BUILDING LEADERSHIP FOR WOMEN, PEACE, SECURITY & EQUITY
Nagarik Aawaz is implementing the Building Leadership for Women, Peace, Security, and Equity program (BLW) with the financial support of Zivik/ifa. The first phase of the program was from March 2020 to December 2020. The program’s second phase runs from February 2021 to December 2022. BLW is being implemented in 4 districts: Dang, Rolpa, Bardiya, and Kailali. The program is implemented by Nepal Women Community Service Center (NWCSC) in the districts of Dang and Rolpa. Similarly, Tharu Women Upliftment Center (TWUC) implements the program in Bardiya and Kailali districts.
The program aims to the social and cultural establishment of women who faced sexual violence, and torture, and those whose husbands disappeared during the ten-year-long armed conflict in Nepal. It does this by shifting the norms and values of violence and gender inequality through the regular engagement of key stakeholders like local government structures, community groups (men, women and youth) and traditional leaders. The project creates long-lasting change that will contribute to building the leadership of women. This allows these women to advocate for their peace, security and equity by challenging the normative framework of violence hampering their social, cultural and psychological empowerment.
The most distinctive selling point of the project is our strategy to apply a survivor-to-survivor approach. 40 Women Peace Facilitators from conflict-affected backgrounds will be key actors in reaching out to another 235 women, who are the central actors of this program. Together they will further their collective agenda of peace and security by engaging with other key and central actors.
Nepal Women Community Service Center, Dang
Tharu Women Upliftment Center, Bardiya
CHANGEMAKERS FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE
Change Makers for Sustainable Peace (CMSP) is a follow-up program of Change Makers for Peace and Reconciliation (CMPR). The program is financially supported by Bread for the World, Germany. From January 2020 until December 2022, a two-year program is being implemented in the Ikhudole, Ghusel, and Devichaur Municipalities of Lalitpur and the Madhyabindu Municipality at Nawalpur (wards 5 and 15). 25 Peace Volunteers and 5 Peace Ambassadors are involved in this program. Each project area is allocated with one Peace Ambassadors and five Peace Volunteers. Peace Ambassadors are mentors to their respective Peace Volunteers.
This program aims to establish sustainable peace infrastructures and institutions that are accepted by communities in order to overcome the growing insecurity and weak institutions. A minimum of 70% of the planned peace initiatives will be led by youth peace volunteers (80% will be female). This program has had many successful outcomes, one of which is that our youth are some of the most influential people in their communities. They are approached by different community-level groups and by the ward office for programs in the communities.
This program directly works with the stakeholders like elected representatives, teachers, health workers, women groups, cooperative representatives, and more. Through this program, youth have received training in GESI (gender and social inclusion), conflict violence, women’s empowerment, mental health, volunteering, writing minutes/reports, and other topics.
WOMEN LIVING WITH DIGNITY
Women Living with Dignity was a one-year program that began in January 2021. It was financially supported by Focus Women Foundation, Switzerland. Following the completion of the first phase of the program, a new contract was signed for a one-year extension of the program in 2022. Due to the present political and socioeconomic situation, we decided to continue the program in 2022 aiming to achieve the existing goals of 2021. The program is currently being implemented in Lalitpur and Nawalpur. In 2022, the program will mobilize 30 women peace facilitators and 20 second-generation conflict survivors. This project was developed as an outcome of Dr Susan Risal’s PhD thesis (CEO of Nagarik Aawaz).
The objective of the program is to provide women with a safe space, medical assistance, psychosocial care, and socioeconomic support, allowing them to gain self-confidence and hope for a better future. The program promotes general well-being and the re-establishment of victims’ lost identities, prevents re-victimization of survivors, and supports the second generation of conflict-affected women and women who faced violence.
Furthermore, this program aims to support women affected by violence and armed conflict to live a dignified life ensuring their psychological, physical, and economic well-being. It also promotes their leadership in communities to advocate the agenda of peace and security.
Strenghtening Acsess to Justice
Strengthening Access to Justice is a two-year program that Nagarik Aawaz is implementing from October 2021 to September 2023. The program is being implemented in ten districts across Nepal in partnership with the Conflict-Affected Women National Network (CVWN). CVWN is a new conflict-affected women’s network. The board members are all conflict affected women who have been fighting for the rights of the conflict-affected community for more than 20 years.
Even 16 years after signing the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA), the voices of conflict-affected women remain unheard, and structural issues remain the same. Women who have been directly affected by conflict are still suffering from multi-layered trauma and await peace dividends.
