Having arrived at the end of my second week in the office at the Women’s Reproductive Rights Program, I must say it has been an interesting two weeks. I would like to highlight Tuesday, May 24, which began with a conference, that myself and two other WRRP staff members attended.
The conference was titled “National Workshop on Comprehensive Health Policy from Women’s Perspective”. During the open panel discussion, many of the women spoke and shared their stories regarding health policy. It was inspiring to see the women in their traditional dress sharing their stories with the group, even though I could understand very little of what they were saying in Nepalese. Both of my fellow WRRP staff members also had their say in the group.
There were approximately 30 women in attendance, and three men, one a government official. After the discussion was concluded, lunch was served, and there was talk of going to a protest. When asked if I would like to participate, I replied, “YES! WHEN? AHILE?” (Nepali for RIGHT NOW?). This was followed by laughter over my enthusiasm.
At around one o’clock, a group of about 20 women, myself included, began making our way towards where the protest was to be held. Seeing as there was a citywide banda, or strike (to read more about bandas, see here). It has certainly been interesting learning about the current political situation in Nepal since I arrived. I actually plan on drawing a diagram of the different parties, to help gain a better understanding of the structure of the Nepalese governement, because it is still unclear (Perhaps you can figure it out? Good luck).
There have been more strikes than usual within the last few months, due to disagreements between political parties, and the delay in writing the constitution, which has not been completed as planned since the civil war ended in 2006. (To know more about the political situation in Nepal, read here or here).
Thus, we made our way to the rally by foot in the 30-degree heat. We received many stares, onlookers appeared to be wondering, ‘Where is this group of women heading to all together? Why aren’t they at home, cooking?”
Alas, we had other plans. (See video).
Despite all the rallies and protests in the last few weeks, the constitution assembly was unable to reach a conclusion by the midnight of May 28th. A third extension (there has already been two one-year extensions) was given, and there is still debate over how long this extension will be. Therefore, it is an unsure thing as to when the peace process will be complete.
On the bright side, today, Sunita (WRRP program assistant) and I are heading west to the district of Surkhet to gain some experience in the field. The plan is to assist the WRRP team in Surkhet to conduct a school program on reproductive health. It will be a long 16-hour bus ride, but well worth it I am sure. 🙂 More to come…
Posted By Chelsea Ament
Posted May 30th, 2011