Her Safety Assessment Report
Her Safety Assessment Report
In July and August 2015, People in Need (PIN) conducted a quantitative and qualitative
assessment of the target Village Development Committees (VDCs) where “Her Safety” is
being implemented. Overall, 6701 women and girls across seven of the ten project VDCs
were surveyed by enumerators between July 18th and August 25th. Survey questions sought
to provide an overview of women’s and girls’ security concerns and their current priorities
after the earthquake. Qualitative focus group discussions (FGDs) and insecurity mapping
activities help explore women’s and girls’ insecurities in depth and supplement survey
As part of the implementation of Her Safety in VDCs, PIN conducted a baseline assessment
to both determine the situation of women within the targeted VDCs and to assess the
appropriateness of the program’s modality. The survey (Appendix A) was initially intended
to be conducted in all ten targeted VDCs (Annex B); however, due to inaccessibility and
safety concerns during the monsoon the survey was conducted in seven of them: Ichok, Kiul,
Fulpinkot, Hagam, Baramchi, Chokati, and Kathali VDCs. Golche, Gumba and Pangtang VDCs
were not assessed though the program is also being implemented there. Enumerators were
given a training on SGBV, the survey, training on Open Data Kit (ODK Collect)
confidentiality, and instructed on what to do in the event that their respondent disclosed
SGBV and requested referral. Some of the enumerators were from the district and could
speak local mother tongues (Tamang) and administered the survey in Nepali or Tamang;
whichever was more comfortable for the respondents. Key terms were translated into
Nepali language commonly used in the communities as opposed to legal or technical terms
and definitions. Enumerators surveyed in private settings women and girls from different
households to the best of their abilities though some overlap may have occurred. A
purposive sampling was used targeting girls, elderly women, and Dalit respondents. Usingsnowball sampling, enumerators assessed women in wards, as long as they were not from
the same households. The enumeration occurred between July 18th and August 25th 2015,
before the initial training of Her Safety began. For the purposes of this report, girls are
considered as aged 18 and below. Questions with no replies were omitted from the analysis.
In total 670 surveys were conducted and used for this report’s analysis.
To complement quantitative data, our team conducted qualitative research: seven focus
group discussions (FGD) in three target VDCs: Baramche, Hagam, Fulpingkot. Three of these
were conducted with adult women, and four with adolescent girls, with a total of 87
participants. We did not have a major number of elderly women in both qualitative and
quantitative approaches. The adolescent girls were students from grades eight to ten of
local secondary schools, and the FGDs with women were facilitated with the help of social
workers and teachers from the communities. In addition to this, PIN’s local implementing
partner, GMSP, also conducted qualitative “insecurity mapping exercises” and FGDs with
women in all ten VDCs as part of the project’s implementation.
Overall 80% of women and girls listed shelter as their largest problem. Focus group
discussions and survey data suggest that women and girls’ prioritization of shelter is
linked to a lack of privacy and feeling more at risk of sexual and gender based
violence (SGBV) in their current temporary shelters. This was evident in the fact that
18% of respondents reported they feel “very unsafe” and an additional 47% reported
that they feel “unsafe” while changing their clothes.
Among respondents, 19% reported that they felt “very unsafe” and 62% reported
that they felt “unsafe” when using the toilets. FGD with women further confirmed
that they felt very unsafe while going to the bathroom because of a perceived
increase risk of SGBV.
Education was listed by 44% of adolescent girls (aged 18 and under) as one of their
top three largest problems but was only listed by 6.35% of women (over 18) as one
of their top three largest problems. Focus group discussions revealed that many
women had not sent their daughters back to school and that some people in the
communities had already made plans or sent their daughters “abroad for work.”
46% of married respondents reported to having been married before the legal age of
marriage (18 years old). While focus group discussions found that arranged child
marriages have decreased in recent years, child marriage through adolescent
elopement (or “love marriage”) has increased and respondents reported multiple
incidents of this after the earthquake.
Of the 153 adolescent girls surveyed who were attending school before the
earthquake, 16 fewer (10% less) were not attending school after the earthquake. During focus group discussions one respondent reported, “instead of sending girls to
school [parents] are sending them for foreign employment.”
In terms of overall, general feelings of security, 18% respondents reported that they
currently felt “very unsafe” and 74% reported that they felt “unsafe” – meaning that
total of 91% of respondents reported some level of insecurity.
In terms of specific areas and times when women reported with feeling “unsafe” or
“very unsafe,” the forest (93%) and at night (95%) were reported to be the places
and times where women felt most unsafe. The third highest instance of insecurity
was during menstruation (71%) and at home (65%).
51% of respondents stated that they had someone to talk to “when they felt unsafe”
in general; 10% of respondents said that this was only sometimes the case and the
remaining 39% said that they did not have someone to talk to when they felt unsafe.
The actual number of women who would share their insecurities and actual
experiences of SGBV with a friend is most likely even lower than this rate. This low
confidence in women’s perceived capacity to report their own experiences highlights
why many women (roughly 40%) “don’t know” whether different types of violence
have increased in their communities since the earthquake and suggests that more
work is needed to build safe, confidential networks of women trained to support
SGBV survivors at the most grassroots level.
While school was identified as “safe” place by a majority (57%) of respondents, 37%
of respondents reported that they felt “unsafe” and 1% said that they felt “very
unsafe” in schools. In eight of ten community insecurity mappings with women’s
committees, schools were identified repeatedly by participants as sites where girls
are at risk of sexual harassment and abuse by teachers.
Many respondents reported that they “did not know” about how common different
types of violence were in their communities. Another substantial portion of
respondents reported that various types of violence were “not common” or “never
occurred.” Focus group discussions and insecurity mappings with women in the
community revealed a desire to keep SGBV cases “inside” the community and
neither discuss nor report them. However, 42% respondents reported that alcohol
abuse was either “common” or “very common” in their community. This was
followed by caste discrimination (30%), gender discrimination (26%), domestic
violence (28%), physical violence (28%), and child marriage (20%).
Some VDCs did report a higher prevalence of violence. In Ichok, a VDC in
Sindupalchok known for high rates of trafficking that has been resultantly targeted
with various protection programs, 8% of people reported trafficking as “very
common” and 20% of respondents as a “common” in the VDC. This was also true for
other forms of violence: 5% of respondents in Ichok also reported that rape was
“common.” Additionally, 19% of Ichok respondents also reported that human
trafficking had increased since the earthquake, 11% reported that rape had increased and 14% reported that the number of children not attending school had
When asked what happens and who is involved when a woman in their VDC is
sexually harassed, 55% of respondents reported that Mothers Groups (Ama Samuha)
are involved, 34% of women respondents reported that the communities resolve the
issue, 31% reported that families resolve the issue, and 23% reported that the issue
is reported to the police.
When asked who in their community helps women if they feel unsafe or experience
violence, 68% of respondents said that Mothers Groups helped women in such
cases; this was followed by community leaders (27%) and police (25%). An additional
13% of women said that they “did not know” who helped women in such cases.
When asked whether respondents would go to their Mothers Group if they
experienced violence or felt unsafe, 63% of respondents said that they would, 16%
said that they maybe would, and 21% said that they would not.