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Head of EU Delegation to Nepal Visits Women in Far West Nepal

Ambassador Veronica Cody, Head of the European Union Delegation to Nepal, visited the Project REAL site in Kailali and Banke districts, Nepal, last week. She visited the site together with Mr. Pepijn Trapman, ICCO’s Regional Manager for South and Central Asia, and the project team. REAL – Right to Earn A Living – is an EU funded project that promotes economic and social rights of the most marginalized groups in the far and mid-western Nepal. 

Head of EU Delegation to Nepal Visits Women in Far West Nepal

Ethnicity a major cause of discrimination in Nepal

Nepal’s deep-rooted caste system and ethnicity still remains a major cause of discrimination, posing a challenge for economic empowerment and social change for marginalised groups. Communities such as Badis, Kamlari, Kumal, Tharu, Maganta, Kushbandia and Chidimar are among the most vulnerable groups living in precarious conditions because of their socio economic status. These communities, especially women, are at a lower strata in terms of wealth, education, health, nutrition and overall well-being indicators.

Jointly envisioned by ICCO and local partners Youths in Empowerment Sector Nepal (YN) and Sahakarmi Samaj (SS), Project REAL closely engages with these marginalised communities to stimulate community-led development initiatives. This enables them to uplift their livelihoods and claim their socio-economic rights in a socially just environment.

Engagement with right-holders and duty-bearers

The visiting team interacted with women’s groups in Tharu Kumal, Badi, Kushbandia communities to learn how their continuous engagement with right-holders and duty bearers (state authorities) is contributing to their economic empowerment. The project is currently working with Community Based Organizations, cooperatives and local government representatives to reach the targeted community groups.

Ambassador Cody talks to Saugat Gatam, ICCO’s Program Coordinator in Nepal.

Photo: Ambassador Cody talks to Saugat Gatam, ICCO’s Program Coordinator in Nepal

Women diversity their income

The visiting team also talked to women who have now diversified their income with activities such as poultry, off-season vegetable farming, tailoring, mobile shop repairing, small retail shops and goat rearing. As a result of the group organization and tailor made livelihood opportunities, the women have become empowered to collectively advocate for their rights. What’s more, they also have increased their household income and they now claim their share from the budgets in the local governments and work for the betterment of the community.

“REAL is supporting Kushbandia communities on small but very strategic means of livelihood alternatives as they are improving their means of living,” said H.E. Cody after visiting the communities.

Ambassador Cody and ICCO’s Regional Manager Pepijn Trapman watch traditional ceremony.
Photo: Ambassador Cody and ICCO’s Regional Manager Pepijn Trapman watch traditional ceremony.

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