Monica Rijal

Peacebuilding Programme Specialist, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Nepal

October 2010: I recently completed the designing of a Conflict Prevention Programme (CPP). The CPP is envisioned to be a five year programme that has two programme pillars: 1) Collaborative Leadership and Dialogue and 2) Mainstreaming Conflict Sensitivity into UN programming, policies and processes.

The Collaborative Leadership and Dialogue component targets leaders of political parties, civil society and government at both central and local levels to strengthen collaborative leadership capacities (e.g. constructive negotiation, mediation, design and facilitation of dialogue processes, consensus building and building and rebuilding trust).

Inherently peacebuilding skills like negotiation, mediation and facilitation of dialogue processes are now being defined as leadership skills which are necessary for leaders to lead through conflict. The capacity will further be developed through technical accompaniment and coaching as these skills are applied to specific issues.  In the mid to longer-term, institutional mechanisms will be created and/or strengthened to sustain the promotion and application of collaborative leadership and related skills. The contents of this initiative have been developed through a process of participatory design, working closely with a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee with broad political and civil society representation.

The mainstreaming of conflict sensitivity component targets key initiatives (projects and programmes) in the United Nations. The overarching aim is to change the way UN programmes and projects are designed and implemented, and to strengthen the way UN works in terms of its organisational policy, culture and processes.  This component is inter-agency in nature with initial involvement of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator’s Office, UNICEF and UNDP, and will expand to include other UN agencies and other development partners in Nepal including governmental and civil society actors.

The Conflict Prevention Programme is currently in the phase of being rolled out, and we could see full implementation by the beginning of 2011.

July 2007: After six months in Cambodia, I moved back to Nepal. Currently I am working with the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) in the Political Affairs Division.Nepal is currently going through a very fragile peace process, and I am glad in so many ways that I am part of the peace process.

Being back in Nepal after two years (critical two years) seems surreal. There are so many new organizations and acronyms that I tend to get lost in translations.  The conflict dynamics are changing every day.

January 2007: Early in 2007 I arrived in Cambodia to work with the Catholic Relief Services in Cambodia as Program Manager–Counter Trafficking in Persons.

I have been here for a month now. Cambodia has been fascinating, and I am absolutely enjoying my work. It’s hectic trying to set up a whole new program–from planning to recruitment to implementation—but then I am not complaining, as I am just loving all this. In addition I am also writing my reflection papers for the CJP practicum. So it’s an interesting transition for me.

There is so much I bring to this job in terms of critical thinking, analysis and theoretical frameworks and adaptations to suit Cambodia that I sometimes surprise myself. Thanks to CJP for that.