Visit to Nepal

Nina has been on a longer visit to Nepal. Read more about status on WAWCAS data system, International Women’s Day event and a range of other projects and initiatives.

By Nina Schriver, International Program Director.

I have just returned home having once again visited Nepal. Returned from weeks filled with meetings with potential sponsors, meetings with the women and the WAWCAS team, workshop with the women and participation in the International Women’s Day on 8th March through the EU Delegation Nepal. Testing of the WAWCAS data system which will be completely finished very soon. And finally at the end of my visit, the political unrest entailing a blockade on the border to India settled somewhat. Petrol and food are again entering the country which gives renewed hope for WAWCAS’ women to again having access to sufficient amounts of quality goods for their businesses.

Once again I returned home filled with numerous women’s stories, which in many ways look similar – hard work, if anything, is treated badly by spouse and family-in-law and is not well regarded by society. The stories repeat themselves but of course this does not make them less valuable or important.

But fortunately, other stories also repeat themselves: I have a whole new life. After I have joined WAWCAS, I can breathe. Before this, I just felt dead. I have seven children. We often starved, having no food for several days. None of my children have gone to school, they have had to work all the time. But now my youngest is at school and will have a different life. Now my life is easy.

These very stories make it so meaningful to continue working with WAWCAS.The WAWCAS Data System is finally nearly finished. All LPLs are now testing it with a hotline to Sirish, who is making an enormous effort to ensure the system is revised on an ongoing basis and making the programmer understand what is required. Sangeeta, Sirish and I tested the system together, which was a learningfull experience. The new laptops for the team have been purchased and soon data will be entered out in the field without the use of paper. Analyses can be made using a number of data cross references. It will be so good and will greatly improve the validity of the data WAWCAS registers.8 March 2016, International Women’s Day event

The EU Delegation in Nepal had taken initiative to mark the International Women’s Day on 8th March 2016. WAWCAS was invited via the Danish Embassy to participate with presentation of the WAWCAS program at the event. The EU delegation encouraged 12 organisations to come up with their innovative approach to activities focusing on women’s issues and rights, and the results and impacts. We were busy the following days making handouts, text about WAWCAS and pictures for the EU delegation social media. Slideshow with WAWCAS women and children, a banner, and printing photos from WAWCAS women and putting them in a nice frame. Altogether there were 12 projects, each with a stall representing different INGOs’/NGOs’ projects.

In WAWCAS we decided that Sangeeta and Sirish would participate together with Sarika, one of the WAWCAS team leaders together with Nina and Kiran – a young man from Slisha Children’s home. A great opportunity to present together from different perspectives.We arrived at the Radisson Hotel at 7 a.m. to prepare the stall, and we were very satisfied with it. The WAWCAS women case-stories were very popular and many ordered the whole set.

Presentations were given first by a female lawyer at the Supreme Court in Nepal. She gave a very good introduction to the new Constitution, which is expected to be accepted very soon in Nepal, where women’s rights is a big topic. It means that the rights are being addressed now, and it is up to organisations and the individual citizen to unfold the Constitution and the rights given in practise. Very interesting also for WAWCAS.

We went home with a lot of new contacts, some of them potential donors for WAWCAS too, so in the near future we will visit these institutions.WAWCAS is working to boost the sales opportunities the women have and in Lamjung Sangeeta and I met with the owner of the Gateway Hotel. She is ready to buy mushrooms, chickens, eggs and goats from the women. The task of the LPLs is now to systematise the transport and ensure good quality of packaging and goods. This is a first step towards helping the women obtain new customers away from their local area.

Meeting with German Embassy about focus in the application we are going to forward in October as well as discussion about the grant for goat and pig farms which we have just used. Accounts and report were both commended which means we can apply again. Wonderful.

In the weekend, board and funding group member Søren Schriver visited. Friday he worked with the LPLs and Sirish and Krishna in Kopan focusing on further developing the women’s businesses as well as calculating earnings on operation and money flow. Also on how to optimize time spent producing when this takes place in the home. Saturday and Sunday Søren, Sangeeta, Sirish and I worked with producing a timeline and plan for new staff and budgeting for the projects for further development which WAWCAS is about to or in the middle of implementing. E.g. farming feed central, WAWCAS Craft, and training courses for the trainers in business optimization. A very effective and creative weekend. Monday Søren rushed back to India to continue his work there. In March, Asia has been Søren’s and my place of work and a weekend trip to Nepal from India is not any longer than a trip from Aarhus to Copenhagen.

Dorte Just is fantastic at collecting money for different projects in Nepal and luckily for WAWCAS Dorte has decided to support 12 WAWCAS women who lost their houses during the earthquakes. Each woman will now get a bamboo house which can last for 10 years or more and every two families will get a bathroom and toilet.The lucky families will have to supply the manual labour of digging and cutting the bamboo to fit. The first house was started on 24th March to ensure that everyone will be finished before the monsoon season. Thank you to Dorte for greatly supporting WAWCAS women and their families in rehousing.

The WAWCAS workshop with 38 women went very well. Sangeeta and I write about this further on in the newsletter.

Three intense weeks flew by. And I went home filled with intense experiences, lots of new ideas and with a lot of impressions, words and thoughts in my heart, from where the energy to continue the work with WAWCAS is great.