SKY- Samaj, Nepal was founded in 1999 to act as a non-profit, non-governmental, non-sectarian social development organization. It was set up to foster sustainable community development through people's organization and leadership. The basic philosophy of SKY-Samaj, Nepal is to create awareness and promote understanding of the dynamics of the development process by empowering the local community. People need to be involved in problem identification, planning, resource mobilization, implementation and evaluation of the programs. SKY-Samaj, Nepal strives to serve as a vital link in the dynamic process of environmental management that helps to enhance and sustain agricultural productivity. It provides attention to socio-cultural factors that are critical to project planning and execution.
Mission and Objectives
SKY-Samaj, Nepal envisages contributing meaningfully to the creation of a self-reliant society that is economically productive and equitable, socially justice, environmentally friendly, and fostering democratic values.
SKY-Samaj, Nepal’s goal is to improve the socio-economic condition of the community people through social mobilization and better management of local resources.
The mission of SKY-Samaj, Nepal is to empower the people by improving the socio-economic condition of the local community through better management of available resources in complement with national development efforts. SKY-Samaj is working with the people to promote various activities that benefit the poor, disadvantaged, marginalized and ethnic minorities and other communities in the country with their full participation. SKY-Samaj, Nepal seeks to achieve the following objectives in pursuing its goal:
1. To establish self-reliant and self-governing local level organizations capable of solving their problems themselves;
2. To create awareness and work with the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups of people with special emphasis on women and children;
3. To promote activities that benefit special target groups (marginalized communities and ethnic minorities) with their full participation in need assessment, program implementation, technology dissemination and development of their associations and cooperatives;
4. To implement income generating programs and micro-enterprises especially designed for poverty alleviation, co-participating with the target community;
5. To undertake programs in areas of rural community development, health and sanitation, sustainable agriculture, rural infrastructure development and natural resource management on a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner; and
6. Undertake research in agriculture and socio-economic field.
Approaches on Social Mobilization
SKY-Samaj, Nepal has developed its own social mobilization approach from its own experiences. The major steps adopted by SKY-Samaj, Nepal at the field level are:
Awareness-raising is the first step of social mobilization and SKY-Samaj, Nepal considers it as an entry point. Before encouraging the community to act, SKY-Samaj, Nepal makes the community members aware of specific realities and our activities takes precautions to avoid raising false expectations, and actively counteract the inevitable assumptions and rumors about the kind of assistance to expect.
Organizing and Mobilizing the Community
In the process of social mobilization, SKY-Samaj, Nepal emphasizes on organizing the community, into their groups and their organizational development. It is taken as a process in which community members and, especially the poor form their own groups or organizations based on common development interests and needs that are best served by organizing themselves as a group. In the process of social mobilization, SKY-Samaj, Nepal also strategically works with existing community organizations to boost their capacity and work with them in the process of social mobilization at all level. We focus on building organizations that are ran on democratic principles, based on a group or organizational constitution, reflecting the objectives of the organization and the norms, values and principles by which the group or organization will function.
Building Human Capacity
SKY-Samaj, Nepal works on the assumption that the community members can maximize their potential not only by organizing themselves but also by upgrading their existing skills to better manage new inputs – business and community initiatives and establish effective links with local government and other actors. Mobilizing well trained and fully motivated social mobilizers to support direct training, exchange visits and other capacity building activities based on needs identified by the members of the community organizations, is the basic working motto of SKY-Samaj, Nepal. The major area covered in the process of building human capacity are: organizational development, leadership, savings and credits mobilization, agriculture and natural resource management, and other focused areas of development intervention.
Building Financial Capital and Resource Mobilization
Capital formation (through mobilization of savings) enhances a community organization’s power to realize its full potential. Savings generated by individual members are the assets of the community organization and are the first step towards their self-reliance. Accumulated savings can be used for internal credit with interest, to enable individual members to engage in income generation activities whilst at the same time, accumulating the organization’s capital base. They can also be used for enterprise development at the community level. Savings can serve as the basis for access to external services, for example, micro-finance. They can also form the basis for community organizations’ contribution to local development initiatives, which is essential in localities where government capacities to address all social needs of a community are very limited.
Socio-economic development initiatives are a great incentive for community members to organize themselves. It is important, therefore, that an initiative which includes social mobilization provides support in the form of matching grants or access to credit, marketing and other services that will lead to tangible improvements in socio-economic conditions within the community. The process of identifying community priorities, participatory planning, implementing and monitoring of community projects and managing partnerships with local government, private sector and other actors helps not only to improve local conditions but also to empower people and their organizations. If well facilitated, this process can result in increased institutional capacity, enhanced social status and voice (especially for disadvantaged people, including women, the poor and youth). These results in turn, motivate people to get remain organized as they begin to enjoy the benefits of collective action and recognize its potential to create or influence change in their communities.
Developing Social Capital
SKY-Samaj, Nepal puts major thrust to internalize building trust among the members, well accepted norms and functional networks of the target beneficiaries termed as ‘social capital’ with strong institutional bases for the sustainability of every developmental intervention. Characteristically SKY-Samaj, Nepal is considering social capital to take following actions effectively in:
- Developing wider association of the groups; the groups formed under the social mobilization process will be federated into theirs’ association/cooperatives for the long term sustainability of intervention.
- Developing networks and linkages for increasing access to other social institutions for common resources and services.
- Developing social norms and values internalized by the organizations and their members that are the building block of the local institutions.
- Devising rules and regulations suitable for their self-governance at local level