This program aims to address the long-term injustice and grievances of women affected by prevailing structural violence through a gender lens. Nagarik Aawaz will help establish peace infrastructure (both human and physical) at the local and national levels to deal with transitional justice and reparation issues and to ensure that previous violence in Nepal does not reoccur. Nagarik Aawaz hopes to improve the leadership skills of conflict-affected women and their networks through this program. Not only to make them leaders in their advocacy but also to make them peace leaders with strong knowledge of conflict transformation, peacebuilding, and transitional justice issues.
Furthermore, through this partnership, NA and CVWN hope to strengthen the movement for peace and justice throughout Nepal’s seven provinces, working in ten districts. The program also aims to document, memorialize and share stories of women’s role in armed conflict through oral histories, evidence collection, and visual documentaries.
Conflict Victim Women’s Network, Kathmandu
local capacities for peace
With the financial support of Misereor, Germany, Nagarik Aawaz has been implementing the Local Capacities for Peace (LCP) program since April 2017. The first phase was implemented in Siraha and Kanchanpur districts from April 2017 to March 2019. Nawalpur district was added, along with the previous two districts, during the second phase from April 2019 to March 2022. The program has been extended for its third phase for another three years, from April 2022 to March 2025, in the same working area.
The program is currently being implemented in three districts of Nepal, with three partner organizations: Mukti Nepal in Siraha, Conflict Victim Single Women Development Center in Kanchanpur, and Nagarik Aawaz itself in Nawalpur. One of the program’s significant accomplishments is the recognition of partner organizations in the community as peacebuilding organizations. Our youth are recognized by the community and are recruited at various levels of local government. The program has successfully established and maintained peace at the level of young people/women and community members, furthering our mission of social justice, conflict transformation, and overall peacebuilding.
The third phase of the program involves 34 youths, 28 of whom are Peace Volunteers and 6 are Peace Ambassadors. One of the program’s objectives is to develop the leadership of all youth as community peace facilitators. Furthermore, the program aims to carry out various peacebuilding initiatives in the community to increase community harmony. The project successfully incentivized and encouraged young people to take community leadership roles.
Conflict Victim and Single Women Development Center, Kanchanpur
Mukti Nepal, Siraha
Women Leaders in Action
Since 2018, Nagarik Aawaz has been implementing the “Women Leaders in Action” (WLA) program with financial support from the Foundation for Just Society, USA, to further the process of women’s movement building. After three successful years of intervention, the next phase is a two-year program from January 2021 to December 2022. The goal is to support the justice-seeking mechanisms of 50 women peace activists, promoting their recognition as community peace leaders in their society, and creating a space for them in local decision-making structures.
Besides that, this program allows women to share their knowledge and expand their networks with other conflict-affected communities through various peace initiatives. The peace initiatives have created vibrance in the leadership of these conflict-affected women.
Several levels of intervention have been achieved through this program, including initiatives focused on mental stability, contextual knowledge (civil rights, restorative justice), and non-cognitive skills. This resulted in constructive mobilization and engagement with other stakeholders. One major highlight of the program is that it has been successful in dispelling myths surrounding leadership capabilities, such as the myth that leaders are born and not made.
The program provides psychosocial counselling to those in need., Because of our psychosocial care training, there has been increased self-awareness which helps to remove the stigma associated with mental health. Participants in this program also receive training on topics such as conflict, violence, gender, peacebuilding, and more.
Deepening Women’s Peace Table in Nepal
Since 2018, with financial assistance from Peace Women Across the Globe (PWAG), Switzerland, the Deepening Women Peace Table (DWPT) program has been implemented at Nagarik Aawaz. Deepening Women Peace Table is one of Nagarik Aawaz’s strategic programs for realizing our vision of a just and peaceful Nepal. The program is now running in its third phase from July 2021 to December 2023. The Deepening Women Peace Table (DWPT) program has been implemented in all seven provinces of Nepal. Among the participants who attended Provincial DWPT the selected from each province conducted local-level women peace tables in their respective communities.
Through this program, we have been able to sensitize institutions to sustain peace, helped them understand the concept of dignity, and amplified the voices of conflict-affected women. One of the program’s goals is to create a safe space for conflict-affected women to share their experiences and explore their collective strength. This program has made significant changes in communities by providing safe spaces for conflict-affected women to express themselves and by promoting the concept of everyday peace for women.
The program advocates for transitional justice issues. The program’s significance is growing as space for women is more under threat than ever and the opportunity to sensitize the local structures is a prime need. DWPTs are creating such opportunities for conflict-affected women to practice their leadership.