promotes diversity among target groups, so that, the most vulnerable section of the society will be benefitted from the SUS programs.
Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA): From the experience and considering new context of the development sector including federal structure, impact of covid-19, global inflation and price hike, and contributing to SDGs, SUS perceives that the development services and activities should no longer be a charity but a fundamental human right of every citizen. All citizen is capable for living dignified life and our role as external actors only needs to promote enabling environment to further empower them. SUS, therefore, adopts right based approach (RBA) as an overarching approach for its all operations, programming, empowerment of the rights-holders in its working thematic areas, organizational level of SUS and its partners, and making duty bearers accountable. RBA reduces dependency of rights holders to external agencies, promotes own duty and accountability of the legal and moral duty bearers for sustainable change and dignified life of women, girls and sexual minorities. SUS therefore empowers its right-holders (primary target groups), mobilizes their CSOs and networks for collective advocacy and raising voices, and conduct strategic advocacy and engagement with duty bearers to ensure their accountability towards the enjoyment of fundamental rights by the rights-holders.
Working through partnerships with diverse range of eco-system actors: SUS believes that development problems, poverty, exclusions or violations of human rights can’t be solved with efforts of one NGO or few organizations nor it is a responsibility of one or few CSOs or few duty bearers. This is a collaborative and collective effort of all concerned stakeholders of the partner eco-system i.e. rights holders, moral duty bearers and legal duty bearers- that consists of all concerned stakeholders from government, businesses, CSOs, individuals and community groups. As envisaged in this strategic plan and as a RBA organization, SUS works closely with range of partner ecosystem actors i.e. duty bearers (government agencies at all levels), right holders, and like-minded organizations and networks, private sector, academia and media organizations in the sector of human rights, access to social justice, climate change and resilient development. These are complex thematic sectors, where SUS alone can contribute very little but if it works together with other actors, the impact is achieved faster, bigger and sustained too. SUS involves these stakeholders in all phases of its programming from needs assessment, design, and implementation till sustainability of the programs /results.
Evidence Based Strategic Advocacy Approach: SUS uses proven evidences of the positive impacts of its development model interventions from the community, fact finding mission and context analysis and research of problems, and policy gaps in its advocacy plans for great impact and faster result. SUS conducts strategic advocacy focusing three aspects of the advocacy from CSO and human rights i.e. a) policy making/reform, b) policy implementation, and c) policy monitoring. SUS believes that without evidences, the advocacy will not be a strategic advocacy, convincing for duty bearers and that doesn’t bring the desired positive results. This helps to replicate the best practices and most importantly to reform the existing governments policies and their effective implementation.
Men and boys Engagement Approach: SUS’s approach for sustainable change believes that without critical awareness and sensitization of men and boys on the barriers faced by women and girls, laws and social norms as an issue of family or society; the gender equality, rights of women and girls, and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and mental health can’t be achieved and sustained. So, SUS therefore always focus both men and boys as a key stakeholders or moral duty bearers as one of the key strategies for societal change in all phases of the interventions related to social and economic empowerment, advocacy work and social justice for target groups. SUS has witnessed some success cases, where men are the most important change agents and supporters to create women friendly inclusive home and society.
Conflict Sensitive Approach/Do No Harm: Human rights programs are always highly prone to increase conflict among project stakeholders while addressing power dynamics between rights-holders and duty bearers especially in the case of SUS while it works for the rights of those affected by the Chitwan national park and forest for their rehabilitation. That’s why RBA is a peaceful approach to development and claiming rights. So, SUS is always sensitive to potential conflicts from all phases of program cycle and will plan mitigating measures and strategies to reduce potential conflicts by promoting Do-No-Harm approach, promote social harmony, peaceful approach, and non-discriminatory approach among target groups and unbiased approach to its stakeholders.