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Sandy Sneddon, Asia Secretary of World Mission Council sends this blog from his recent visit to Nepal. 

National Situation

Once again I arrived in Nepal at a time of uncertainty. On 27 May the Supreme Court refused to grant any further extension to the term of the Constituent Assembly (CA). Just weeks earlier consensus had seemed possible. In November a major achievement had been agreement on the integration of some of the former Maoist People’s Liberation Army into the regular army. A federal system of 11 provinces had also been agreed. The collapse of the CA is interpreted by some as further evidence of the Maoists lack of commitment to democracy and by others as a general lack of willingness by all parties to move from entrenched positions. See http://www.nepalitimes.com/issue/2012/06/2/Editorial/19333 and http://www.kanakmanidixit.com for comment and analysis.


Mission Partners

Joel Gitinji expressed his thanks for continuing support from Church of Scotland. His work as Integral Mission Advisor for HIV and AIDS is developing and becoming more useful. He has recently completed a survey with 105 representatives of different churches and will follow this up with 32 churches in different locations. The survey maps attitudes and positions held by churches in relation to HIV. He is doing Training of Trainers workshops with church representatives and has developed a series of Bible Studies looking at different aspects of HIV: stigma and acceptance, forgiveness and reconciliation. Joel is looking forward to deputation in Scotland in August and September and is working on materials for presentations.

Malcolm & Cati Ramsay have been in Nepal for four months. They have been on the Language and Orientation Programme and had just spent three weeks in Tansen in the south of the country. This allowed for intensive language study, getting to now UMN staff at Tansen Hospital and Cati even did some work preparing a paddy field. A planned two week stay in a village was postponed because of instability but this may be possible later. The Ramsays’ apartment is in the Kupindole area of the city, within walking distance of the UMN office. They have made their accommodation homely and aresettling in well to their new situation.

UMN Board Meeting

At the UMN Board meeting Mark Galpin, Executive Director, presented his overview report on progress in the last six months (some organisational restructuring, strengthening fundraising, embedding the new mission statement, developing and finalising policies on gender, climate change and conflict) and reminded the board of continuing challenges (difficult economic and political climate, managing changes in UMN, recruiting female cluster staff and expatriates).

The board did some work on planning for the UMN General Assembly which will be held on 29-30 May 2013, approved the board election process, discussed the next stage of registering UMN as an international NGO, had some input into a review of the organisation’s fundraising strategy and did an exercise looking at a new statement of faith.

UMN currently has 63 local partners in seven clusters locations across Nepal. UMN works in four technical areas, Health, Education, Peacebuilding and Sustainable Livelihoods and employs three approaches to its work: Capacity Buyilding, Advocacy and Integral Mission. More information about activities can be found at www.umn.org.np

You may be wondering about the title of this blog post. Agnes Githinji recently braided her daughter Grace’s hair. They were walking along a street and female police officers on traffic duty left their control post and came over to admire Grace’s hair. You can see that she looks fantastic but then we know that Grace is amazing!