Women's rights in Nepal
Despite progress in recent years, women still face significant inequality in Nepal.
Just 45% of adult women are literate, compared with 72% of men,1 and girls commonly drop out of school due to the burden of household chores.
36% of women and girls have never attended school - twice as many as men and boys.2
Largely rural, Nepal has a tradition of migration for work, but it also has a serious trafficking problem. As many as 15,000 young women are taken every year to work in brothels in India.3
Disasters in Nepal
In Nepal, community volunteers in collaboration with ActionAid have set up a ‘Call the Doctor’ campaign to reach as many young people as possible to talk about coronavirus, dispel its myths and encourage people to connect directly with the doctors for authentic information.
We have distributed relief items, including food, to vulnerable daily wage labourers from 1,902 households within the Kathmandu Valley. We're also working with local partners to distribute PPE, including 56,186 masks.
To raise awareness about the virus and its prevention, we have produced and circulated 12,000 Covid-19 information pamphlets, run broadcasts on local TV and coordinated a schools awareness programme.
But with monsoon season now approaching, the risk to Nepalese people is escalating. In communities surveyed, over half of the available flood evacuation sites do not have handwashing facilities, while 80% lack quarantine facilities.
Nepal earthquakes in 2015
In April and May 2015 two devastating earthquakes struck Nepal, killing 9,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands of survivors homeless.
ActionAid reached at least 150,000 people in the aftermath, with a range of support: from tools to rebuild homes, to business skills training to help people rebuild their livelihoods.
When disasters strike, women and girls are often the hardest-hit, so we put the rights of women and girls at the heart of our approach.
- We established 16 permanent women-friendly spaces to support women and girls and help them rebuild their lives.
- We distributed over 7,000 dignity kits, containing essentials like sanitary pads and underwear, so women could manage their periods safely, and with dignity.
- We established Children's Clubs - safe places for children to play, recover from their trauma, and continue to learn.
Ending harmful period-shaming practices
23-year-old Rajkumari is a police constable in the Doti district in Nepal. She works alongside ActionAid to end the harmful period-shaming practice of chhaupadi.
The practice involves banishing girls to isolated huts while they're menstruating.
Rajkumari works with the local community to teach people about the risks and negative impacts of chhaupadi, over the radio and through school programmes.
With the help of local leaders and policewoman like her, we have seen more than 1,400 women of reproductive age stop practising chhaupadi in the past 10 years. Rajkumari said:
Previously, girls were not allowed to go to school during menstruation. But now, they are going to school.
“Previously there were no facilities offering girls the sanitary pad, but now the school is distributing sanitary pads for girls.”
Supporting healthy, sustainable food production
Agriculture is Nepal’s principal economic activity, but the use of expensive chemical fertilisers was making it difficult for farmers to yield crops sustainably.
ActionAid has established Reflect Circles in rural communities, where farmers learn about organic farming methods, increasing long-term productivity and providing health benefits.
56-year-old Mana Maya, a farmer, said: "I joined the Reflect circle formed by ActionAid and I also got an opportunity to participate in an organic vegetable farming training.
"The training has helped us a lot, because now we don’t have to spend money on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
"I along with 12 other farmers of my village are making good money from the production of organic vegetables.
The increased income has enabled us to live a healthy life and also to save some money each month for our future."
Helping families during disasters
Along with three million others, 32-year-old Rama lost her home in the earthquakes in 2015.
Her daughters were playing with their friend in the courtyard when the quake struck, and rubble trapped them.
Luckily Krishla was pulled free, but she was badly injured and traumatised.
ActionAid helped to provide Krishla with urgent medical care, and supported her family with emergency aid, including food.
Rama told us Krishla has now recovered from her injuries.
Learn more about how we respond in emergencies
I am happy that both my daughters have recovered from the trauma."