September 11, Lalitpur-
Media Advocacy Forum-Nepal, an entity which exists to advocate on behalf of the minority and marginalized communities- with the motto “Human Rights, Social Justice and Good Governance- observed its 2nd Annual General Assembly amidst a special programme on 10th September at Universal Cafe, Lalitpur. Speakers as varied as MPs, political party chair and officials, faith networks leaders, women activists, human rights and advocacy activist made keynote remarks on the “Current Advocacy Trends,” stressing the universal principle of human dignity for all, and the need of civic engagenet at all levels of the soceity and the nation.
Also, Media Advocacy Award-2021 was awarded to Thomas Bogaty and Kamala Hamal for their contribution to the cause of advocacy by way of investigative and analytical journalism. Chief Guest of the programme Hon’ble MP Atahar Kamal Musalman handed over the Awards and Letters of Recognition, and Appreciation to the journalists and distinguished personages who have made contributions to the society and the nation at large.
Bikash Adhikari, Executive Director of Sundar Dhoka Saathi Sewa was conferred the Letter of Recognition for his remarkable contribution to Persons With Disbaility (PWDs) and recently for COVID-19 response nationally. Mr Adhikari is also a member of the Advisory Board of MAF-Nepal, and provides guidance with regards to people with special needs.
Mrs. Draupadi Rokaya, Founder and Executive Director of Mahila Bishwasi Sangh (YCWA) was recognized with a Letter of Recognition for her outstanding service to women and children, activism and advocacy against violence on women.
Similarly, Dr. Kiran Das- Vice-coordinator of National Girjaghar Mahaguthi- was recognized for his long-standing service to minority community and scholarships programmes to students from the Dalit community, besides theological training and teaching-preaching ministry.
Dr Subash Subba, Chairperson of National Christian Churches Federation of Nepal (NCCFN) was honored with a Letter of Recognition for his service to children and poor people besides his contribution in the field of alternative medicine and treatment.
Also, J.B. Samuel (Jit B. Khati) was also conferred the Letter of Recognition for helping children with scholarships, advocacy and theological training ministry.
Similarly, Dr. Mahendra Bhattarai- Chair of the Advisory Board of MAF-N, and Mrs. Bimala Thapa, also member of the Advisory Board, were conferred Letters of Appreciation for their advocacy and development works, and service to trafficked women and children respectively.
Finally, MP Atahar Kamal was also appreciated with a Letter of Appreciation for his lending voice and partnership for the cause of the minority, and for special availability for MAF-Nepal.
Kaynote Remarks Current Advocay Trends
Chief Guest MP Atahar Kamal noted the important role MAF-Nepal has been undertaking for lending a voice to the subaltern by utilizing media. He assured the team of his continued support, and remarked that the bad governance the nation had to undergo during the previous administration had left nation polarized wherein the concept of civic liberties has become embattled.
Communications Registrar of Bagmati Province Rewati Prasad Sapkota challenges the media persons not to see themselves as merely the local and limited, but as global and local at the same time, and as having unlimited possibilities. He also offered various training opportunities and fellowships to to those willing and committed to pursuing careers in journalism.
Similarly, Mr Khagendra Oli, G. Secretary of Freedom for All (FAN- Nepal) emphasized having a bold and creative vision and appreciate the creative and mediatory role MAF-Nepal has been playing and providing a platform for the voices of the minorities. He also requested the Chief Guest MP Atahar Kamal to support such social and advocacy entities who are there to better the society ultimately.
Mrs. Bimala Thapa accentuated the need for genuine transformation in the community, so that women and children are protected. Dr. Mahendra Bhatarai remarked that despite decades of work in advocacy, not much seems to be achieved- yet this is a slow process of people’s consciousness re-engineering.
Dr. BP Khanal, Chair of Janajagaran Party Nepal, expressed angst at the plight of the nation and called for an ethics and accountability-based politics and human rights works.
Likewise, Dr. Subash Subba underlined the need for true unity of mind and spirit, and need to celebrate one another despite denominational difference. Dr. Kiran Das congratulated MAF for being a voice of the oppressed and the vehicle of enlightenment through media. He pointed that the faith community is yet not duly heard and recognized by the state mechanism. listed out five points to be addressed, and wished MAF-Nepal a lasting and meaningful work. Mr. Bikash Adhikari and Mrs. Draupadi Rokaya also lent their voice for MAF-Nepal.
Effectively emceed by MAF-Nepal G. Secretary Niroj Tolange, the programe was chaired by Bidur Adhikari, Founding Chair of MAF-Nepal, where Programme Coordinator Mr. S.D. (Sushil) Bhatta presented the Progress Report and laid out future plans and goals of MAF-Nepal.