Signal Strengths in Post-Conflict Societies | Veneeta Singha, June 2011

Full Text Sharing

Signal Strengths in Post-Conflict Societies | Veneeta Singha, June 2011


The macrocosmic vision of a resource-laden lost world of Atlantis re-envisioning itself through internal strife and conciliatory peace stops short of being prophetic due in part to globalist ideology.  This macrocosm then, in turn, becomes the microcosm.


In seeking a summation of a complex reality such as this, a few words can often elucidate why the situation can and does turn itself around as if by the ‘mysterious hand of God’. The world seems chastened, too, by the dual threats of an endangered global ecosystem and a near famine of tangible resources.  Swept by a wave of rebuilding a more even, sustainable and plentiful community, one often encounters simple truths that might have preserved and not just provided.


In a more perfect world, we might, indeed, have reinvigorated Atlantis. Given the clay as we now know it, we are confined by boundaries and distinctions that transcend moralistic debates about a better world for all.  A better world for all, now, becomes a more plural, diverse and contextualized reality constantly revisiting the older norms and innovating for progress and people.


This brings us to the essential inadequacy of much of the globalist and counter-globalist reactions. People are the driving force of communities and societies and indeed civilizations. It would be imprudent to impose the perception of an evenly distributed and diagnosed ‘one size fits all’ solution. Celebrating accomplishments and achievements often lead us to this truth. Celebration, by its very nature, looks to a higher ground and purpose but also reminds us of the defining characteristic of much of human endeavour – connecting with the impalpable and natural as well as the known and unknown in and of the world. Sharing in this is the life force that we constantly require ourselves to enhance, preserve and express.


In reconnecting with both the global and the local aided by powers of hindsight and experience, we find that there is indeed an overlapping of perceptive and proven similarities and dissimilarities. Strengths arise from people and resources and those are weakened by atypical derivatives. Inherent    conditions of size, mass and proportion often find fulfilment in particularity whereas extrinsic forces lend replenishment and support.


Like the wheel in motion, societies turn to the cog that anchors them. The cart, on the other hand, can be designed in almost infinitesimal combination.  In raising a voice, concern or a gaping wound of marginality, a critical mass can be achieved with compromise on more embedded articles. Re-alignment poses crucial questions that might have served the concern in a more progressive fashion.


The 21st century pre-occupation with dialogue and collaboration has allowed many previously discarded or evaded solutions to surface, take new shape and, indeed, shape a better reality for many people. However, the essential quality of much of the dialogue and collaboration remains in practicable actions and answers to the problems that plague the world. In the context of the developing world, poverty and strife have led to more ills and iniquities. Inequity also rears its ugly head to serve as a platform for discontentment. Reaching beyond these truisms, one is confronted with the need to engage the community at large as well as build the solutions into real terms and, often, physical possibilities.


Development work creates or substantiates a norm that is both collaborative and communication-centred. Access to information and communicable realities has hastened a better climate for the communities involved as well as empirical evidence of sustainable change and betterment. Concomitantly, a rapid and exhaustive consumption pattern alongside a short-sighted use of available resource bases have translated into a perilously depleted natural environment and dangerous levels of hazardous climatic changes. These pose deleterious implications for the sustainable livelihoods of present and future generations.


A valuable and long-lasting contribution of the Development Agenda in Asia is the focus on the grassroots and on basic necessity provision. This has meant that a significant portion of the Agenda’s work on the ground is of real and lasting value to the communities involved. Through this work, a potent result or by-product is the resurgence and strengthening of local knowledge and mechanisms that are effective in achieving the goals and in building strong partnerships for development in general.


Material realities are inevitably bound to material cultures. Culturally- sound perspectives often emerge for the least likely problems. The 21st century has also brought about an excessive churning of idioms and adages now somewhat inefficacious in educating or even informing. This causes a sharp sting in the more important cultural norms as well as identities. Linking one’s lot to a cultural mode and collection of customs is part and parcel of many ways of life and for a myriad of people. The chosen path, as it is often disparagingly referred to, can, however, become less normatively easy.


Given the multiplicity of influence and factor, it is not surprising that development work has, again, reached new frontiers of theme, research and application. The ideal of strengthening intrinsic capabilities while supporting extrinsic properties can be found in many mandates. A typical approach to this has been the re-engagement of CBOs and partnerships well beyond the average institution’s conventional reach. The surge of computer-mediated communications and information exchange has opened up many avenues for R&D as well as programme building and implementation.


Service delivery mechanisms for development are firmly rooted in programmatic functions. Reassessments of the growth potential and opportunities for project impact are ever on the rise in communities and societies that emerge beyond strife, discord and reconstruction. The policy environment for much of this perspective remains a closed door with limited collaboration. Public policy must also, then, overcome the throes of stagnation and apathy.


Asian societies are, by and large, people-centred. This forges a particularly strong agenda for ‘getting into the field’. Local paradigms also find time and space in this backdrop. This has led to a singular rethinking of project management imperatives based primarily on the immediacy of needs as well as the long-term results required. Much is also made of donor sensitivities and reporting.


This paper was drafted as a growth and limitations view of the Development Agenda in Nepal and other Asian countries.  When approaching development work, resource engagement concerns emerge in varied ways. This has particular resonance in far-flung areas with limited access to modern amenities and education. In addition, the rural urban gaps often compound vulnerability and a paucity of opportunities for human development and growth. Many such communities rely on semi-traditional means of livelihood fast becoming ineffectual in the world as we know it. Protecting traditional livelihood structures and means and, at the same time, using modern technologies, resources and know-how is a challenge that many development agencies face today.


The term Development Economy came to our rescue some years back. It has yet to realize its possibilities. The well-being of a nation, however, cannot be protracted with a jostling of semantics. The term ‘entrepreneurial economy’ also merits close scrutiny. A Mixed Economy, however, allows Marxist interpretations and applications to flourish alongside the modern, high profit scenarios. In Nepal, stability has succumbed to transitions of all shapes and sizes. There is, though, a keen upswing of collaboration and private sector involvement in all aspects of the nation’s functioning and progress. The Development Sector, too, must not rest on its laurels. Having sustained a tremendous wave of human development and upliftment, it has brought about great social benefits to the community at large.


As environmental concerns became firmly placed within context in the past decade, the larger Development Framework formed the ideal structure on which to rest. Consequently, both the backdrop and key elements have given rise to significant socio-economic innovation, research and development. The benefits of these are, as yet, not quantified. Qualitatively, surges in the Technology Index signal strong capabilities and opportunities. Likewise, community-based trading, crafts, agro-industries, tourism, and the financial sectors appear robust. Subsistence-based communities must also, then, benefit from this dynamic state.  


Communications plays an indispensible role in furthering the Development Agenda. Land-locked and hidden behind the mountain ranges, Nepal is geo-politically dependent on surrounding areas and influences. Moreover, having opened its doors to the West and East alike, its strategic and proactive relations with the rest of the world must be nurtured and augmented.

Position: Writer

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.