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परियोजनाको आधारभूत जानकारी


Nepal is still far behind in the race of Gender, with higher prevalence of gender inequality for marginalized indigenous women like Musahar women. These women are triply oppressed: firstly, by so-called high caste people; secondly by design of Hindu patriarchal system and thirdly by Dalit males who undermine their leadership competency. The main problem addressed by the project is inadequate participation of Musahar women in local governance procedures. The project will be implemented in two rural municipalities (Basbariya and Chandranagar) and two town municipalities (Haripur and Barhathwa) of Sarlahi district, situated in Province 2 of the country.

The expected outcomes of the project are:

· Outcome 1: Enhanced capacity and networking of marginalized Musahar women to increase their participation in local governance and planning;

· Outcome 2: Increased responsiveness of local government authorities and male counterparts;

· Outcome 3: Increased effectiveness and collaboration of civil society actors, media and policy makers.

In order to achieve these expected outcomes, there will be interventions built around capacity building including creation of 30 Musahar Women Mobile Trainers and networking of 1,500 Musahar women in the form of Women Musahar Empowerment Forum (WoMEF) along with their active engagement in joint campaigns, policy discussions and social accountability endeavors. The Local Government Authorities and Service Providers will be sensitized (100 elected leaders and 240 service providers) and participatory social accountability tools like Citizens Report Card and Public Hearing will be adopted. There will also be synergized efforts of CSOs, media and government agencies organizing knowledge sharing events, campaigns, radio programmes. There will be sensitization events targeted for 100 CSOs and media leaders for enabling them to promote collective efforts. The media programmes will reach nearly 35,000 population of the district and beyond.

There will be adoption of human rights-based approaches focusing more on the following three operational approaches; Empowerment: Musahar women leadership and networking; Mutual accountability approach: Local government authorities’ sensitization on gender responsive local governance; Multi-stakeholder partnership approach: Joint efforts of Civil society, media and Local Government.

In terms of the project’s path to impact, it is envisioned that in order to promote gender responsive local government there should be efforts for strengthening leadership capacity of Indigenous Musahar women; improving accountability of local government authorities and enhancing collaboration of Civil Society, Media and Government stakeholders.


2.1 Democratic Challenges

Nepal lies in 115th rank in Gender Equality Index that indicates prevalence of gender inequality in the country. The deeply rooted patriarchal social norms define gender roles and undermine their political opportunities. The literacy rate of women is also still low as it is 57% against 75% for men.[1] Besides, their access to financial opportunities is very low.

The 2015 Constitution has provisioned for 40% of the seats for women candidates mainly targeting local government. The Asia Foundation Report, 2017 revealed that there are nearly 14,000 women elected from the three phases of the local election. However, there is not even a single Musahar woman who is visibly present in national politics. There are 6 Musahar women present in municipal level politics with 2 in Haripur and 4 in Chandranagar. In the overall district, there is only one Mushar woman present in a local management committee (school management committee) but still not in a governance body. It indicates huge marginalization and exclusion of these women in decision making. Local government units that still lack clarity on gender responsive local governance model should be considered as fertile ground to enhance participation of Musahar women in governance processes. None of the targeted municipalities practice gender responsive budgeting procedures. SAP-Nepal had previously worked on economic upliftment of Musahar communities but not much on their political empowerment enabling them to claim their rights in local governance processes.

2.2 Problem Analysis

Musahar literally means “rat eater”; it reveals heights of deprivation and starvation to survive on rodents and considers most disadvantaged groups as “untouchables”. They dwell in plain Terai lands and have low educational level, even lowest as compared to other Dalits. Most of these communities are landless and reside in vulnerable riverbanks, confined within their own vicious circles of poverty. The major issues of Musahar are inadequate access to citizenship certificate, child marriage, absolute poverty, poor health and low education. These women cannot even speak Nepali language that further limits their access to capacity building and influencing opportunities. Thus, , the main problem addressed by the project is inadequate participation of Musahar women in local governance procedures even in the new federal context in the country.

