2010: In my 4-year assignment to Nepal, my main task was in working with United Mission to Nepal (UMN), establishing its conflict transformation programme in seven parts of the country. This involved recruiting, training and supporting a group of 12 Nepali staff who are now working in UMN’s cluster staff locations.
The team are involved in a variety of peace issues in the country including interfaith peace work, trauma healing, domestic violence prevention and mediation. A Nepali text book has been prepared with 20 lessons for peace aimed at adults learning to read and write.
UMN’s development work now includes strong elements of peacebuilding and all staff have participated in Do No Harm training.
In 2008 I was involved in the training of facilitators for the new Government’s Peace Committees. These committees act early to resolve conflicts in local areas before they become large, unmanageable issues.
In Sept. 2009 I accompanied a group of 8 Nepali politicians and senior civil servants to Ireland to share with and learn from the Ireland peace process. The delegates were lead by the Minister of Peace and Reconstruction.
I have also been working with a small team of Nepali Christians to provide trainings in forgiveness and reconciliation for church leaders. The work with church leaders has gone well these past three years with some 60 seminars each of three days or more. Some 800 Nepali nationals have completed these programmes, and some churches are now working on how to take this forgiveness and reconciliation programme to the wider Nepali society.
During my 4 years in Nepal I was supporting and mentoring Bal Kumari Gurung, a long term member of UMN’s staff. Bal Kumari completed her distance learning masters in peacebuilding from Phnom Penh University in Cambodia. She is now the Lead Advisor in Peacebuilding for UMN, and she leads a team of 12 staff.
I completed my assignment in Nepal in August 2010 and I have returned to Ireland.
February 2008: I have been invited to provide some advice to the Nepali National High Commission on Peacebuilding. Part of the job is to support peace committees for each district in the country. This is a politically dicey time, and these committees are to be conflict prevention tools.
Last October I held a four-day training for 15 Nepali facilitators who will be deployed to set up these new Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction local peace committees. I will continue to have a coaching role with them over the coming months.
Other tasks include working with United Mission to Nepal in establishing its conflict transformation programme in seven parts of the country, instituting an internal conciliation service for the organization, and working with Nepali Christians to provide trainings in forgiveness and reconciliation for church leaders.
September 2006: We arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal, and we expect to be here four years, supported by The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, seconded to The United Mission to Nepal. I am to be “Peace Advisor to the Mission,” working out of the 25 years experience of peace work I have been involved with in Ireland, my home country.
The United Mission to Nepal involves some 50 international Christian mission organizations, and they have been working in development in Nepal since 1953. Peace work is a new program in response to the 10 year armed insurgency in the country. The Mission presently works in five regions of the country and in each region a Nepali peace worker will be appointed. My task will be to mentor and support them as they work with grass roots level community leaders, establishing alternative ways of working at conflict.
Janet is a trained nurse/midwife and trauma counselor. She has participated in the STAR program at EMU. She will contribute to the peace program as a resource person and have other pastoral care roles in the mission.