February 2016, Kathmandu
1 in 3 women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That’s more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS (UNWOMEN). Every February through March 8th, thousands of Risings take place in hundreds of countries across the world and within local communities – to show the world what one billion looks like and shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors of various forms of violence face. People around the world, rise through dance to express rage against injustices; and the power of global solidarity and collective action. They dance to express joy and community and celebrate the fact that together, violence can be defeated. They rise to show a determination to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is un-thinkable. – One Billion Rising.
One Billion Rising campaign has been globally celebrated every year since 2012. Since, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal is on its 60th year and is taking steps towards new programmatic and implementation approaches with Gender Equality and Social Inclusion and advocacy as one of its major theme; on 12th February, 2016, in the premises of Program Management Unit, a program was held in the presence of 43 HELVETAS staff and 14 youth activists from the slum community, Pathivara Youth Club, coordinated by Nepal Mahila Ekata Samaj, an organization working with slum community women. The campaign will continue and lead to a major event in March 8th, 2016, International Women’s Day, in collaboration and solidarity with various other women’s groups, networks and women’s rights organizations.
The program started with a brief introduction of the global campaign, followed by two videos, on various kinds of violence being suffered by women and the rising that took place around the world, all ages, sexual-identities and genders together. A speech by the Deputy Country Director, Ms. Mona Sherpa, on importance of campaigns like OBR in line to the new Country Strategy Paper 2016-2020, informed and encouraged the audience to show commitment towards ending violence against women.
After that, a poem was recited by Team Leader of Community Practice in Schools for Learning Climate Change Adaptation Project, Ms. Usha Aryal Dahal, published in a Nepali e-newspaper, Setopati, written by Sulochana Dahal, expressed the emotions of a woman who is chained by various cultural taboos, values and restrictions and wants to break that chain of unjust structure. Then, a case story was shared by Sr. Program Officer, Ms. Srijana Shrestha, of a man expressing his commitment and role in ending discrimination and violence against women.
The patriarchal socialization process existing in our culture restricts women to live freely and the program proved to be an opportunity to commit to challenge them which was witnessed through the expression of individual commitments by the participants. The participants continued with showing their commitment and rising through their dance to the theme song of One Billion Rising campaign – Break the Chain.
Following this event, the Deputy Country Director, Ms. Mona Sherpa, a feminist activist herself, was interviewed in the national television of Nepal (Video Link
) , on One Billion Rising and the importance of global women’s rights movements and campaigns in Nepal and globally.
The Rising, that is; being a part of global campaign to show solidarity for gender equality, is just a start for HELVETAS Nepal. Campaigning being one of the methodologies that can be used for awareness raising and policy advocacy, HELVETAS Nepal plans to take it forward with commitment towards attaining gender equality in all its interventions.