This post was published in Stop Street Harassment submitted by Hollaback! Kathmandu on December 10, 2014
The main goal of our project is to decrease the occurrence of street harassment in Kathmandu city. In the start of the month of October, we did an interactive program to discuss on issues about street harassment. About 15 people attended the event and we had a diverse group of participants ranging from school level students to even PHD research students. We asked the if they had ever faced street harassment or if they had ever witnessed street harassment among any members in their community. We also briefed them about our upcoming events. We also familiarized them with the website of Hollaback! Kathmandu and showed them ways that they could report their stories on the website if they ever faced street harassment.
The other event that we recently conducted was the Self Defense session at the Girl Power Conference which took place from the October 11 013 for the Third International Day of the Girl Child. Thirteen organizations including Women LEAD Nepal, UNESCSO, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA, Equal Access, Restless Development, VSO, CARE Nepal, CWIN Nepal, PLAN Nepal AMK and Yuwalaya organized the three day conference with a theme of empowering the adolescent girls and ending the cycle of violence.
The Self Defense session ran in two parts that were an hour long. A total of 30 participants in each group were present in one session. More than 62 participants total attended from over 31 districts of Nepal. During the Self Defense session, the participants held an interactive session about street harassment and the things that they should do if they were ever harassed- such as filing an FIR. There was a mixture of both boys and girls adolescents. We explained that they could learn these self defense techniques so as to protect their female members of their community and teach these techniques to their peers when they get back to school.
When asked to the participants what the best activity was of the day, most of the participants said that they really enjoyed doing the self defense sessions since it re-energized them and involved a fun physical exercise. They said that now they really felt empowered themselves and would also share their learning about self defense and ways to deal with street harassment when they would go back to their communities.
Another project on the pipeline for our SSH project is the forum theater for which we have recruited around 10 volunteers who are willing to commit their time for the activity. The volunteers are mostly high school students. We have also decided to collaborate with an expert on forum theater from a theater organization here in Kathmandu who will train our volunteers for the theater project. After the training session is over, we will visit different sectors and perform the forum theater project. We will shortly begin the training and then visit various schools, colleges and universities to do the forum theater and also conduct workshops and sessions on street harassment.
Since the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is going to be held in December, we are also making plans for how we can use that time to effectively bring attention to street harassment.