Women’s Bank’s political advocacy in Nepal
The country is currently undergoing a constitutional process and social structures are taking shape. Important issues include land reform and fundamental rights. This is a period with great potential to improve women’s position sustainably. Woman’s Bank initiated a political advocacy project, which included a group of advocates traveling to Nepal on their own expense.
The advocates, MPs Jan Vapaavuori, Jani Toivola, Pirkko Mattila and Tuomo Puumala, Finnair Oyj SVP, Communications and Corporate Responsibility Arja Suominen, as well as Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Tarja Kantola met grassroots stakeholders well as parliamentarians and officials. The travelers were comitted to the Women’s Bank project, and believed in its capacity to bring about real change.
Women’s Bank supports women through village banks, small loans and training. Improving the livelihood of women allows them step out of poverty and become active members of society. “We met women who reported that before the project took off they were afraid to speak in public. Now they were talking in front of a large group. Through the project, they gained the courage to talk about problems such as domestic violence and the exploitation of women.”
A more significant improvement in women’s condition, however, requires a change in social structures, which also requires grass-roots work. The journey highlighted the need for projects such as those carried out by Women’s Bank.