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Sustainable community development in Nepal, voices from the bottom -up

Totraman Gurung, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This qualitative study explored how people in rural Nepal understand and make meaning of development, Bikas, at the local level. In Nepal, the terms "development," Bikas, and "modernization," Adhunikaran, are often used interchangeably. At the community level, the experience of change is how most people describe their perception of development. Open ended in-depth interviews and participant observations were the primary methods used. The research questions engaged the participants in reflecting about past and present experiences with development in their community, especially in how they have observed their quality of life change. Additionally, the members of the Mothers Group, Ama Toli, were also interviewed. The members were interviewed for two reasons, (1) to better understand the role of women and their experiences with development and (2) to develop a case study to understand how community based organizations can be agents of change. The findings showed that local people have recognized that development does not necessarily mean good changes for everyone. The rich narratives provided a glimpse into how different generations and gender experience development. These findings have major implications for sustainable development in rural communities. How individuals or groups of individual experience development will have an impact on how they participate, support or resist future initiatives. Additionally, what each group believes the gains and losses to be is important for those working as change agents. The study raises to the surface the experiences and views of those whose views and opinions are generally not included even though they are the supposed recipients of development. The development discourse focuses on the critical need for sustainability. This study affirms that for development to be sustainable all members of the community must have a voice and role in determining the community's course of change/development.

Subject Area

Cultural anthropology|Adult education|Continuing education

Recommended Citation

Gurung, Totraman, "Sustainable community development in Nepal, voices from the bottom -up" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3242101.