United Nations Population Fund launches Phase II of Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response ProjectThe project seeks to reduce gender-based violence and discrimination against women and girls in Sudurpaschim Province and Province 1.
The United Nations Population Fund in coordination with the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens launched the second phase of Gender-based Violence (GBV) Prevention and Response Project on Monday.
The project, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC and the Norwegian Embassy in Kathmandu, seeks to reduce gender-based violence and discrimination against women and girls in Sudurpaschim Province and Province 1 by providing essential services that support their safety, health and access to justice.
“The project will empower communities to challenge beliefs and practices that encourage GBV, and support local and provincial governments in the project-supported locations and the federal government to promote policy reforms that will improve women's empowerment,” UNFPA said in a statement.
The project aims to reach almost 300,000 beneficiaries over the next four years.
Yam Kumari Khatiwada, secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens, noted that the phase II of the project comes at a critical period in Nepal when the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened gender inequalities and gender-based violence.
“We are pleased that the project builds on the successful experiences of Phase I, which demonstrated the importance of strong coordination among all actors on the ground, as well as how effective response interventions can be made sustainable,” said Khatiwada.
Lubna Baqi, UNFPA country representative in Nepal, said that ending gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Gender-based Violence is a genuine crisis in Nepal and globally. It undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence,” said Baqi. “Phase I gave us a lot of hope and encouragement that change is possible with sustained support.”
Silvana Hogg , chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of Switzerland, said that discriminatory practices that value men and boys and normalise violence against women and girls were the reason for violence against women and girls.
“Promoting gender equality and non-discrimination is one of Switzerland’s key priorities,” said Hogg, “Therefore we are keen to support this project which will work with men, women, boys and girls to address such negative social beliefs and unjust practices.”
Lasse Bjørn Johannessen, Norwegian ambassador to Nepal, said while Nepal has made efforts to ensure gender equality and end gender-based discrimination and violence through policy and legislative measures, more still needs to be done to put the provisions of these legal instruments into reality.
“Violence against women can never be accepted, never excused, never tolerated,” said Johannessen. “Advancing women's rights and gender equality is an important priority for the Government of Norway.”