Rational behind the cwh

We have completed research aimed at mapping organisations working on women’s empowerment and gender equality (or having an important portfolio of gender initiatives / projects). The research covered the Himalayan region, with emphasis on the countries and regions in which Norlha operates, (Nepal, Bhutan and China/Tibet). The study covered 259 organisations, including NGOs, iNGOs and IOs as well as actors from academia. The Centre’s objectives have been designed to address matters (areas of focus) deriving from the preliminary findings of the study:

Focus on rural women in isolated areas

Increase coordination,
cooperation and
synergies among
development organisations

Increase aware-ness & capacity of organisations to mainstream gender, especially at a local level

Use and build on local practices and local knowledge

Bridge the gap between research and practice for gender equality

The majority of organisations do not focus on women in remote rural areas but are usually working in those that are easily accessible. There is still an unmet need to reach the rural, and most remote and isolated places. Furthermore, the local organisations operating in such areas need to be equipped with knowledge and skills to enhance the quality in their work.

Gender equality and gender friendly society is not a one shot attempt.Different NGOs and INGOs working in different areas such as livelihood, health, security, governance and so forth, but with a strong gender perspective, need to have a greater coordination among themselves. The major benefits of such cooperation and synergies are to reduce unnecessary duplication of work, to learn from each other, to increase the effectiveness of results, and to strengthen credibility and make their voices

There are many organisations in the Himalayas, focusing on gender equality and women’s empowerment at national, regional and local levels. However, this doesn’t necessarily translate into effective women’s empowerment practices. Many organisations seem to lack conceptual clarity related to gender equality and equity, and do not have capacity to mainstream it in their approaches. Therefore, there is a need for increased support on capacity building on gender equality and gender mainstreaming at both conceptual and practical level for better understanding and effectiveness.

To make the changes sustainable in the long term, it is crucial to build on the local knowledge and practices and try to capitalise on them. There are few initiatives taken by few organisations in this regard by incorporating local people’s beliefs and practices into their strategy of effectiveness. However, it needs more research. The local people must stand as an agent for its preservation and promotion.

Evidence based research is of key importance to comprehend the situation and needs in a given context. More importantly, it helps to identify solutions & generates appropriate theory to understand and predict these. On the other hand, the focus of development practitioners is to map a local context and devise appropriate solutions to overcome on-the-spot problems, translating existing findings into practice. This requires experts, a solid theoretical approach, financial resources, as well as stronger cooperation between researchers & development practitioners which should be further encouraged.