Showing posts with label nrna. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nrna. Show all posts

Friday, June 12, 2015

NRN America

नेपाली हरु ----- अमेरिका जस्तो देशमा पनि चुनाव मा धाँधली गर्न भ्याएको!

Shesh Ghale Tells It Like It Is

Thursday, March 05, 2015

NRN संगठनका पद हरु र म

नेपालमा एउटा CDO भन्ने पद छ ----- राम्रै पद होला, महत्वपुर्ण पद होला ---- तर मेरो आफ्नो लागि ठ्याक्कै interest नलागेको पद। I have absolutely no interest whatsoever ------  मेरो लागि NRN संगठनको प्रत्येक पद --- तल देखि माथि सम्मको प्रत्येक पद त्यस्तै हो ---- मलाई ठ्याक्कै interest छैन। अहिले पनि छैन, पछि पनि छैन। I have absolutely no interest whatsoever. मलाई NRN को कुनै पद खानै छैन। ठ्याक्कै छैन। अहिले पनि छैन। पछि पनि छैन।

सन २०३० सम्म मा संसारको प्रत्येक देश घुमिसकने ambition भएको मान्छे म। I am a global citizen.

Monday, November 17, 2014

जैक्सन हाइट्स मा ५० समुदाय

खगेन्द्र जस्ता मानिस जैक्सन हाइट्स मा मात्र कमसेकम १०० जना होलान। किनभने जैक्सन हाइट्स मा ५० भन्दा बढ़ी देशका मानिस बस्छन्। ती ५० समुदाय मध्येको सानोमा पर्छ नेपाली समुदाय। नेपालीभन्दा त भुटानी बढ़ी छन।
खगेन्द्र जस्ता मानिस बंगलादेशी समुदायमा मात्र १० जना होलान।

त्यो जैक्सन हाइट्स मा वडा अध्यक्ष छ एक जना, सिटी कॉउंसिल मेम्बर। यो राष्ट्रपतिहरु भेंट हुने शहर। एक चोटि जॉन लिउ सिटी कॉउंसिल मेम्बर हुँदा खेरि भेटेको।

सानो देश, सानो समुदाय ---- तर NRN अमेरिकालाई ४,००० बाट २०,०००, त्यहाँ बाट ५०,००० सदस्य सम्म पुर्याउनु र संगठनलाई democratization र digitization का उच्चतम स्टैण्डर्ड सम्म लानुको नेपालको आर्थिक क्रांति संग सीधा सम्बन्ध छ।

Thursday, June 19, 2014

NRNA USA: The Next Steps

Regions and eligible countries for the Diversi...
Regions and eligible countries for the Diversity Visa lottery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With the newly organized elections for the first time the Non Resident Nepali Association has become a mass based organization in America, but barely so. If there are 200,000 Nepalis in America, the 2,000 people who voted for Khagendra GC are but one per cent of the target population. And so the immediate focus has to shift to a massive membership drive, much of which can be done online. For elections to be held within a year, the voter base has to cross the 10,000 mark. Even with 20,000 members the organization will have but organized perhaps only 10% or less of the target population.

I think the membership drive by now has hit an autopilot mode. There is a natural rush among the people to join the organization. That is a far cry from the ground reality only a few years back. The use of digital tools has made a major contribution to that end.

But the membership drive is only part of the story. Modern digital tools make possible for an organization to become truly grassroots, not just during membership drives and elections, but also after. A candidate with a public Facebook page that gets updated regularly allows for an election to go beyond name and face recognition to actually igniting discussions on issues. Photos and videos from events shared on such a public Facebook page draw people in, regardless of if they showed up or not, and most can’t.

A national organization necessarily has to hold its regular meetings over conference calls. International meetings can be held over Skype. There are still conferences people show up for, but digital meetings allow for broad participation.

But the most cutting edge thing the NRNA could do would not be digital at all. Encouraging ordinary members to organize monthly home meetings would go a long way to turning the organization truly grassroots. In person is still supreme, and will continue to be.

Those monthly home meetings could be about discussing agenda items sent from the central committee, but also about suggesting agenda items that the central committee should discuss. The communication has to be two way. But the primary thrust of such meetings has to be the upward mobility of members. Most Nepalis in NYC make less than 10 dollars an hour. How can more and more members be guided to possibly making more than 10 dollars per hour? There has to be brainstorming, there has to be note sharing.

The local NRNA has to build formal vehicles to encourage more and more people in Nepal to apply for the diversity visa lottery, and make it smoother for lottery winners to transition their way into America, whether they personally know someone or not. But once here most Nepalis stay stuck in where they started for a decade or more. I think the monthly home meeting could help steer people to look beyond where they stand right now.

