Nepal: Sahi Ho! Advocacy campaign for women’s empowerment and gender equality

EAI launched the Sahi Ho! campaign to raise awareness, increase political will, and encourage more resources to support women's leadership roles and economic empowerment in Nepal

A Project of
Nepal

Background

Women make up just over half of the population in Nepal. As such, they should be a major and positive force in the country’s overall development.

However, lack of employment opportunities and limited access to economic resources means women’s ability to participate in and contribute to economic and leadership activities in the country is severely restricted. In addition, deeply rooted social biases, structural barriers, gender-based discrimination, and violence from families, communities and the markets hinder women from participating in the economic and leadership roles.

Therefore, in response to a recognized need to raise public awareness, increase political will, and encourage more resources to support women’s leadership roles and economic empowerment in Nepal, EAI launched the “Sahi Ho!” campaign in partnership with UN Women.

Starting from the Ground up

To achieve campaign objectives, we focused on advocacy, policy, and community engagement at both the national and local levels.

Local level campaign activities took place in Sunsari, Sindhuli, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Kavre, Sindhupalchowk, Makawanpur, Dhading, Nawaparasi, Banke, and Kailali districts of Nepal. We used community engagement, social media campaigns, and traditional media to raise awareness and promote positive gender attitudes and norms. Popular Nepali singers, actors, and comedians joined the campaign, and traveled to selected districts to take part in Melas (community fairs) while promoting campaign messages.

Supporting campaign activities in the districts, popular Nepali youth radio program Saathi Sanga Manka Kura (SSMK) radio hosts visited schools across the country to inspire the next generation of women and men by play writing and performance workshops highlighting and raising awareness about the social norms that currently prevent girls from achieving their potential.

National level activities created the momentum for the campaign while building support from the public and policy makers.  Public hearings and policy dialogues engaged government and relevant stakeholders, identified gaps, and advocated for positive policy changes.

These campaign activities provided a platform for the general public to put forward their issues and concerns to the legislators and government officials and used collective action from the local level to affect change at the national level.

Overall, the Sahi Ho! campaign created a groundswell of positive encouragement where both men and women who step out of their assigned gender roles or expected behaviors are congratulated and encouraged, rather than sanctioned or abused. The campaign aimed to have contributed to a safe, positive environment for women to exercise their leadership skills, access employment opportunities, and engage in local decision-making processes.

Key Achievements
  • Approximately 112 million individuals were reached through the campaign activities and mass media outreach and 11,629 people were directly engaged and mobilized through the community-based activities.
  • 3743 (235F) government representatives, policy makers, and other stakeholders interacted at the national level, on existing gaps and challenges in creating more enabling environment for women’s economic empowerment and leadership.
  • Three policy analysis papers and two briefing papers were produced providing a foundation to continue ongoing policy advocacy for all stakeholders including policy makers.
  • A social media campaign was also launched in parallel reinforcing the key campaign messages reaching over 3 million people, through which 68,000 people engaged directly.
  • Commitments made by more than 20 local government representatives to create enabling environment for economic empowerment of women during the community-based mobilization and awareness raising events in the campaign targeted districts.
  • Local government representatives from three campaign districts (Sindhupalchowk, Sarlahi and Sindhuli) followed through on their commitments by allocating local government’s budgets for building infrastructures that are female friendly and separate hygienic toilets within local schools. NRs 24.3 million local budgets of campaign targeted municipalities have also been allocated for economic empowerment activities, with provisions for capacity building opportunities for women, promoting entrepreneurship.
  • The campaign activities were successful in getting significant media attention with a total of 100 coverages in national and district-based media channels within a year, which includes 5 national televisions, 14 radio stations, 10 national dailies, 20 district-based newspapers and 33 online portals.