Jagat Deuja, Community Self Reliance Center (CSRC) - Nepal
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Asia ILC Leadership Programme, to be launched in August 2018, is an opportunity to reflect on the Asian context and challenges, to empower the young leaders and to build a vibrant Asian network

About 0,5 million people are landless in Nepal and more than 60% of the total population depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Most farmers, however, are smallholders owning less than 0.5 hectares. Increased land grabbing, forced eviction and private interests prevailing over common ones are persistent challenges for people who live on and from the land, for land rights defenders and for civil society organisations. We need strong leaders with strong negotiation skills to initiate dialogue to fight for land rights at different levels.


Community Self-Reliance Centre (CSRC) works to support the land rights movement and land poor communities in Nepal. We have been engaging at different levels for pro-poor land policy formulation processes, and supporting the landless, tenants and small holders to organize themselves and claim their land rights. We support, for instance, the land rights campaign of the National Land Rights Forum, a space where landless, farmers, tenants and all Nepalese deprived of their land rights come together to strengthen their voices and mobilise for land reform. Part of our role is to help grassroots and land poor communities develop leadership skills to lead the land movement more effectively, and thus to maximise opportunities for capacity building, collaboration and networking.


Departing from such facts, strong leaders are necessary. As facilitators of the land rights movement in Asia and as an active ILC Asia members, we need to work on building connections with and between leaders of our region. But, what is leadership?

Leadership is more than just simply taking the responsibility in a certain position. Leadership not only needs to be recognized by team members and others, and demonstrated through behaviour and actions. Leaders should have a clear vision of what they want to achieve and what their organisations are trying to accomplish—regardless the size or level in which they operate. In the land rights arena, being aware of the changing external environment is crucial for leaders too. Not only because it affects organisations internally and demands them to adapt accordingly, but also because it offers opportunities to strengthen relationships and to build new ties that could make us stronger to struggle for land rights and move towards land governance.


The ILC Leadership Programme in Asia offers an opportunity to help young leaders develop strong knowledge and skills, building on diversity, inclusion and solidarity as the basic principles. It it also a space for collaboration and exchange of knowledge that allows us to transcend country boundaries and to think of a vibrant Asian network.

Concretely, second-line leaders participating in the programme will have the opportunity to broaden their perspective of land issues by reflecting on the Asian context, the new challenges and possibilities; improve their leadership skills for the internal and external organisational management; and realize the importance of good governance for sustainable and durable organisations.


Personally, being part of the preparatory phase of the programme is an opportunity for me to recall my whole journey of working for land rights. In the design workshop, held in the Philippines in May 2018, I had the chance to meet remarkable leaders and to connect to stories from people who, like me, support communities and struggle for their rights. Many of them lead organisations and have long stories of successes and defeats to learnt from.

I reaffirm that good leadership is crucial to achieve our mission in Nepal, but also in Asia. The Leadership Programme has invited me to reflect on CSRC strengths and challenges in relation to leadership, and I am currently planning to work on a plan that helps second-line leaders empower themselves and start taking the lead.