A lot of socioeconomic mobility is about exercising the muscles between your ears. There is so much to learn online for free or cheap that can help people move up the income brackets. And being organized helps. There is a clear social component to learning.

Shared wifi can cost as little as $10 per person. You can get a Chromebook for $250. And that is all you need to go to university. We live in an era of lifelong education. No Nepali I know is too educated to learn some more.

So far NRNA membership drives feel like an exercise to help a few dozen people get their fix of politicking and for abstract far flung concepts like dual citizenship. NRNA membership has to be made of month to month immediate relevance to its ordinary members. Beyond taking the membership of the organization past 20,000, that push should be the real thrust of the association.

Keeping all book keeping transparent online, keeping all meeting minutes transparent online would go a long way to making the organization truly grassroots. Heck, in this day and age it should be possible to produce and share video minutes of meetings on Facebook. You get a minute here, a minute there, and edit and share.

If there are two million Nepalis outside South Asia, and if 200,000 of them are in America, the country’s share comes to about 10%. Funny that the top country on the planet has been the last to get organized to some extent as far as the Non Resident Nepali movement is concerned. Perhaps some day NRNA USA might even aspire for global leadership. Going decidedly grassroots and being number one in the use of digital technology is how you get there.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Democratic Fermentation: NRN Style

Nepali architect - Arniko in Miaoying Temple
Nepali architect - Arniko in Miaoying Temple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For the first time in its history, the Non Resident Nepali Association has become a mass based organization in America. This is a major milestone. Once the elections are over in a month, and people have the option to become members again, it is estimated the number might hit something like 10,000 to the current 4,000.

This makes the NRNA the largest Nepali organization in America, and now there is no more need for another umbrella organization. There must be a few hundred Nepali organizations across America, big and small. And that is all good. But there was a need to have one organization that brought everyone together from all parts of the country. That void has been filled.

Other than a large membership base, and perhaps more important, the basic democratic process seems to have taken root in the organization, starting from the election process itself. When an organization has 4,000 members spread across America, you have no choice as a candidate but to wage a decent campaign. You have to go out there and ask for votes, or go online.

I like to joke, which is the most socio-economically backward ethnic group in NYC? Is it the Nepalis, the Tibetans, or the Bhutanis? Considering Nepal is the poorest country outside of Africa, if Nepalis are not number one from the bottom in NYC, the crowd has got to be close to the bottom, there must be a pool of such ethnic groups.

How do you organize such people? Is it possible to buck the trend? As in, could Nepal continue to be the poorest country outside of Africa, but Nepalis in NYC organize themselves in such ways that the community makes major advances as a group over a period of something like 10 years?

I think that is possible. And turning the NRNA into a mass based organization is key to any such attempt. It is not just about dual citizenship. It is also about making socio-economic advances here itself, right here in New York City. Being better organized as a community helps, and that is to do with applying the basic democratic process.

For the longest time it felt like the minuscule ANTA had more members than the giant sounding NRNA. All that has changed. 2014 is proving to be a watershed year for the organization.

When you move from 200 members to 4,000 members, that is a move in the right direction. When members can register online, that is good. When members can vote directly for those running for office, that is swell. Online voting is a tremendous idea. A candidate creating a public Facebook page elevates the conversation.

The issue of dual citizenship remains the top item on the agenda, as yet the perennial unfulfilled goal. Politicians in Nepal are scared shitless that if they were to allow the NRNs dual citizenship, some of them might show up in Nepal to run for office, and then where are we? I remember one Holi in the 1980s when all planets in the solar system came to form one straight line, and that was supposed to be the end of the world. Nothing happened. At the end of the last century, all computers of the world were supposed to go haywire. Nothing happened. There is nothing to fear and everything to gain from the dual citizenship idea. In today’s globalized world Nepal has to think of all members of its diaspora as its ambassadors. Like I like to say, you can bring in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) or you can keep sending your workers out to Malaysia, Qatar, and where have you.

But then basic democracy is not enough. Recently I jotted down some ideas as to what a new Madhesi organization in the city might look like. Even with its recent love for basic democracy the NRNA will remain an organization where ordinary members have nothing much to do after they have paid their membership fee of 10 dollars and voted for somebody. Then all activity shifts to the few dozen active ones. I am not a big fan of that arrangement.

The basic building block of organizing Nepalis in the city has to be the Home Meeting, perhaps once a month, about 10 member strong. The emphasis has to be on helping more of the Nepalis who wish to come over to the US to come over, to help with the first phase of seeking lodging and a job. Most of that gets taken care of informally right now. Maybe there is room for something more organized. And then there has to be major emphasis on people making $10 per hour or less to help them get past that barrier. A lot of that might be to do with education and training, much of which can be done online for cheap these days. And there the social element can be a huge factor between someone moving upward, or staying stuck in third gear.

