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Kamala Thapa, 39, an indigenous Magar woman, is Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Manager at the Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Research and Development, a non-governmental organization in Kathmandu, Nepal.
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UN Women Nepal, with support from Government of Finland, Fondation Chanel, and UK Aid, has been collaborating with the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens of Nepal, local governments, World Food Programme, United Nations Development Programme, and civil society organizations to provide women with multi-purpose cash assistance, access to food, energy, essential supplies, as well as access to information and essential services, such as psycho-social counselling, legal counselling, financial services, and digital services, providing holistic support to participants.
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More than 41 per cent of women lost their jobs during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nepal. Responding to their practical needs, UN Women with support from the Government of Finland has been ensuring their access to food and nutrition through women-managed community kitchens across Nepal. Pushpa Sunar is one of the 123 people employed in the community kitchens, which is providing an income to the women working there and helping to alleviate the care burden among other women, as well as build trust and cohesion in the communities.
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Women in Ecuador have stayed in the páramo, an ecosystem in the Andes, despite the threats that desertification, overgrazing and other human activities pose to their sustenance. With funding from the Municipality of Madrid, UN Women is working with the Azuay provincial government to improve the resilience of communities in Azuay province through a comprehensive intervention that includes women-led sustainable agricultural production. The project is also dismantling gender stereotypes and empowering women to contribute to decision-making processes in their communities.
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Laxmi Badi, a Dalit woman leader from Nepal is at the forefront of the struggle for equal rights, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In South Asia, persons from Dalit community are at the bottom of the archaic “caste system” – a social stratification, whereby individuals face multiple generations of discrimination and segregation based on their descent.
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Women’s land rights are key to their economic independence and better decision-making power within families. In many parts of the world, research shows that lack of land rights makes women more vulnerable to gender-based violence. Dhana*, 38, is among the 218 gender-based violence survivors who have received life-saving assistance from the ‘Provision of Emergency Legal Assistance to Survivors of Gender-Based Violence in the COVID-19 Context’ project run by Forum for Women, Law and Development in Nepal.
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As COVID-19 confinement measures started in Colombia, the country saw a rise in cases of violence against women, including those reported through hotline numbers. There was a 107 per cent increase in calls for help this year, between 25 March and 30 July, in comparison to the same period in 2019. Eighty-nine per cent of those calls were rerouted to hotlines dedicated to serve victims and survivors of violence against women.
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Across the globe, many migrants have been waiting to reunite with their families in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions to prevent its spread.
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Lieutenant Dr. Arya Khadka is a Nepali peacekeeper serving as a medical officer with the United Nations Mission (MINUSCA) in Bambari, Central African Republic, where prevention efforts are being implemented to deter the COVID-19 outbreak. In a recent Instagram interview with UN Peacekeeping leading up to the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, Lt. Dr. Khadka shared some of the challenges as well as what motivates her. This story has been written based on her interview.
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Dr. Runa Jha is the Chief Pathologist and Director at the National Public Health Laboratory in Nepal, which is linked with 277 government laboratories across the country and is the only lab authorized to conduct COVID-19 testing. Jha, along with 67 team members, is playing a crucial role in the front-line response to COVID-19.
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Subina Shrestha is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker from Nepal. Subina has steered major news coverage, often as the only international broadcast journalist on the scene; and told stories of people whose lives have been affected by natural and human-made disasters - from undercover reporting in Myanmar during cyclone Nargis, to investigating child slavery, and to covering Nepal’s earthquake and its aftermath.
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Kaushilla Nepali advocates for the legal rights of Dalit women in Nepal, in particular enabling their access to justice, and regarding critical issues such as citizenship, domestic violence, and sexual violence. Committed to ending the entrenched discrimination against Dalit community on the basis of caste, Nepali started her journey with her own empowerment.
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After returning to Nepal from working abroad in Dubai, Hira Kumari Sewa took part in UN Women’s Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme and learned to drive an e-rickshaw in order to support herself and her family.
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UN Women’s Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment (AWEE) Programme works in Kavrepalanchokand five other districts of Nepal to support over 2,000 marginalized women including those affected by conflict, survivors of human trafficking, migrants who have returned home, home-based workers and women living with HIV and AIDS.
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Ensuring that women know their rights as migrant workers, including what should be in their employment contracts, is a crucial step in protecting them from abuse and exploitation – especially since some are not aware that their rights are being violated.
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Bhagwati Bhattarai-Baral is the Team Captain of Nepal’s National Women’s Blind Cricket Team. The team recently won the First International Women’s Blind Cricket Series held in Pakistan in February 2019. Bhattarai-Baral and her teammates have overcome many challenges to prove that women with disabilities can be competitive professional athletes.
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Durga Sob is a Nepalese activist who founded the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO) in 1994, just ahead of the adoption of the visionary Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. She is among the 500 activists meeting in Tunisia from 24-26 April for the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration, nearly 25 years on.
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Padma Chaudhary, a 38-year-old mother of two, leaves early in the morning from her home in the village of Phulwari to her e-rickshaw stall almost 20 km away, in Dhangadhi bazaar. Decked in a smart, long red coat that matches her bright red chariot on wheels, she marvels at how much her life has changed in the months since she acquired the vehicle, which has allowed her to work independently.
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In the historical town of Banepa, 35-year-old Sulochana Timalsina runs a little shop, half of which is a grocery store and the other half a beauty parlour. The two units share a single space with different purposes for her clients, but one single purpose for this young entrepreneur – empowerment.
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Beena Pallical is the Executive Director at the Asia Dalit Rights Forum and the current Manager of a programme seeking to strengthen Dalit Women’s Economic Rights across South Asia. The Dalit community in this region is still considered the lowest of the historical castes and suffers widespread discrimination, despite recent legislation and initiatives. Within the community, the specific problem of women’s economic empowerment has received little attention, but is now the focus of a two-year programme funded by UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality.