Beyond Beijing Committee (BBC) is a human rights feminist network that aims to improve marginalized women’s health in three districts of Nepal. BBC achieves this by holding community health services accountable to their responsibilities to women, and by empowering women to voice their needs.
In the last 6 months, BBC has witnessed a powerful mobilization of voices from women in Nepal in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in April and May 2015, which killed more than 9,000 and injured upwards of 23,000. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that 2 million of those affected were women of reproductive age, including over 125,000 pregnant women. BBC responded to the disaster by holding emergency meetings, and dividing into three teams: advocacy, relief, and education, to ensure that the sexual and reproductive health needs of women were met.
On 01 May, BBC advocacy team submitted a ‘letter of attention’ to the Ministry of Home Affairs, National
Human Rights Commission, National Women’s Commission, Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare, UN Women, and various political parties, advocating for the inclusion of materials relating to women’s reproductive and sexual health (SRH) in post- disaster relief packages. Their letter was met with a positive reaction, and sanitary napkins were added to disaster recovery kits.
Another lobbying success from efforts by BBC for women to be included in disaster management committees. Five women from the Laltipur district have been appointed to committees, ensuring that women’s voices and needs are included in disaster management.
Another major achievement of BBC was the Minister and Council Minister to include Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Nepal. BBC contributed to a stakeholder report highlighting the prevalence of issues such as uterine prolapse, obstetric fistula, and lack of access to a safe abortion. Through their efforts, SRHR has been included in the second draft of the Nepal UPR report.
Throughout May, BBC members and board members hand delivered 1,089 menstrual hygiene and sanitation, baby, and postpartum kits.
BBC created a menstrual hygiene management guide, neonatal care guide, and postpartum mother’s guide that was distributed to individuals, families, and organizations helping in the disaster. BBC also organized a camp for kids, and provided psycho- social counselling classes to help release trauma experienced from the earthquake.
The Women’s Health and Rights Advocacy Partnership (WHRAP) -South Asia aims to promote marginalized women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. WHRAP combines grassroots evidence with national and international advocacy to promote the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of women. http://www.whrap.org