Tell us about your work with Family Planning Association of Nepal?
Since my school days, I have been passionate about working on social issues and fortunately four years back I got an opportunity to work as a volunteer with Family Planning Association of Nepal. Now, I am the executive board member of my district Palpa, working closely with FPAN staff on implementing community level youth programs.
As a youth member, I have led different mass media campaigns like a drama on safe abortion, activities to sensitize community on menstrual hygiene, and family planning and sexual and reproductive awareness programs. I have been part of VCAT training, comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), FP-SRHR training as youth facilitator and motivator. Recently, I was selected as a Grants management Member at IPPF- Global Youth Connect (GYC) representing South Asia Region. As a member of GYC, I partner and create awareness among young people on mental health issues, women empowerment, and meaningful ways of youth participations. I am humbled to have been awarded ‘Youth of the year 2022’ by Family Planning Association Nepal, Palpa District on the occasion of International Youth Day. This recognition has motivated me further to continue working for reproductive justice in my country and mobilize peers to be champions of SRHR.
What are the challenges working as a young sexual and reproductive rights advocate in your hometown?
It is tough to change social norms and attitudes of people towards SRHR issues. There have been moments when people have questioned my work and stigmatized it. We also counter deep acceptable patriarchy that controls a woman’s right to make decisions about her reproductive health. For instance, despite abortion being legal in the country, women face stigma for choosing to abort. Innovative ways are required to create awareness about condoms, HIV, and comprehensive sex education. While the young generation needs this information, the socio-cultural barriers, attitudes of the adults in the community and family make it difficult for them to freely express their desire for information on their bodies. We are a country with limited resources, and the not-for-profit sector needs more funds for outreach to young people and improve their access to SRHR services.
If you were to advise IPPF, what would you ask us to do better?
If I were to advice IPPF, I would consider these important things:
- Increase Youth Friendly Services in clinics through the MAs
- Increase Meaningful Youth Participation in every field
- There should be provision of including youths in every decision making, policy making and in budgeting
- Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) knowledge dissemination strategy should be upgraded to accommodate the new digital opportunities