Janajatis fanning out to rural areas

Kapilvastu, November 10:

With a view to raising awareness on the rights of women, Dalits and janajatis, organisations working in these fields are these days busy in expanding their reach to rural areas of the Kapilvastu district by forming various community groups.

With the initiative of the District Women Development Office, and supported by various non-governmental organisations, some 1,000 women, dalit or janajati groups have been formed in 77 Village Development Committees of the district so far.

Formation of such groups has further been facilitated with the backing of all major parties, said Laxmi Sunar, the chairperson of the Juneli Women’s Group.

The women’s groups formed in the villages are raising awareness among the villagers on the evil sides of child marriage, dowry system and girl trafficking.

They are also discouraging the use and sale of alcohol, by imposing a ban on such activities if needed.

They are also involved in sanitation programs like construction and proper use of toilets.

INGOs like the Action Aid Nepal have been aiding the formation of such groups. Most of such groups, to name a few Siddhartha Social Development Centre, Kalika Self-Reliant Social Centre and Sarad Society, have launched awareness programmes in the villages, while the others are involved in advocacy.

Of all, 13 per cent marriages in the district are child marriages, literacy rate among the women and dalits is very low and rampant killing of women over dowry are frequently reported in the district, said Rajan Pokhrel, the information and monitoring officer of the District Development Committee. In this backdrop, launching of activities

like child education, girl education, agriculture development, income-generating activities and sanitary activities will certainly contribute to the overall social development in the district, Pokhrel added.

Program coordinator at the District Development Committee Krishna Poudel said that the groups were formed to ascertain the rights of women, dalits and janajatis by making them aware on their rights.

With the focus of development approach shifting to capacity building of local communities, organisations working in the development sector too prefer to work with and promote community-based groups.