Voices from Nepal
In Nepal, AMDA-MINDS has been implementing Maternal and Child Health (MCH) project since 2008 in collaboration with AMDA-Nepal, which is one of the biggest local NGOs in the field of health and medicine as well as sister organization of AMDA group. Currently 13 members of the AMDA-Nepal staff are engaged in the MCH project, and approximately 1,800 mothers of 37 “Mothers’ Groups” take a leading role in community activities in 4 villages.
Objective of MCH project is to promote better maternal and child health through women’s empowerment in rural communities, and now significant changes have occurred among those who used to be a “typical house wife”, being considered incompetent by community people and quiet in public. We are grateful for this opportunity to introduce voices from mothers who were empowered by the MCH project and dedicate themselves to health improvement and community development activities.
(Sunil Kumar Gautam, Program Officer, MCH Project)
Mother Group leader of Sanitation activity, Kamhariya Village
Ms. Sangita Chaudhary (33yrs old)
I have been working as a member of Mother Group since its establishment four years before. At that time, all of us hesitated to talk openly with those who came from outside, and were dominated in any decision making process even inside of family. Health and sanitary conditions were very poor, and small children used to get sick easily.
But now, everything has changed. Many improvements can be found in my community. Mother Group itself is a big change. We are united and happy to have time to talk with each other. A revolving-fund system, which has been established in the MCH project, enables females to be involved in decision making about financial matter in their family. We are well aware of what to do in a pregnancy period and a delivery through health education.
Another big achievement of our community is that we have declared “Open Defecation Free community” as the first of 44 communities in Kamhariya Village. Mother Group has taken initiatives in encouraging community people to construct toilets in each household and in promoting awareness of using toilet.
We are not as we used to be. We are happy and enjoying working together for community.
Mother Group member, Haati Bangai Village
Ms. Newati Kurmi (42yrs old)
I was born in a very poor family, and my parents didn’t send me to school because there were plenty of house works that I had to support. I used to think that there was nothing I could do but accepted this situation since I was born as a girl. Even after getting married, I have just worked as a housewife. I was always in trouble when I went to public facilities as I couldn’t read signs to go. I was cheated in shopping in markets. I felt shame when I had to seal any documents with my thumb instead of writing my signature.
But I am now very happy to get the first opportunity in my life to study writing in the MCH project! 6 months have passed since I’ve joined the literacy class, and now I can read and write Nepalese alphabets. I can write my name and address, and can do simple calculation too!!
I have got not only literacy skills but self-confidence which is the most valuable for me.
Female Community Health Volunteer, Kamhariya Village
Ms. Urmila Chaudhary (49yrs old)
I have been working as a Female Community Health Volunteer (FCHV) for 12 years. My duty is to visit every household and motivate people, especially women and children, to receive primary health care.
In the past many females in community couldn’t get proper treatment for gynecological problems such as vaginal discharges and sexual transmitted infection since they were too ashamed to expose it. They even didn’t have any idea about contraceptives, and that had caused unexpected pregnancy and high risk of abortions. I, as a FCHV, raised my voice against such miserable situations of women; however community people did not listen to me since their way of thinking was totally conservative in male-dominated society.
I have found many positive changes in community people’ awareness and female behavior in the last 3 years since AMDA-MINDS / AMDA-Nepal have launched the MCH project. By joining a Mother Group which was formulated by the MCH project, women can relax and enjoy talking about their personal and sensitive issues with each other, and I’m sure it is precisely an opportunity that they have long awaited for The MCH project has provided women with close and friendly relationship that enables them to support each other beyond the boundaries of family.