My Rights My Voice
“I have no husband. That is why my brother-in-law has twice tried to rape me. One day at 3 am he came where I was sleeping. I went screaming for help to the participants of the discussion class. Thirty-five of them gathered immediately and surrounded his house. He asked for forgiveness, saying he would not do that sort of thing again. “
Preventing the rape of young woman from Banke is only one of the many important interventions of the ‘My Rights, My Voice’ (MRMV) program. MRMV is a global Oxfam program that engages marginalized children and youth as active citizens and supports them as they claim their rights to health and education services.
In Nepal, Oxfam implements in three Village Development Committees (VDCs) each in the hill district of Dailekh, in Surkhet in the inner Terai and in the Terai district of Banke.
The belief behind the MRMV initiative is that children and youth have a right to free, good quality health and education services. They also have a right to voice their needs, to hold their governments to account, and to be listened to as members of society and rights-holders: as 'active citizens'.
The programme, by bringing youth and young women together in Community Discussion Centres (CDCs), uses the REFLECT method for familiarizing participants with their rights and duties and identifying problems and solutions.
Innovative empowerment methods have been introduced, including Interactive Forum Theatre, Participatory Video Production and participatory Radio Magazine production.
Some of the most significant outcomes:
- Youth and young women get into decision-making roles
- Illiterate women join literacy classes or go back to school
- Women start saving schemes
- Youth learn how to act and how to prepare a theatre show
- Women whose rights are violated get justice
Click here to read the story of struggle by village women under the program to attain their rights and reach positions of leadership, and the progress made through their own efforts.