RESIST: Empowering Forest Communities to Combat Gender-based Violence

How women in Nepal are overcoming gender-based violence through forest community groups.

The Issue

In the Kailali District of Nepal, women and marginalised groups, who are engaged in the protection, management, and utilisation of community forests face significant risks of gender-based violence (GBV). Despite their critical role in environmental conservation and management, these women are often subjected to various forms of violence, including physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. The intersectionality of gender discrimination and environmental vulnerabilities further exacerbates their plight. Traditional gender norms and power dynamics within communities perpetuate the cycle of violence, hindering their ability to access justice and support services. As a result, there is an urgent need for targeted interventions to address GBV within the context of community forestry.

The Project

The project focuses on empowering Women Environmental Human Rights Defenders (WEHRD’s) in Nepal’s Kailali District to combat GBV within the intricate dynamics of community forestry. Through strategic collaboration with local partners, RESIST endeavors to create a safer and more inclusive environment for WEHRD’s. Operating in Bhajani Municipality and Kailari Rural Municipality, the RESIST project enhances the capacity and accountability of 50 Community Forest User Groups (CFUG’s) while advocating for systemic change at local and federal levels. By fostering partnerships with traditional leaders, local authorities, and security forces, RESIST catalyzes transformative change and ensures the safety and rights of WEHRDs, ultimately contributing to the resilience of forest communities against GBV.

A community forest member, shares her story and hardships, highlighting how the women’s group formed by DCA and DWRF supported her in overcoming her situation.

The Change

RESIST implements a multifaceted approach to GBV within community forestry, focusing on capacity-building, stakeholder collaboration, and policy advocacy. By empowering WEHRD’s and CFUG’s through targeted training and workshops, the project enhances their ability to prevent and respond to GBV incidents. Additionally, RESIST fosters partnerships with local authorities and traditional leaders to create a supportive environment for WEHRD’s, while advocating for policy reforms to integrate GBV prevention measures into community forestry policies and practices. Through these efforts, RESIST drives transformative change, promoting safer and more inclusive forest governance in Nepal’s Kailali District.

The Results

The project enhances the capacity of WEHRD’s and CFUG’s in Nepal’s Kailali District to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. Through strategic collaboration with local stakeholders and advocacy for policy reforms, the project aims to create safer forest communities and promote the rights and safety of WEHRD’s. These efforts are expected to foster a more inclusive and empowered environment where WEHRD’s and CFUG’s can actively contribute to sustainable forest governance and management while effectively combating GBV. By strengthening the resilience of communities and advocating for systemic change, the project seeks to address the underlying factors contributing to GBV within the context of community forestry, ultimately leading to lasting positive impacts on the lives of WEHRD’s and marginalised groups.


National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF): Established in 2000, NIWF is dedicated to empowering indigenous women in Nepal through indigenous knowledge practices and policy advocacy. With a robust network comprising of 48 Indigenous Women’s Organisations, seven Provincial Coordination Councils, and 66 District Coordination Councils, NIWF has a strong grassroots presence.

Dalit Women Right Forum (DWRF): Founded in 2007, DWRF focuses on reducing GBV and caste-based discrimination while promoting economic empowerment and political inclusion of marginalised women, Dalits, and Tharus in Kailali. DWRF’s extensive experience in addressing GBV, women’s rights, democracy, and governance makes it a key partner for the RESIST project.

Thematic Relevance

This project falls under the theme: Fight Extreme Inequality. At DCA, our mission is to strengthen and capacitate institutions, communities, local government, and civil society organisations/community-based organisation for risk-informed preparedness. We support our partner organisations in enhancing their skills in humanitarian assistance for rapid response, ensuring that they are equipped to effectively address crises as they arise. Additionally, we prioritise the development of women and youth leadership, empowering them to take active roles in disaster risk reduction and climate change initiatives. Through our efforts, we aim to foster a better understanding of risk transfer mechanisms and ensure that vulnerable communities are protected through social protection schemes. Working closely with local governments and stakeholders, we advocate for and enable a risk-informed decision approach, promoting resilient and sustainable development.

About this project

Title: RESIST: Women Enviromental Human Rights Defenders in Nepal Resisting Gender-Based Violence

Period: 2024-2026

Partners: NIWF and DWRF

Amount: 375,000 USD

Outreach: Approximately 375 Women Environmental Human Rights Defenders (WEHRDs) and members of 50 Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs)

Donor: IUCN

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