In 2001, NGO’s from Nepal approached IMTD to help with the issue of the Maoist insurgency. Since then, we have provided two trainings there and are looking forward to establish further projects in the fields of conflict resolution and trauma healing.
The Nepal Program aims to contribute to peacebuilding by addressing the underlying causes to the Maoist conflict in Nepal. Currently, IMTD is developing a training project for Nepalese journalists in nonpartisan reporting to promote a peaceful culture through media in Nepal. There is a need to provide Nepali journalists training in conflict sensitive journalism, in addition to impartial reporting. A truly free press is a relatively new phenomenon in Nepal, as before the restoration of multiparty democracy in 1990, the press had been censored to varying extents. Although, the quantity of media has improved greatly over the years, there are debates about the quality of Nepali media. The partisan nature of much of Nepal's media has fostered a cynicism towards journalism in the general public, and this project wishes to address the problems in Nepali media that has created these negative perceptions of journalists and news outlets. The goal of this project is to reduce personal and institutional bias in reporting.
The training for journalists in nonpartisan reporting consists of two phases. The first phase involves a five-day training session in Kathmandu, Nepal by a professor from George Mason University. All the participants will submit a written sample of their reporting prior to the commencement of training. These samples will be scored for bias on a scale developed by IMTD in collaboration with experts in the field. The second phase involves long-distance training using video-conferencing facilities at George Mason University. The participants will meet once a month for a semester and develop samples of reporting for which constructive feedback will be provided. Each sample of reporting will be scored for the presence of bias.
IMTD has been involved in Nepal previously, in 2001 during the height of the civil conflict. IMTD met with members of various sections of Nepalese society, including members of the "untouchable" caste, women's groups, Maoist supporters and two former prime ministers. IMTD was interested in not only the conflict between the government and the Maoists, but also how the conflict affected the most vulnerable in society, including women and those from the "untouchable" caste. Training in conflict resolution was provided for sixty individuals, who in turn created their own peacebuilding NGO, the Collective Campaign for Peace (COCAP). IMTD staff were last in Nepal in 2004, though IMTD retains connections with many groups working for peace within the country, including COCAP.