According to National Census 2011, the population of Musahar is 234,490 i.e., 0.8% of total country population. Sarlahi, one of the underdeveloped Terai districts, constitute 14,137 Musahar out of which 48% is women. These women are triply oppressed: firstly by so-called high caste people; secondly by design of Hindu patriarchal system and thirdly by Dalit males who undermine their leadership competency. Updated information from municipalities indicates the following population of Musahar : Barhathwa – 618, Haripur – 2798, Basbariya – 480, Chandranagar – 4950. These women are inadequately represented in local governance as evidenced by only 6 Musahar women elected in municipal governance and only one Musahar woman in one school management committee.

Adamant to live the life as their forefathers dwelt is one of the main reasons of their poor life. It indicates a need of gender transformative norms for changing lives of women and sensitize on children education as school drop-out rates of Musahar girls is estimated that 52% of these girls represent total population of out of school population. [2]. There is no association of Musahar women, which clearly indicates poor networking and lack of consolidated leadership. Efforts of local government are far from adequacy to address the issues of Musahar women so there should be increased efforts of civil society and media for promoting gender responsive local governance.


3.1 Project Objective

The project aims to empower Musahar women and enhance their representation in local decision-making procedures for promoting gender-responsive local governance in two rural municipalities and two town municipalities of Sarlahi based in province 2 of Nepal.

3.2 Key Approach

In order to achieve these objectives and outcomes, human rights-based approaches will be adopted focusing on the following three operational approaches:

Empowerment approach: Musahar women will be capacitated adopting empowerment framework consisting of three components namely (i) individual capacity- strengthened leadership and networking of Musahar women; (ii) systems and institutions – influence local governance mechanisms as well as community behavior on gender and caste based discrimination; (iii) structure and policies targeting local government on gender responsive policy reforms and non-discriminatory and gender friendly social norms and practices.

Mutual accountability approach: Local government authorities will be sensitized on gender responsive local governance and their role in promoting engagement of Musahar women in local decision-making processes including local planning and budgeting. Besides, social norms sessions will contribute in strengthening gender responsive positive social norms in households and community.

Multi-stakeholder partnership approach: Civil society and media will collaborate in organizing campaigns on raising issues of inadequate representation of Musahar women in local governance as well as helping associations and networks of Musahar women in amplifying their voices.

Communication plan of the project will be supported by following initiatives:

· Knowledge sharing and policy influencing events organized based on learning and evidences to support gender responsive policy and accountability reforms,

· Social media mobilization for raising issues and sharing information mostly targeting youth, and

· Learning documentation and wider dissemination for diffusion/ replication of positive outcomes.

3.3 Geographic Scope

The project will be implemented in 2 rural municipalities (Basbariya and Chandranagar) and 2 town municipalities (Haripur and Barhathwa) of Sarlahi district. The district is situated in Province 2 with altogether eight districts. In Sarlahi district, there are altogether 19 municipalities and these four municipalities are selected based on higher population of these indigenous communities and closed clusters. The balance of rural and town municipalities is maintained considering future advocacy and replication.

3.4 Beneficiaries

The project is targeted for brining changes on the lives of Musahar communities, therefore, it is targeted to reach nearly 1,500 Musahar Women including 30 Musahar Women Trainers. In the 150 households (these families will be selected based on well performing participants of 450 Musahar women receiving training at village levels), there will be dedicated sessions on harmful and discriminatory social norms, it is anticipated to reach more than 200 Musahar men including husband, father (father-in-law) and brother (brother-in-law). There will also be dedicated interventions targeting 100 local elected authorities and 240 service providers working in these municipalities. In the knowledge sharing and policy influencing interventions more than 100 CSO and media stakeholders will be actively engaged. In the program, there will be different campaign interventions led by CSOs and media including some coordinated by Musahar Women Empowerment Forum (WoMEF) that will engage nearly 2,000 local communities. Social and media campaigns will reach more than 35,000 local communities who will receive information on gender responsive local governance (5% of district population), but the media broadcast outreach will be beyond the district.

[1] Census of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics, 2011

[2] Nepal Education Sector Analysis, National Institute for Research and Training, 2017

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