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 findings.
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) 7 , respondent 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 also increased. 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.