What I worked on
I worked on the election monitoring project and some other projects like the Open data Project. On the former my duties included monitoring election news and its content, writing reports, alongside creating and managing a database. I also provided support to the Executive Director in several projects, especially the “Open Data Project”, which analyses the effect of the availability of data on the donors’ accountability. My primary contribution on this project has been predominantly methods-based, particularly on the development of a survey.
The Ethos of the Organisation
Freedom Forum works on Freedom of Expression, Press Freedom, and Democracy Issues (i.e. election monitoring). Freedom Forum believes that right to information empowers citizens, as it is a core pillar in liberal democracy. Moreover, Freedom Forum organizes capacity building programs and works towards the availability of data. It is also part of the International Freedom of Expression Network.
The working conditions were quite good considering the country I was based in. The office had its own building, three floors and I had my own office and access to Internet. I was also provided food (afternoon snack-lunch), tea and coffee three times a day.
Highlights (My Favourite Parts)
I was very lucky to experience the two main festivals; Dashain and Thiar, both in the office and in the hostel with the family. These were amazing opportunities to experience and to get a better knowledge of the local culture and habits. I was also able to travel to Chitwan and Pokhara, two main touristic hubs famous for their natural beauty.
I was living at a students/only-girls hostel in New Baniswhor. Because I was a foreigner I had my own room (they usually have three students per room). The hostel provided four/five meals a day. The building was clean and we had a laundry service (a lady would go to the hostel and clean our clothes) once a week. I had hot water on one bathroom.
This experience was life changing! One thing is to know how people from a developing country live and another one is to actually experience it. I’m very happy I had this experience and had such a positive feedback from everyone I have met. The Nepali people are very kind and welcoming. It is striking how such a poor people can be so happy with so little.