The Centre for Women in the Himalayas
“There is growing evidence of the synergies between gender equality, on the one hand, and economic, social and environmental sustainability, on the other.” – UN Women 2014*
Women – a force for change
The Centre for Women in the Himalayas will be a key plank of Norlha’s strategy in the years ahead. Norlha, along with other international organisations including the UN, recognizes that targetting women is the most efficient way to achieving sustainable development; the central task of the Centre is to drive that dynamic. Women are the mainstay of Himalayan rural communities, partly due to male mass outmigration. They make up 70 per cent of participants in Norlha’s projects. This has provided the NGO with valuable knowledge, dating back a decade. It has placed it in a strong position to determine how best to empower women in their rural communities and help them fulfill their potential. The Centre will assist Norlha in achieving one of its guiding principles to better meet the needs of women; it will help them participate in an equal fashion in the social and economic development of their Himalayan communities as a force for sustainable change.
The Centre – a powerhouse for development
The centre will be a learning, teaching and sharing resource feeding on Norlha’s years of experience in the most remote rural Himalayan areas. It will achieve this in four core ways:
- Research and analyse knowledge gleaned from Norlha’s own projects and from information supplied by external organisations who address women’s and gender issues in the Himalayas.
- Share its findings as a regional reference for other development entities – national, regional and international – involved in gender issues.
- Act as a source of information to provide a firm basis for capacity building through workshops and training to help shape future development.
- Translate experience and knowledge into best practice to support the design of future development projects for the maximum benefit to women and the wider community.
The centre will have a bearing on all Norlha’s areas of intervention: agriculture and nutrition, health and hygiene, employment and decision-making, mitigating the impact of natural disasters and climate change, as well as studying the social, cultural and legal obstacles faced by women.
Norlha’s development strategy will continue to target whole communities. Women may be singled out for extra support but principally as a driver for the greater good of the family and greater community – men, girls and boys.
Norlha already works extensively with members of marginalized groups such as people from lower castes and this work will continue.
* The World Survey on the role of women in development 2014: Gender equality and sustainable development