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Strengthening Access to Holistic, Gender Responsive and Accountable Justice

SAHAJ

One of the major challenges to gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and reduction is the limited understanding of the harmful effects of social norms and practices. Discriminatory practices like dowry system, chhaupadi (period-based discrimination), child marriage, restriction on mobility for higher education etc. are common practices in Nepal. Another challenge includes a lack of support from men and boys, making it a challenge to access justice and creating a lack of trust in the service delivery and support system. This makes communities more vulnerable and promotes a culture of silence.

Strengthening Access to Holistic, Gender Responsive and Accountable Justice (SAHAJ) is a project funded by UKAID as part of their Integrated Program – Strengthening Security and Justice (IP-SSJ). It aims to tackle the root causes of GBV and improve the capacity of the security and justice system to provide protection and services to the most at-risk women and girls in Nepal, through family-centred, school-centred, and grassroots-based accountability approaches.

The project has designed a strong operational research component to provide lessons and evidence on what works in changing harmful social norms. It will also be used to strengthen the community-police relationship to reinforce mutual accountability between the ‘demand side’ (community people) and the ‘supply side’ (police) of strengthening security and justice, establish an enabling environment that provides access to security and justice services as per the local laws and policies, and generate empirical evidence to inform the gender-responsive and survivor centred local policies and plans.

International Alert’s work will focus on the social accountability approach to help establish collaborative relations between the demand and supply sides of security and justice. This will include:

  1. Security and justice mapping to help understand the current environment.
  2. Periodically monitoring judicial verdicts and its effectiveness in the implementation process.
  3. Community-police score card – a tool developed to understand the existing status of the collaboration between service providers (police) and service seekers (community people), and facilitate the process to strengthen mutual accountability, governance and, trust between the public and police.
  4. Workshop on survivor-centred approach among security and justice actors.
  5. Strengthen referral mechanism between justice service providers. These interventions will underpin the groundwork for collaboration between the community and justice service providers to enhance security and justice at the local level.

We aim to:

  • establish mutual accountability by developing joint indicators with community members and the security and justice actors in line with the local government priorities and the Nepal Police’s Community-Police Partnership program.
  • help local communities join forces with security and justice actors in providing the necessary capacity development support to deliver high quality services.
  • inform the community and security and justice actors about the services that should be made available to the poor and the marginalised as required by the law.
  • initiate the practice of documenting questions raised around the quality of services, plans and commitments to inform the action plans for improvement.
  • investigate harmful social norms, its impact on GBV to understand how to tackle it.

It started in December 2018 and will end in October 2021.