Amplifying the voices of women leaders in conservation and climate change
The campaign focused on raising voices from the local level to the national, on best practices and challenges faced by women active in natural resource management through their inspiring stories via song and poetry. The program held auditions in the two landscapes where Hariyo Ban works – in six districts of Chitwan Annapurna Landscape (Kaski, Tanahu, Lamjung, Gorkha, Palpa and Mustang) and nine districts of Terai Arc Landscape (Dhading, Makawanpur, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Dang, Banke, Bardia, Kailali and Kanchanpur). Winners from these districts participated in landscape-level semi-finals held in Pokhara (24th February 2013) and Chitwan (27th February 2013). From each landscape two finalists were chosen to participate in Kathmandu on 8th March 2013. The Hariyo Ban Program also recognized two woman and man change agents who have worked to promote women's leadership in conservation and climate change.
Ms. Ritu Lama from Hetauda, Makawanpur won the song category and Mr. Basanta Subedi from Hemja, Kaski won the poetry category at national level. Besides winning prizes, the finalists will have their songs and poems recorded, and the winners will have their creations aired on national radio and FM stations in several working districts of the Hariyo Ban Program, as part of generating awareness on women’s roles in conservation and climate change. In addition, Ms. Durga Gole form Makwanpur and Mr. Ek Bahadur Budhathoki Magar from Gorkha were recognized for their exceptional work in promoting women's engagement in conservation and increasing women's participation in decision making as change agents respectively by the Hariyo Ban Program. In addition to this Ms. Nanda Kunwar from Kailali was given special recognition to honor her bravery, leadership and high level of commitment in conservation and climate change. Similarly, Ms. Churim Sherpa, the first woman to ascend Mount Everest twice in the same season, was felicitated for her bravery by Conservation Program Director of WWF Nepal, Dr. Ghana S Gurung, and Miss Nepal 2012 and WWF's Young Conservation Ambassador, Ms. Shristi Shrestha.
Chief Guest Ms. Anuradha Koirala, CNN hero 2010 and Chairperson of Maiti Nepal said, “Being women, we are at the frontline of climate change, both as the sufferers and also as the ones creating alternative strategies and solutions. Climate change has a big gender dimension and hence it is important that women’s voices and interests are heard and amplified through meaningful representation." She added, "Women are also honest conservers, true leaders and sustainable change makers, and celebration at events such as this one for International Women's Day organized by the Hariyo Ban Program will provide further momentum to promote women’s leadership roles in conservation and climate change."
Nepal's poorest and most disadvantaged people including women depend heavily on forest resources for their livelihoods. Inequitable distribution of rights, resources and power, and repressive cultural rules and norms constrain them from fully engaging in and benefitting from natural resource management and climate adaptation. Out of Nepal's 75 districts, only 14 have women chairpersons in their Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs). These 14 chairpersons were also felicitated at the event by FECOFUN Chairperson Ms. Apsara Chapagain and CNN Hero 2010 Ms. Anuradha Koirala for their untiring contribution towards conservation.
"Increasing opportunities for women to raise their voices and take on decision-making roles is a special focus of USAID programs, including Hariyo Ban", said special guest at the event, Ms. Sheila Lutjens, Deputy Mission Director, USAID/Nepal. "Particularly for sustainable natural resource management efforts in vulnerable ecosystems, women’s stewardship role is essential and so is addressing social, economic, health, cultural and financial barriers that inhibit women from managing their resources sustainably."
Building on the work of Hariyo Ban Program in Nepal Ms. Judy Oglethorpe, Chief of Party remarked, "The Hariyo Ban Program has gender and social inclusion (GESI) as a key cross-cutting approach, helping empower both women and men to challenge and change deeply rooted inequalities and improve the policy environment. Further, because many young men have migrated overseas for work women are going to become much more responsible for sustainable forest management in the future, emphasizing the importance of promoting women’s leadership in conservation. However, with the rise of active participation of women in natural resource management, the risk of gender based violence, both physical and psychological, has also increased. And compared to gender based violence in other sectors, violence in natural resource management is rarely highlighted or talked about in our media. The campaign has provided both men and women a platform to build awareness on this issue at national level."
For further information:
Communications Officer, Hariyo Ban Program
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