International Women Day widely celebrated in Nepal, India and Bangladesh

Local rallies, dance programs and other public events, press conferences, multi-stakeholder interactions and award distributions were organized on the occasion of the 105th International Women Day by AWO International’s partners SPACE, MAITI Nepal, POURAKHI MSS Seva, MADHYAM Foundation and WARBE Development Foundation.

In Bardiya District the Nepalese partner organization SPACE celebrated together with the Freed Kamaya population (former bonded labors) in the project areas, with government stakeholders, incl. Chief District Officer (CDO), women rights organizations, networks and media. The programs included a rally to sensitize for women rights, songs against domestic violence, an essay competition, women football and the lightening of candles to remember women victims that were physically and mentally tortured, raped and burned alive. A highlight was the celebration of Ms. Sharmila Shrestha, a woman conductor of a public bus, as a living symbol for women empowerment. Mr. Diliram Sigdel, Local Development Officer (LDO) of Bardiya District motivated all present civil society organizations and media to promote gender equality and committed to support the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV).

MAITI Nepal - new partner of AWO International, and pioneer organization in the prevention of Human Trafficking of women and girls and for the socio-economic re-integration of survivors – highlighted the dramatic increase of gender based violence in Nepal; acid attacks, rape of teenage girls, “inter country bride businesses” are just few of many violations found in recent time. The engagement of men in promotion of women rights was pointed out as well. As part of the ceremony a dance program was performed by human trafficking survivors and their children. Ms. Anuradha Koirala, the Founder and Chairperson of the organization stressed the need for a gender friendly and violence free society and for strong legal punishments for perpetrators.  Ms. Maiya Devi Shrestha, one of the oldest social workers and politicians of the country was honored as well as Superintendent of Police (SP) Personnel, Ms Puja Singh, who committed to all kind of needed supports in context of domestic violence and human trafficking.

POURAKHI has organized rallies in different districts of Nepal and broadcasted a special edition of the AWO International supported country wide radio program highlighting the upcoming issue of trafficking of Nepalese women to Korea and China in the name of marriages organized by Nepalese “Marriage Bureaus”.

Chanting the UN slogan envisioning a world where each woman and girl can exercise her rights, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in a society free of violence and discrimination MSS Seva gathered 363 women representatives from supported project structures in Maharajgunj and Kushinagar Districts in the Indian state of Uttar Pradhesh. Awareness rallies were conducted to highlight the issue of “Violence against Women”. In interaction programs the raising number of rape cases was highlighted and a petition was prepared to be submitted to government stakeholders on 9th of March.  

MADHYAM Foundation, who implements two development projects supported by BMZ and AWO International in the Indian state of Odhisa, has organized four awareness programs in the three project districts Malkangiri, Kalahandi and Kandhamal involving nearly 600 members of the supported social structures such as various stakeholders - representatives of local governments and government schemes, advocates and a Child Development Officer.   

WARBE Development Foundation organized a human chain in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, sent out a press statement and organized a consultation event to highlight the need for “The Protection of Rights and Dignity of Women Migrant Workers.” This conference was jointly organised by WARBE Development Foundation, Manusher Jonno Foundation, AWO International, Bangladesh Ovibashi Adhikar Forum and Migrant Forum Asia (MFA) and hosted by the National Press Club, in Dhaka. The recent agreement between the Government of Bangladesh and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for sending up to 10.000 migrant workers from Bangladesh each month and needed women related protection mechanisms centred the discussion. The need for transparency in context of the decided agreement and the involved stakeholders was urged as well as the need for shelter homes to be run by the Bangladesh Embassy supporting Women Migrant Workers who escaped from exploitive situations. Further else the need was highlighted to appoint lawyers to fight migrants cases within Saudi Arabia.   

AWO International promotes gender equality in all development and disaster preparedness projects. In 2015 nine development projects in Nepal, India and Bangladesh also address GBV.

Rally in the Nepali village of Motipur (SPACE)

Members of CBOs in Maharajgunj District rally against GBV (MSS)

Human chain for women migrant rights in Dhaka (WARBE)

Women police personnel honored for the fight against trafficking (MAITI Nepal)

Consultation on Women Migration to Saudi Arabia (WARBE)

Cleaning Campaign in Poragaon (MADHYAM)

Women Football in Dkaliak (SPACE)

Presentation of Gender Equality Posters (MADHYAM)

Enlightening candles for GBV victims (SPACE)