In 1990, Saloni (Pradhan) Singh traveled from Nepal to St. Francis Xavier University to attend Coady International Institute’s Diploma in Development Leadership program. Since that time, she has returned to Coady several times as a participant and as a co-facilitator. Saloni also continues to be a champion of the institute serving as president of the Coady Alumni Association in Nepal while continuing her efforts as a social change leader.
Her newest role is a prestigious one. The Government of Nepal has appointed Saloni to the country’s National Planning Commission (NPC).
“The National Planning Commission is the specialized and apex advisory body of the Government of Nepal for formulating a national vision, development policy, periodic plans and sectoral policies for overall development of the nation,” Saloni says. “It is headed by the Right Honorable Prime Minister.”
Saloni, and those serving on the commission, assess resource needs, identifying sources of funding, and allocating budget for socio-economic development. The commission also brings together new development ideas and proposals from scholars, private sector, civil society, and development partners.
“My expertise in overall development and planning and policy development, that’s how they selected me and approached me to see if I’d like to contribute,” Saloni says. “I happily accepted as this is one of the opportunities that I’d be contributing and sharing my expertise and experiences from all over the world.”
At the time of the appointment, Saloni was with Didi Bahini, a Nepalese NGO that encourages “a positive, peaceful and equal approach to life to promote gender responsive social transformation and support women, children, and youth to help themselves.”
She has worked with different people, cultural groups, and various sectors across Nepal and Asia.
Saloni says her time at Coady and at StFX are important factors in her success. Her initial trip would not have happened without an invitation of former Coady directors A.A. MacDonald and Eric Amit.
“When I was at Coady, I was also given lots of opportunity to not only learn but also to facilitate,” she says. “I had a great opportunity, exposure, and learning when I was there. It was not only that, I was encouraged to be a facilitator, a change maker, and a multiplier.”
Saloni says serving on the NPC is an opportunity to influence directly the policy, plan, budget, and implementation of pro poor, women and disadvantaged community projects across Nepal. The position provides her an opportunity to instruct, support, and advise ministries in the government.
“This normally is the highest aim for anybody who is in development. So, it is nice, it is great to be recognized by the country and know the country has given me this responsibility and this space.”
Coady Diploma in Development Leadership graduate Saloni Singh (second row, right) helped co-facilitate Coady Institute’s Advocacy and Citizen Engagement certificate course in May 2006.
When I was at Coady, I was given lots of opportunity to not only learn but also to facilitate. I had a great opportunity, exposure, and learning when I was there. It was not only that, I was encouraged to be a facilitator, a change maker, and a multiplier.