Under the mentorship program, we encourage our mentee organizations to come up with any training that would be useful to them. During the meeting, we realized different mentee organizations needed training on different topics. As per the discussion with Executive Director and Grant Making Manager, different training programs were provided to mentee organizations with a motive to strengthen their capacity. Training programs were conducted in five different districts (Gorkha, Dakshinkali, Makwanpur, Ramechhap, and Sichupalchowk) which were led by mentee organizations. There were 80 women participants of 10 mentee organizations. Similarly, the “COVID Awareness Program” was conducted in 3 wards of Makwanpur.
Different types of training were provided in each district as per the need. In Gorkha, report writing and proposal writing training were provided. In Sindhupalchowk, training on “Legal Awareness, Leadership Development, and Organizational Improvement” was provided in coordination with “Janjaati Mahila Uthan Kendra”. In Ramechhap, training was provided on “Accounting and Administration Management”.
Similarly, Makar Ganesh Mahila Krishi Sahakaari Sanstha took a lead to provide training on “Legal Awareness and Gender Equality” in Sidhupalchowk. This specific training benefitted 25 women from the community. The training helped the participants boost their confidence, raise awareness, and uplift self-esteem. After the training, some of the women in Sindhupalchowk felt the need to raise their voice against family members and husbands for injustice and different forms of violence; physical, mental, and psychological, they were facing. They didn’t realize the fact that what they were facing was wrong. They wanted to even go through legal procedures if needed. The training had helped women to raise their voices. They have received pro bono legal service to get property from their partner. This training helped them realize that they shouldn't be facing violence from a partner or their family. Training which is conducted after identifying the needs/demands of the participants and mobilizing local resource person becomes more effective, supportive, and productive.
An organization in Makwanpur District, Mahila Uthhan Tatha Sip Bikash Kendra is one of our mentee organizations. Mentorship program in this organization started in early 2019. There was a need to strengthen this organization due to many obstacles it was facing. We found that the organization needed strengthening in official documents related to renewal of the organization, no timely meetings or AGM conducted, and the communities almost forgot the existence of it.
With all these problems, mentorship program was aimed to provide a push to this organization. The mentor and Tewa helped in every way possible to support this organization. When the mentorship program was started in this organization, the mentor started with having constant meeting with the members of mentee organization. Together, they also reviewed the vision, mission and objective of the organization which gave clarity to their overarching goals. The process also included reflection on positive and negative aspect of the organization which helped the organization to plan their activities likewise. Members were encouraged to participate in their own programs and engage in their community activities.
After few years of implementing this program, we saw some drastic change and growth in that organization. The organization focused on planning, and implementation of different programs as required in the community. The organizations structure was revised and everyone started to have meetings and discussion frequently. This strengthened the internal communication of the organization. The local level government and communities have started to acknowledge the work of our mentee organization and in collaboration with local government, the organization is organizing different programs. The organization has also started to get funds from other international organizations and also started to think of being self-reliant by saving up certain sum. This organization focused on empowering women through different livelihood programs to strengthen their financial situation.
These small initiatives from an organization has proven to be of very important. If any organization is willing to do better, they just need a little push and support. Tewa has always been there to support the initiatives and address the need of community level women's organization.
Inclusive Forum Nepal (IFN) is a non-governmental organization established on 26 March 2000 by members of the gender and sexual minority group. Along with conducting various programs for the human rights and interests of gender and sexual minorities, Inclusive Forum Nepal aims to establish in the society the members of the community who have faced discrimination prevalent in society, domestic violence, oppression and shaming inflicted by their own families, as well as those spurned by the society, and enable them to live independently and as equal citizens. Inclusive Forum Nepal has been conducting programs for members of this community that focus on their sexual and reproductive health, development of life-skills and support of their independence, while also collaborating and cooperating with organizations with the game goals.
During the nation-wide lockdown which started from 24th March 2020, many people had different problems. Daily wage workers have had trouble in income generation, which made it hard for their availability of food to eat. But for Trans* people with minimum working salary have had trouble finding hormonal medicines. IFN realized that Transgender men facing serious psychological and mental distress due to inaccessibility to hormonal therapy. All of them showed irritation, agitation including some of them showing suicidal tendency. Therefore, IFN with the support of Tewa's discretionary grant provided hormones to the total of 22 transgender men over the period of the lockdown. This restored their mental and psychological health.
With the increase in COVID-19 positive cases, the government had initiated a lockdown in the entire country in March 2020. The phase of lockdown has been on and off since then. This has impacted the lives of people in an unpredictable way. Adapting to the new normal, Tewa has also changed its strategies from physical to virtual platforms for program continuation. The mentorship program likewise has continued its discussions virtually with the mentors and provided the tips to use virtual platforms. Tewa had also organized the bi-monthly meet-ups with the mentors where the program officer taught the mentors about the use of a zoom app. This space is also used to share skills and ideas among one another.
Our partners and we have been working in person which is why shifting it to the virtual one has been a bit of a challenge. But we are keeping up with everything and trying our best to adjust to this new normal. We frequently provide orientations to our mentors and mentees to use virtual platforms. This has its own positive aspect as well. The knowledge and skills of our mentors and mentees in using these apps have strengthened and enhanced. Also, they are starting to become familiar in technical arenas. Our mentors have come up with new ideas to give continuity to this program through a virtual medium. For our mentees, especially, this is a huge success. Living in the very remote areas and being able to learn more and expose oneself in the virtual space is an achievement for us too.
The starting months of the year 2020 proved to be a crisis not only to one country but the entire world. The horrid impact of Corona Virus spread across the world and the terror hit Nepal in March soon after it got out of control in India. The nature of the virus confused everyone and left people in Nepal including Tewa unable to continue normalcy of activities as planned within the organization.
We had started grantee mapping of selected grantees from all over Nepal. Through phone calls, we asked them their current situation because of Corona and what kind of support they might need from Tewa. Through the grantee mapping, we realized that Covid-19 has affected the daily lives of our grantee partners both their personal and professional lives. Among our three mentee organizations; two from Ramechhap and one from Makwanpur, the common need was immediate relief support for minority groups.
Right when the Covid-19 took its toll in Nepal and the nationwide lockdown started, it affected the lives of people. The daily wage earners were the hard-hit because of earning deprivation. Tewa had started immediate relief distribution and raising awareness about Covid-19 through flex and hoarding boards, radio jingles, and pamphlets through our grantee partners in distinct parts of Nepal. We supported three of our mentee organizations with immediate relief support such as rice, lentil, and oil, salt, and nonperishable vegetable. The targeted beneficiaries through these grant support are people from the marginalized communities and those affected by the flood. A total of 77 households was benefitted from this grant support. The beneficiaries were laborers whose earning depends on daily income and works on a brick kiln.
We couldn’t continue our Mentorship Program because of ongoing lockdown but we are trying our best to connect with our mentors and mentee organizations through virtual platforms. Every now and then, we organize a meeting and get an update on their personal status. Our Program officer helps them out on giving them suggestions to take care of themselves and their mental health. It is prime time that we take care of ourselves and stay positive during this ongoing chaos. The regular virtual meetings have supported our mentees and mentors to get connected with each other and relieve their stress. Tewa has been trying to support people in need at a time through any potential support it can provide.
Relief distribution at Ramechhap by Tewa's partner
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