I think the same basic model of organizing can also work for Nepalis in the higher income brackets. In case you have not noticed, most of the top earners among Nepalis meet regularly, and compare notes, and help each other out.

The NRNA in NYC and in America should not just focus on the distant, seemingly abstract goal of dual citizenship, important as it is, but should primarily focus on helping its ordinary members advance socio-economically locally. Part of that also is about being efficient. Don’t get in the way of these Nepalis and the city itself and all that it has to offer. When you put together disorganized events that don’t have much focus or direction, you are basically inviting people to show up and waste their time. They work crazy hours for little pay. On their day off, they’d rather do laundry, or go visit Times Square, than show up for your event.

Can you blame them?
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Saturday, March 01, 2014

5,000 Members

The United States possibly was one of the last countries for the Non Resident Nepali movement to enter. It flourished on all continents except this one for years. And finally when it arrived it had managed to accumulate 400 members in four years.

But looks like those days are over. A recent membership drive has put the membership past 3,000. And that is in large measure because you can get your membership online. Estimates of Nepalis in America put the number at 200,000. I think to expect the NRNA will get at least 5,000 members is modest. The NRNA deserves to become the largest Nepali organization in America.

The organization suffered because the democratic process was disallowed. But some recent changes are welcome. You should be able to get your membership online. Any member should be able to contest for Officer positions, and all members should be able to directly vote for those Officer positions. The committees that run the association should organize online meetings. You put those basics into place and the next thing you know you have a truly pan American organization. Geography is no longer holding you back. All book keeping should be kept transparent and online.

The empowerment of the community comes from the organization’s commitment to the basic democratic process itself. Such a commitment to democracy and transparency will jack up the membership base to consistently large numbers. People running for Officer positions would engage in membership drives to boost their chances, and that would be swell.

The annual ANA Convention has a long tradition, and it deserves to continue with it. That convention is as good a platform as any for the NRNA as well.

The dual citizenship issue remains the unfinished business of the NRNA. And that mystifies me. Because making dual citizenship possible for global Nepalis is the easiest and the single biggest step the government in Nepal can take for Nepal’s rapid economic growth. Nepali politicians who oppose Foreign Direct Investment, either through active opposition or, more likely, plain inaction, and those who stand against dual citizenship for global Nepalis are directly responsible for Nepali women ending up in the brothels in Mumbai, and Nepalis landing in body bags from the Gulf states. Those politicians are standing in the way of job creation inside the country.

Only a mass based NRNA in America can help with the cause of dual citizenship. A NRNA with 200 members simply does not have legitimacy. At 5,000 members you are finally talking. At 10,000 members you matter. The membership drive has to be ongoing.

There are more than 30 Nepali organizations just in New York City. There are tens of Nepali organizations in most major urban areas across the country. The NRNA could be that umbrella organization that brings Nepalis together across this country. And it is a good thing the association asks for individual and not organizational membership.

There is power in numbers. For the first time I have some respect for the NRNA in America. 5,000 has been that magic number for me. The membership number has to go past that for me to take the NRNA seriously. Leaders contesting elections and winning after massive membership drives have legitimacy. Enough of backroom deals and undemocratic appointments and shady court actions.

Once the NRNA in America gets the basics of democracy and transparency right and goes past 5,000 members, it will become a serious national chapter of the global NRN movement for the first time. And it might even claim leadership of the global movement at some point. It will be able to add muscle to the dual citizenship debate.

In a culturally diverse country like America, and especially in cities like New York, a well run NRNA will bring up opportunities for alliance building with organizations that represent other countries. Transparent and online book keeping will create opportunities for massive fundraising and creating new programs.

If the Officers of NRNA America will hold online meetings, that means the gulf between the NRNA chapters in the 60 plus countries is going to be zero. Everyone can come on Skype. It is amazing how Viber has taken off. The NRN movement was always meant to be global. But lack of robust coordination has kept the movement in the doldrums. I am for more skyping and less air travel. Use social media to the max. Keep all interested members in the know. Publish meeting minutes and money details on Facebook groups.

5,000 members spread across the country might mean those running for Office might also have to conduct primarily online campaigns. That would be interesting. That would also be cheap. Which means anyone could participate, and that would be a good thing.

I have wondered out loud many times in many places as to why the top global Nepali entrepreneurs are not out of America but rather Second World countries like Russia. If America is the ultimate country, what gives? One of the things holding the community back has been a lack of large, mass based, democratic, transparent, robust organizations. Minus that the community has been nimbling along with some sort of an inferiority complex.

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