Bimala Tamang speaks up - Credit: Bed Prasad Dhakal/Oxfam

"Just because we don't have certificates you cannot ignore us"

“It is because of us common people that your cities and houses look good. Take your government building Singha Durbar: hundreds like us work extremely hard for its upkeep. Still, this is how we are treated. There is no support for people like us; since the earthquake we have been living in temporary shelters for over a year. Just because we do not have certificates or identity cards you cannot ignore us.”  - Bimala Tamang

One thing that I like about Nepalese community members we at Oxfam work with is their fearlessness and honesty. In a room full of people she was not familiar with, Bimala Tamang, a community leader representing the women’s organisation Mahila Ekta Samaj, recently challenged high level government officials with frankness and courage.   

Bimala Tamang was speaking at a national forum organised by Oxfam and partners to dialogue on the report “Building Back Right: Ensuring Equality in Land Rights and Reconstruction in Nepal”. The event was attended by a wide range of stakeholders including members of parliament, community leaders and National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) representatives. The key note speaker was the former Vice Chairperson of National Planning Commission, Yubaraj Khatiwada. Issues of women and marginalized highlighted in the report were highly appreciated by the participants. 

The dialogue was lively with very strong participation from the affected community members. Everyone felt that issue of land was pertinent and needed to be taken seriously in the reconstruction. Senior government members acknowledged that the report would serve as a useful reference for government and NRA whilst they are undertaking reconstruction of the districts affected by the earthquake. 

Oxfam and partners have been engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that the most marginalised and vulnerable group are included in the reconstruction process. Oxfam plans to have local level policy forums in the districts it has been working since the earthquake. Here the issues of the affected communities can be heard by policy makers and positive measures proposed to address them.

Oxfam in Nepal together with its allies and partners actively influences power holders and key stakeholders by creating a positive policy and development environment, in order to achieve its humanitarian and development goals in Nepal.