Addressing the protection issue of HRDs focused on women and Dalits in Karnali

Protection, Gender Equality and Reduced Inequalities

© Ayshna Rajbhandary

DanChurchAid Nepal

The Project

Addressing the protection issue of Human Rights Defenders focused on women and Dalits, In KARnali Province of Nepal” – ADHICAR I and II work to empower HRDs, establish institutional mechanisms and create enabling environment for HRDs to function safely in the context of COVID-19.

The project aims to empower and protect HRDs to reduce gender and caste-based violence and discrimination in Western Nepal, and to create a safe democratic space to advocate for human rights. Phase II, replicates some of the well appreciated and effective practices introduced by phase I, that was implemented in Banke (Lumbini Province) and Kailali District (Sudurpaschim Province), into two new Districts in a new Province, the vulnerable Dailekh and Surkhet Districts (Karnali Province).

The Change

ADHICAR Phase I was implemented in Lumbini and Sudurpaschim Province and it capacitated HRD networks at local and provincial levels to claim their rights and take collective actions. Due to their enhanced knowledge, skills, and confidence, the networks were able to push for their agenda to protect and promote HRD as well as those belonging to marginalised communities. They were able to shed light on the importance of protecting and promoting rights of HRDs for just and equitable society, as well as serve as watchdogs over local and provincial governments’ actions and expenditures.

Because of their collective efforts, the local government has agreed to include them in local level policy drafting processes, and the provincial government has committed to draft a Bill on the Protection of HRDs.

Phase II was implemented in Karnali Province and was conceptualised after the province was hard hit by COVID-19 mainly affecting the vulnerable segments of the community, including women, children, and Dalits. The project conducted fight-back trainings focused on women and Dalits and strengthened psychosocial counselling and legal aid. It also enhanced services and institutional mechanism to provide timely and effect support to HRDs at the provincial and local levels.

The Results

Four local and twenty-one district level HRD networks were formed and strengthened to advocate for their rights as well as the rights of people they work for. Similarly, fifty-three local government representatives, thirty-seven provincial government representatives and forty-two Parliamentarians were oriented on International Human Rights Instruments, which helped strengthen lobbying and advocacy for the formulation of HR friendly policy and to rollout law/policies to protect and promote the rights of HRDs. Similarly, it also helped increase the sensitivity and understanding of the targeted groups on the issues of women, Dalits, vulnerable and marginalised community and develop policies/laws accordingly.  Moreover, 1,896 individuals (932 male and 964 female) were directly reached through sensitization programs, referral for free legal aid, access to safe shelter, and financial support through help desks. HRV survivors were provided imperative legal and psychosocial support to boost their morale and encourage them to fight for their rights.


Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC) is a leading Human Rights NGO that works with disadvantaged groups. Its targeted working groups have been the agricultural laborers, underprivileged women, and socially discriminated people including Dalits and children. It works as a watch dog and resource organisation for human rights friendly democratic states through research and documentation, community mobilisation, public education, and awareness, and lobbying and advocacy.

To learn more about INSEC click here.

Our Work

Under the “Fight Extreme Inequality” theme, DCA focuses on the following key areas:

  • access to information, resources, and services by the right-holders
  • building capacity of omen, youth, and HRDs
  • GBV prevention
  • digital literacy
  • strengthened reporting and justice mechanism for HRV.

DCA facilitates linkages between CSOs and issue-based organisations at various levels, so that the local issues are taken up by the national actors and evidence-based advocacy takes place at the national level. As part of this, DCA establishes knowledge sharing mechanisms, including documentation and implementation of joint research initiatives, among partners to build a common knowledge base and take collective action.


Period: ADHICAR: 01/01/2021- 31/12/2021. ADHIKAR II:  15/09/2021- 14/11/2023

Partner: Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC)

Funding: ADHICAR (Phase I):  750,000 DKK (EUR 100,715); ADHIKAR (Phase II): 1,500,000 DKK (EUR 201,430)

Donor: Civil Society in Development (CISU)

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