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Annual Review of Integrated Development Programme of Women Cooperatives to Reduce Gender Based Violence in Nepal

By: DFID, UNICEF

The UK has been supporting Women’s Empowerment and the Promotion of Rights through a Para Legal Committee (PLC) program from March 2010 until August 2013.  Paralegal Committees (PLCs) were initially established in 1999 and have become an important feature in villages and communities, across Nepal, to help prevent and respond to violence against women and children and other associated rights violations.

The program has four components:

  1. Awareness raising/legal empowerment: ensuring that women and children know and understand their rights;
  2. Early detection and protection of cases/problem solving: this work identifies individuals at immediate risk of violence, and supports interventions to protect them.
  3. Referrals: identifying and supporting cases that require referrals for informal or formal services, such as legal aid providers, the formal legal system and social services.
  4. Monitoring, reporting and follow-up: keeping records of violent incidents and providing follow-up support to the survivors.

In July 2012, the Government of Nepal (GoN), recognizing the contribution of the PLCs in combating violence against women and children, requested UNICEF and DFID to integrate the PLC Program into the regular Women’s Development Program (WDP) of the Government.

Altogether, there are 1026 PLCs in 59 districts which will gradually become Gender Based Violence Watch Groups – the preferred format of the WDP.  During the initial transition, 156 PLCs will be converted into GBV Watch groups. This will involve a change in focus of their work, including a greater emphasis on women’s empowerment and a change from provision of mediation services (for which specific skills are now mandatory) towards facilitating resolution of disagreements and local community problem solving and awareness-raising.  The transition process will be led by the Department of Women and Children under a new project named ‘Integrated Development Program of Women’s Cooperatives to Reduce Gender Based Violence’.

The overall goal of the project is that women and children, especially those from excluded groups, are better protected from violence and abuse; have improved access to justice and social services when they do experience violations; and feel more empowered to assert their rights.