HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal celebrates International Women’s Day 2017
HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March 2017. Speaking at the occasion, Country Director Dr. Bharat Pokhrel spoke about his childhood experience of realizing the extent to which the patriarchal mindset was embedded in our society. Dr. Pokhrel shared an instance where he asked his mother is she was the Kali, Saraswati and Laxmi (Hindu goddesses representing power, knowledge and wealth respectively) of the household as he equated her position with acquiring all three virtue in the household.
Deputy Country Director Mona Sherpa stated her interpretation of this year’s theme: Be bold for change. She said women have pursued to be bold for change since they started speaking up for gender equality and women’s rights. It was time now for also men to ‘’be bold for change’’. She distributed copies of the American Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ to HELVETAS staff which was welcomed and appreciated by all staff.
As part of experience sharing, Roni Pradhan, Senior Program Officer at the Safer Migration Project-SaMi, voiced how women returnee migrants are stigmatized and discriminated only because they have chosen a socially unacceptable profession. She recounted how during her work in Kathmandu and field visits, she came across wives left behind who were often blamed for squandering the migrant husband’s hard earned money or having an extra marital affair without evidence. She also recounted her almost seven years in HELVETAS and becoming a mother in this duration. Women friendly policies within the organization made it easier for her to enjoy motherhood as well as continue with her career.
Similarly, Bhanu Pandit, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the Employment Fund spoke about his experience where sometimes he was also required to work on typically female-related problems such as uterine prolapse. He also narrated his personal experience of traveling to Manang as the only male member in a group with six female colleagues. His witty presentation of the circumstances surrounding the trip and comments from friends, family and colleagues for being the only male in the group left the audience rejoicing with laughter, but also leaving them thoughtful by the subtle nuances of gender stereotyping.
Songs and dance followed with the start of all staff singing the national anthem. The welcome song performed by Employment Fund was penned by Kriti Bhuju, Gopal Krishna Dangol, Sumitra Gayak and Bal Mukunda Neupaney from Employment Fund.
A group dance was performed by Gopal Krishna Dangol, Kreeti Bajracharya and Sumitra Gayak from Employment Fund and solo dance by Bishnu Maya Shrestha from Food Nutrition and Security.
Gopal Krishna Dangol from Employment Fund and Usha Pandey from Bio-Energy narrated their poem which were themed on the concept of gender equality and women empowerment.
Srijana Shrestha from the Country Office also took this opportunity to collect inputs from the staff to improve the practices and knowledge on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion at HELVETAS Nepal, its partners and at community level.
While participation from the entire HELVETAS family made the program a huge success, special mention goes to Kanti Singh for coordinating logistics, Usha Dahal for hall decoration and infectious enthusiasm, Bhavna Adhikari for hosting the program with great vivacity.