The signing of an agreement between Karuna Foundation and the government of Province 1 was a milestone and crucial step in the realisation of our ambition to replicate the programme.
Changing the system of the government is not easily done. In the past months, the provincial government, supported by Karuna, developed implementation directives for the implementation, indicating responsibilities, funding and reporting procedures and cost-sharing mechanisms. In preparation of a good start, a workshop was organised in July 2019 with all stakeholders involved (including the Minister himself) to share the content of the programme, the directives, and to create a sense of ownership amongst all. It became clear what was needed to fully integrate the programme in the current system and which adjustments need to be made. At provincial level, a Directive Committee is formed to properly manage the replication in the coming years.
In autumn 2019, new staff was recruited by Karuna Foundation and a provincial office was set up. All were extensively trained in the values, principles and approach. The Karuna team worked closely together with the provincial government to develop guidelines for implementation, a format for agreements with municipalities and funding arrangements. In December 2019 all municipalities signed the agreement with Karuna in which Karuna and Province 1 committed their support for three years and the terms for cooperation (see box below).
In January 2020, all 27 municipalities of Batch I started with the recruitment of their CBRFs and a start will be made with the prevention programme. All CBRFs started their training in an officially accredited programme in March but the training had to be stopped due the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown in Nepal.
Preparations have also started for the implementation of Batch II of the DPRP. Karuna selected 14 new staff members for the support in the new districts, who will joined Karuna Nepal in February, 2020. As part of the preparations and rapport building, all municipalities of Batch II of the Sankhuwasabha and Bhojpur districts have been visited by Karuna staff and the mayors and chairpersons of the wards have been informed about the programme. They responded enthusiastically. By the end of July 2020 a total of 22 agreements were signed with municipalities, but a re-imposed lockdown in two district prohibited to finalize all.
In August new lockdowns and the closing of our offices challenged the team to develop new scenario’s for scaling.