The Year That Was 2017

2017 has come to an end. Looking back, it was a very satisfying year that brought a many firsts for Bikalpa as a think tank. Here is a quick glimpses of the year as it was.

Accountability Photo Exhibition

With an aim to shade light upon various social issues, Bikalpa organized the first Accountability photo contest and hosted the first Accountability photo exhibition held in Biratnagar. The contest received 183 entries from all over Nepal. 50 photos were shortlisted and subjected to voting on social media. From those, top 19 photographs were exhibited on 21st of January. Two photos selected by the jury while one receiving the largest votes under popular category were awarded. The exhibition was visited by over 700 audience.

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Research on E-rickshaw Management

Bikalpa published its third research paper Titled “Liberating Local Enterprise: Deregulating e-rickshaws Industry in Biratnagar”. This is the first research paper under Bikalpa’s Policy reform series. Currently, Bikalpa is undertaking survey on street vendors.

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Forging Partnerships

Continuing our partnership with our partners, this year saw partnerships at various levels. We formed new partners as well. We hosted political discussion series with Mayor as well as local politicians as well with our Partners, Lead International. We also hosted journalist turned politician Mr. Rabindra Mishra which was attended by many people. We also conducted Accountability discussions in association with Action Aid.

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Mayoral Debate​

In lieu of the historic Local body elections 2017, Bikalpa organized the first ever Mayoral Debate in Biratnagar with an aim to connect the first time voters with the candidates. Mayoral candidates from major political parties shared the dais at the Mayoral Debate as they discussed about their vision for Biratnagar. The event was broadcasted live on social media as well as on Radio and was attended by over 300 people. All the mayoral candidates came to the consensus to make Biratnagar dust free city within 6 month of their tenure. However, even after 7 months of the current mayor’s tenure, the city is hazardously dusty.

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Alumni of the Month

Basanta Adhikari, the director of Bikalpa an Alternative was declared as the “Alumni of the month” for the month of October by the US Embassy. Basanta is an Alumni of the prestigious International Volunteer Leadership Program (IVLP) and participated in the 2014 Young Leaders Influential Voices. Basanta was declared the Alumni of the month in recognition for the influential role he played in civic engagements in Eastern region. He has trained over 5000 youths since 2007. Bikalpa continues to draw inspiration from him and grow under his leadership.

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Finalist at Light Camera Liberty 2017

Bikalpa started producing advocacy videos since 2015. After receiving the Light Camera Liberty Grant in 2016, Bikalpa has produced over 15 videos since then which have been regularly featured by various handlers on social media and online sites. This year, one of our videos, Why is Nepal poor?, was exceptionally received by the viewers and it managed to clock over 2.9 million views and over 60000 shares on social media. The video was also selected as one of the three finalists for the Light Camera Liberty award to be held in New York on 7-8 November.

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No Horn Campaign

In October, the local government declared Province No. 1 as a “Horn Free” zone and began penalizing people who honked in the streets. While the concept of making the streets “horn free” is a necessary and a welcome move, its hasty implementation strategy of fining the offenders in the chaotic streets of Nepal which lack basic pedestrian amenities was not feasible. Bikalpa along with other civil society organizations, started a campaign against the hasty implementation with slogan “No penalty without proper infrastructure”. As a part of the campaign, Bikalpa organized a solidarity chain in-front of the Traffic Police Station. More than 40 people participated in the program and we published video and article to sensitize the masses on the issue. This news was covered by 5 news agencies.

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Program and Activities

Bikalpa has been conducting various programs on areas focusing on entrepreneurship, accountability, political economy and leadership among others. This year too, Bikalpa engaged over 500 students from various programs on its monthly programs like The Last Thursdays, weekly programs like Speakers Corner and fortnightly programs like Liberty Discussions. Bikalpa also organized workshop on Accountability and Civic Leadership and Opening Marketing and Promoting entrepreneurship.