Tackling inequality in Nepal: A grassroots approach

01-04-2015

The Nepalese organization, Village Development Foundation (VDF), started the project called ‘Fight Discrimination- Equal Rights for all’, aiming at reaching out to and empowering marginalized groups in Nepal. There is a significant level of discrimination and inequality based on caste, gender and class in the programme area, which excludes these groups from fully participating in the society and/or the development process. Because of this, gender violence, dowry system and early marriages are a pervasive occurrence. There is a clear need to educate these marginalised groups about their rights in order for them to effectively participate in dialogues and negotiations to make policies more responsive to the issues of marginalised communities. This project, supported by GHRD, is a response to these problems.

The project is a grassroots approach to the development of the socio-economic empowerment of women and children in the Dhanusha and Mahottari district. VDF organizes legal literacy classes that focus on discussion of impunity, child marriage, accusation and punishment of witchcraft, abortion, domestic and gender-based violence.

VDF also enables the community to form watch groups, which monitor and act against human rights violations in the community. Through the provision of legal literacy training, organizers aim at the participants developing their knowledge on human rights issues, along with raising awareness about citizens’ responsibilities. Watch groups raise different local issues, discuss and resolve them with local stakeholders. In some cases the groups set up campaigns in order to raise awareness and gain support for such issues as domestic violence, alcoholism and education.

During the last two years over 34 watch groups have been set up and over 100 children have been saved from the brutality of child marriages as a result. Overall, the level of knowledge on human rights and legal literacy and participation in decision-making processes in the community have increased. Discrimination and inequalities based on caste, gender and class in the programme area are significantly decreasing as a result of the project, allowing GHRD to further support VDF in their activities in the community.

OSED’s project;  ‘We For US’

The Organisation for Socio-Economic Development Nepal (OSED) initiated the project ‘We for Us’ to help the Nepalese community on a grassroots level. The project was created with a vision to build a society focused on sustainable development and the elimination of all forms of discrimination. OSED works within marginalised areas of the southern Lalitpur district and aims at supporting the empowerment of women, young adults and children. Over half of the women in Lalitpur are confined to household chores, child bearing and rearing, leaving these women excluded from any decision-making processes. The women lack education to an extent of being illiterate and unaware about their rights, suffer from the lack of sanitation and existing health structures, they suffer from domestic violence and are financially dependent on their husbands. Children face the same difficulties.

As a part of the “We for Us” project, OSED gives various courses on reproductive health, sanitation and women’s rights. Over 200 women are trained over the course of 12 classes, enabling them to actively pursue their rights and live healthier and more fulfilling lives as active members of their society. Classes focus on discussions of the importance of women’s rights, legal literacy, reproductive health, sanitation and communication skills. OSED continuously encourages these women to share their knowledge with other women within their communities, thereby spreading the information around and ensuring sustainability.

In addition to its work with women, ‘We for Us’ also supports the growth and development of children through child clubs. These clubs provide educational and behavioural guidance. Children who participate have a higher chance to get into higher education and perform better in school. The clubs serve as a platform for children to get involved in arts and other extracurricular activities, competitions, quizzes and spelling contests.

GHRD plays a fundamental role in enabling OSED and VDF to continue their projects. GHRD supports the two projects both organizationally and financially, with the aim of increasing the scope, durability and sustainability. To ensure GHRD’s continued support for the future years of these projects we rely on public contributions. Funding is an integral part for making our work and the work of our partner NGO’s, VDF and OSED, possible. If you would like to contribute and make the change possible, please visit our website at ghrd.org to explore donation options.

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