“Improving Livelihood through Empowerment” at Thirpu and Ramnakot VDCs in Kalikot district, Karnali Zone, midwest Nepal
Aawaaj has been worked in partnership with Fastenopfer at Thirpu and Ramnakot VDCs of Kalikot district as these VDCs have been left aside from the different fundamental needs. Aawaaj Surkhet has taken it as the opportunity to reach to the target group in remote areas. The selected 2 VDCs are high Prevalence of gender and caste based discrimination. In the proposed district child marriage prevalence rate is very high – 47% in Kalikot, and its impact on education of girls and health is measurable. There is High infant and maternal mortality rates due to a lack of basic health services and high malnutrition, low literacy rate, insufficient school facilities and limited access to quality education; Lack of transport facilities and road networks across the districts. There is lack of employment and high seasonal migration to India and high prevalence of HIV/AIDs among migrants. There is low agricultural productivity and poor rural infrastructure (e.g. roads, irrigation) that limits production and markets.
Since July 2014 Aawaaj has been working in very remote Village Development Committees Thirpu and Ramnakot of Kalikot district, and will continue for next 3 years. Kalikot itself falls in a very remote region geographically most of which area has been untouched by the development indicators like road, electricity, drinking water, communication facilities and other basic service. The project has been focused to enable to access basic health and education facilities and strengthen locally available natural resources like forests, water, wind, and land. The project has been implemented in an integrated approach of basic education, health, and agriculture, so that the fundamental rights of women and children can be ensured especially on improve quality of service on health, education and agriculture through awareness, empowering couple and community awareness.
- According to the reporting data from health post/ birthing centre, we found that 40% of increment in Antenatal regular checkup and among them 34 % women went in birthing center for delivery and attended for postnatal checkup as well.
- Every couple has established small kitchen garden, give attention in personal hygiene, mange dish wash place, garbage management and sanitation.
- In recent days, birthing center is establish well management and also trying to give 24 hours service after our regular meeting, discussion with staffs, management committee and technical support, now they are managing mothers to keep at least 4/5 hours after delivery.
- Couple and community people have submitted 15 proposals in VDC council that was for fruit plants purchase, health camp, awareness on early marriage / menstruation and birthing center management. They motivate own neighbor for kitchen gardening, sending children at school and regular heath checkup of pregnant women and lactating mother.
- After training and meeting with School and health post management committee, they are doing regular meeting, trying to get more scholarship schemes for students and make rules/ policies like these; teachers and health post staffs are not allowed to take leave without permission from MC or at least need to inform. In case if they do not follow the rule, the authorized post will be bound to disagree to accept their leave and also deduct from the salary equivalent to the number of leave taken days.
- Couples’ have been slowly developing their sharing and talking habit with community people and also they are introducing as the community couple in their own area (ward).
Couple Nain Bahadur Bam,Aula inhabitant of Ward no 6 Thirpu VDC, actively raised the corruption issues related to School Management Committee (SMC) and Head master which was happening since long period. With the help of couple Bam, community came to know that they were wrong and the couple got the support from community and DEO to change SMC and Headmaster. Now he has succeeded of being the president of School Management Committee. According to him, before selected as couple; he did not know what was going on and was never concerned regarding those aspects. As he was selected as couple, he started to give concern and was aware of what is wrong and what’s right and in return he found that was wrong. As the chairperson of school he is regular and also encouraging students and parents to attend regular. This is one of the great achievements of couple’s empowerment.
Saroti Acharya is another female couple of Ramnakot ward no 3. She shared, “before the selection as couple, I had a fear of talking directly with community men as well as own father and bother’s in- law. I always used to feel shy and used to think on how to talk with them. After joining this empowerment program as couple, I had built the power and strength to talk with men and women. Now I definitely find some changes myself and can change my community too.
- If couples are taking ownership of program then It would be easy to work in community.
- Unless couples do not build up their self-confidence they are not ready to take responsibility of community work. So we feel that it is necessary to develop their self-confidence by doing regular interaction, meeting and monitoring their working activities in community.
- Once couple establish in community as facilitator it is easier to work them in community.
- If community people are also aware on the role of couple, community itself can watch whether they are doing work properly or not, so that couple will be function actively and honestly.
- Once couples are empowered it is easier to empower others.
Objectives of program:
- Women and marginalized people able to represent in meaningful decision making process in community development activities and services.
- Groups and network form/ reform/ strength
- Promote quality of health and education services
- Promote linkage and coordination of community people with line agency
Expected results for next 3 years
- Develop the food habit to use vegetable in daily life and promote kitchen gardening on each household
- Increase representation of women in the decision making bodies of local governments, local structure like user groups and VDC council with meaning full participation
- Local governments disburse VDC target grant for the women’s rights/IGA
- Women / girls and youth network are united and actively function to protect and promoting their right
- Sensitize community to reduce women work load and effect of early marriage and chaupadi
- Changing KAP of community people toward women and girls
- Women , girls, youth and boys network actively function in community
- Increase the enrollment of girls in lower and secondary school and also attend final exam 5, 8 , and 11
- SMC committee actively functioning to make teachers and student attendance regular and create girl friendly environment
- Internalize and demo code of conduct by teachers, student and school management committee
- Increase the health checkup ratio of women, Dalit and people in health post.
- Women come out to share their uterus as well as STI problem and visit health post for check up
- Improve the quality of service in health and local governance system
- positive change on behavior and attitude toward meaningful women participation in different structure and as well as with services takers .