Saathi Nepal: Voices for Justice - Survivors Link Their Personal Stories to Public Policy for Ending Violence Against Women in Nepal
Violence continues to exact a devastating toll on the lives of many Nepalese women and girls. After years of concerted advocacy by women’s and civil society groups in Nepal, the national government enacted legislation in 2009 that is designed to protect the rights of Nepali women impacted by domestic violence. Saathi Nepal, a non-governmental organization working at all levels of Nepali society to eliminate violence and injustice against women and provide support to victims/survivors, was instrumental in the passage of this law.
Legislation is an important step towards justice for women, and yet, absent effective public education strategies and concerted efforts to push for government accountability in enforcement, legislative approaches make little real difference in the lives of those affected by violence. With this in mind, Silence Speaks began a partnership with Saathi in 2010, to link women’s personal experiences with violence and abuse to community awareness and policy advocacy in support of responsible implementation of the new domestic violence law and other laws related to gender-based violence. We traveled to Nepal in 2011 and conducted a four-day workshop with survivors of violence. With the help of skilled interpreters/ translators, women residents of Saathi’s shelter shared and recorded stories, drew illustrations, and assisted us with storyboarding their pieces. Due to technology and resource limitations, we edited the stories off site.
At the end of the workshop, we guided the storytellers and Saathi staff through a planning discussion that surfaced appropriate venues for sharing the stories. We also drafted a set of Story Sharing Guidelines for staff to use in connection with story distribution. Saathi is showing the finalized videos coordinating the broadcast of radio versions of the stories in local settings in areas of the country where Saathi works, to mobilize support for the effective enforcement of laws that address domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence, educate Nepalese women and men about these laws, and advocate for additional needed policy remedies. Read more about the project.