Firstly, congratulations to NRNA on its establishment day and as the eighth NRNA Global Conference draws near, it signals we have come a long way. NRN was established in 2003 with a vision to do something for the country, never mind being away. As NRNA takes significant strides in helping Nepal and its citizens, there are challenges within. Feeling the need for an organization which provides worldwide recognition, a few lead campaigners with some steady visions, formed NRNA. And because of them NRN boasts a proud and strong presence in 75 countries. NRN has not only been registered in Nepal, it has been successful in creating a provision for a special citizenship for NRN’s in the constitution of Nepal. NRNA has also been active in many social and political scenes in their home and foreign countries. The association has been active during the earthquake, the floods, and many more. To be active in 75 countries is not a joke or a mere matter; it takes perseverance, dedication, and hard work and all thanks to the founding members and the members who have continuously led it on. This is NRN’s biggest strength, and should capitalize upon it.
And although, NRN has reached a certain postion, there is a sense of void, as if a lack of direction or its new missions not being directed bearing the NRN’s vision in mind. If the NRN does not draw distinct and trustworthy plans, there is a possibility of added challenges.
Important achievements and their associated challenges:
1. Creation of a huge network
Initially active in only a few countries, NRN has now spanned its wings in 75 countries. Although an indicator of great growth, this poses challenges. An organized procedure to organize activities seems amiss. Affiliated members of the network seem to lack knowledge about what is expected of them, owingly because of lack of unity and clarity of missions. It is now late to address this challenge, however not impossible.
2. Goverrnment recognition and institutional registration
NRNA was only registered in accordance to the government of Nepal in 2012. Although started in 2003, it took 9 years for the authorities to to formally recognize and address the rights of NRNs. Now, not only recognized, the government of Nepal considers NRN an important partner of Nepal. To be an NRN, according to the provisions set by the government, one has to be a legal citizen of the other country. Thus, students and workers have been left out, for which up till date no concrete solution realized.
3. Special Citizenship:
Request for a dual citizenship has been continuous by NRNA. With the promulgation of the new constitution, NRN has been successful in incorporating a provision for a special citizenship, which allows everything except political representation. To facilitate voting for citizenship holders, NRN has been working towards creating a platform. This raises the concerns of a difference in political ideologies and its implications. Nepali community lives in harmony when abroad and political differences could possibly create a rift. This issue needs to be addressed.
4. Construction of NRN’s own building:
It makes sense for NRN, a duly recognized body to have its own building. Although planning had been done from before, the idea was finalized after incorporation. However, the construction of the building is hampering other NRN activities. Combined with the arduous task of land sourcing, other legal works is raising eyebrows among members.
5. Earthquake relief and Reconstruction:
The activities of NRN post earthquake have garnered a lot of praises and love. Not only immediate relief, NRN has plaedged reconstruction of a thousand homes. Although, not NRN’s chief agenda, the social work is a reflection of NRN’s helpful spirit. However, NRN needs to address the issue of effective fundraising in the future. For example, it was seen that Nepalis in Australia sent almost 10 crore to be sent to Nepal, however all of this was not channeled through NRN – rather private individuals and organizations. Also, in the reconstruction fund, Australia’s contribution alone stands at 28%. Noone is questioning the fact that the rest of the 74 countries NRN networking skills.
6. Other Charitable Acts:
NRNA has organized various other helpful acts – be it building old age homes, helping in surgery for the poor, education for the unprivileged, you name it. However, these social acts lack proper implementation, evaluation, and control.
7. Institutional development works:
The co-operation between NRN ICC and NRN NCC needs to be re-inforced and of a mutually beneficial value.
So, how did we arrive at this point?
As discussed above, despite these challenges NRNA has been an influential force achieving significant results; and shall continue doing so. However, these issues need to be scrutinized:
1. Inability to create a perfect workplace and work style
NRNA in its first phase worked towards incorporating it under the legal framework of Nepal, striving for dual citizenship, increasing its network. It is currently focusing on social issues – earthquake reconstruction, flood relief. NRNA needs to decide and pursue their primary agenda.
2. Personal accreditation:
Rather than focusing on the achievements of NRNA has a group, it is seen credits are given to individuals. This has been hampering NRNA’s activities as a group.
3. Unhealthy Election Habits:
Earlier when NRN leaders were chosen upon their contributions to the society it was seen people with good spirits would go and help Nepalis. However, with the advent of the election feeling in the past Global Conferences, the intellectuals of the past have withdrawn. Elections have been tending to biased towards who has more money and political connections rather than elections and capacity. Candidates are seen splurging money, bringing in representatives, paying for their hotel fees, buying and selling of votes, and thus coming into power. Elections and their results have to be based upon the candidates willing to push themselves towards the objectives of NRNA.
4. NRNA Business organization:
Various people from business background wish to be involved with NRNA. Many a times it has been their agenda to increase business through NRN; in the home country and the foreign country.
5. Nepali political influences:
It is often seen, candidates of NRNA, approaching Nepali politicians for support during the elections. There may come a time, when NRN elections will be as divided in ideologies as national politics.
6. Coordination between NRNA ICC and NRNA NCC
A positive spirit of working has to adopted by NRNA ICC and NRNA NCC. ICC has to be distinct and precise about their plans and visions to NCC.
7. NRNA tenure and creation of a taskforce
The current NRNA tenure is 2 years. Post election and the creation of a task force consumes 6 months, the taskforce being assigned their posts and duties takes away another year, thus leaving only 6 months for the team to work upon. The last six months is also spent preparing for the new election. It is essential NRNA increase its tenure for a minimum 3 years and elect a taskforce transparently.
8. NRNA’s interior communication
Communication within NRNA and its members is very inefficient. It has not been able to communicate its progress and hindrances effectively. NRNA needs to depend upon external media outlets and needs to strengthen its press releases to necessary channels. Sometimes, it is also seen that these media outlets represent NRNA in an unnecessary big fashion. For example, a small work will garner great attention. Similarly, NRNA also needs to positively adopt social media.
There is more to be discussed than what has been listed above. NRNA is a body which has grown exponentially over the thirteen through unity. NRNA is the combined property of NRN’s and Nepali citizens.
Global Conference is drawing near and candidates have expressed their desires. However, a lack of empowering visions can still be felt. It is seen that candidates are addressing their friends’ visions, or their political affiliations. Should they address the challenges in hand and promise to overcome them, with visions of an empowered organization and at the pinnacle Nepal, then would be found what NRNA has lost.
The article is written by Mahendra Oli, an ex NRN Australia’s President. This article was originally written in Nepali and has been translated by the editor.