The 2015 earthquakes in Nepal devastated communities across the country with over 9,000 killed and millions injured and displaced. As with every disaster, the earthquakes on April 25 and May 12, had serious impacts on women. In the makeshift camps in cities and towns, women reported feeling unsafe at night, and have experienced significant psychological impacts as a result of feeling insecure in their environment.
ActionAid Australia, in partnership with ActionAid Nepal, responded to the emergency by supporting 6,000 women in affected communities to access Women Friendly Spaces. Supported by the Australian Government’s Australian NGO Cooperation Scheme, in the post-earthquake context, these spaces continue to play an important role beyond the emergency by providing women a safe place to discuss and address the challenges they’re facing.
Throughout the project, women who attend these spaces are being supported to establish disaster response plans and risk reduction plans so they feel equipped to lead the response to any future disasters in a way that ensures women’s needs are addressed. 20 Women Friendly Spaces have been created to put in place new systems to ensure women can quickly come together and lead the response to future emergencies. ActionAid Nepal staff members are also being trained on how to support women to lead on disaster risk reduction and the protection of their rights during disasters.
Once completed, the program will ensure that women’s rights are central to the community-led response.