This paper is part of the Theories in Practice series arising from the collaboration between JSRP and The Asia Foundation. The paper explores The Asia Foundation’s ‘Theory of Change’ for community mediation in Nepal. Through analysis of academic and practitioner sources combined with primary research across six Nepali districts, this paper analyses the evidence supporting the claim that mediation ‘improves social harmony’. This analysis is conducted using a framework of three potential pathways to social harmony: dispute resolution and prevention, relationship building and enhanced social inclusion. By exploring these pathways, this study demonstrates that community mediation is perceived positively by individuals who use its services, particularly when compared to other justice mechanisms in Nepal. However, this paper also shows that there remain gaps in evidence needed to substantiate the programme’s community-level impacts related to social harmony. Ultimately, this paper argues that long-term case tracking and in-depth engagement with target communities will help refine the Theory of Change for community mediation in Nepal and provide further insight into the programme’s community-level effects. Throughout this study, the benefits and problems associated with using Theories of Change as an entry point into programme research are also examined.
Stein, D. Community Mediation and Social Harmony in Nepal. Justice and Security Research Programme, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), London, UK (2013) 47 pp. [JSRP Research Paper 5]