'Little progress made against Chhaupadi'Although 21 VDCs and nine wards of three municipalities in Achham have been declared Chhaupadi-free zones, many women are still forced to observe the inhumane tradition where they to live in sheds during menstruation or after childbirth.
Although 21 VDCs and nine wards of three municipalities in Achham have been declared Chhaupadi-free zones, many women are still forced to observe the inhumane tradition where they to live in sheds during menstruation or after childbirth.
Local women say it was a hasty decision on the part of the government agencies and NGOs to declare Chhaupadi-free zones when it is evident that they are still far from achieving their goal.
"It looks good on papers but the reality is entirely different. Chhaupadi is still widespread," says Uma Saud, a health worker at Siudi VDC.
While a plan is afoot at the district headquarters to declare Siudi and two other villages free from Chhaupadi, Saud and other women believes that the concerned organisations have not done proper homework to gain the desired outcome.
"All the campaigning against Chhaupadi have done very little to change the minds of villagers," says Karina Rawal, of Chaphamandu VDC-5.
When 21-year old Dambara Upadhaya of Timilsena village died in a shed while observing Chhaupadi on November 19, the incident drew the attention of the government. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal called Chief District Officer Kushal Raj Sharma and directed him to put an end to Chhaupadi.
Bhagwati Aryal, official at the District Women and Children Office, says their effort to end Chhaupadi in the district has been limited to campaigns because the government has not been allocating sufficient and regular budget to do more.
"The programmes that we had prepared to combat Chhaupadi could not be carried out because of budget constraint," says Aryal.