Debendra Manandhar

Chair and trainger, Jaagaran

2010: I am still based in Nepal, but from time to time I do work internationally too. I continue as the Chairman of Jaagaran, a Nepali NGO which I founded. We are working in the field of rural community development, poverty alleviation, empowerment, local capacity building and peace-building.

Last year, we started a community-school in Sankhuwasabha district. We aim to provide quality and humanistic education for the children of poorer families. Next year, we are planning to start a second school.

Re peace-building in Nepal: I worked extensively on Nepali conflict resolution when the violent conflict was going on. Once the violent conflict ended, I realized the need for new leaders, with broad vision and new ways of thinking, new mindsets, in Nepal, and as well in many other countries.

At this time, this is what I am focusing on: Personal Leadership Development workshops, which I designed and developed. The approach is to bring social transformation through personal transformation, and the main focus is to develop leaders who are first personally transformed.

I have done these workshops and Training of Trainers in Nepal, India, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.

2005: I am the founder and director of the Rural and Community Development Center, J-CON. “J” stands for the “Jaagaran” which means “to awaken from inside to do whatever we want to do outside; alternative approaches for humanistic development.”

When I completed the MA in conflict transformation from EMU in April, 2004, I returned to Nepal to continue this work.

The office of J-CON is in Kathmandu, but it is a rural development program in Sankhuwasabha District of Nepal. We serve 3000 households, economically poor and socially disadvantaged. The goal of our program is to improve their quality of life, to empower these persons, and to build their capacity to act for themselves. We want to help them find hope, confidence in themselves, and dignity.

The development projects include agricultural training, caring for livestock and helping them identify tools for supporting themselves.

I also lead training and workshops in conflict transformation, leadership development, and team building. My wish is to create a space for dialogue and finding common ground between the peoples of Nepal. I see the development work as focusing on the root causes of conflict, and the trainings as giving the people tools to meet each other in peacebuilding dialogues.

“To awaken from inside to do what we want outside,” is the vision, the alternative approach to humanistic development, I have for all our work.