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Report on National Seminar on Strategies for Improving the Conditions of Dalit Women of the Terai

Organized by Centre for Economic and Technical Studies (CETS) in cooperation with FES

October 10-11, 2002, Jujeliya Janakpur

>> Programme Schedule >>


1. Background

Inauguration Session

The major Dalit castes in the Terai region of Nepal include Dom, Dusadh, Musahar, Chamar, Tatma, Khatwe and Dhobi. Unfortunately, the Dalits constituting nearly one-fifth of the total population of the Terai region are regarded as untouchables to this day.

Most of the people from these castes are ultra poor and below the poverty line. They are lagging far behind the other communities in education, health and several other sectors. Representation of these people in politics and administration is almost non-existent. Of the Terai Dalits, the socio-economic conditions of the women are even worse as they are discriminated almost in every walk of life. Virtually, they are Dalits of the Dalits. Considering the plight of the Nepalese Terai Dalit women and the need to improve their socio-economic conditions, FES supported the Centre for Economic and Technical Studies (CETS) to organise the seminar on "Strategies for Improving the Conditions of Dalit Women of the Terai" on October 10 and 11, 2002 at Janakpur. It was, in fact, a continuation of the support extended by FES to CETS for the Dalit cause in Nepal.

2. Objectives of the Seminar

The overall objective of the seminar was to draw the attention of the planners, policy makers, government, NGOs, INGOs and the donor agencies for the improvement of the socio-economic conditions of the Dalit women of the Terai. Specific objectives of the seminar were to:

  • Assess the different social problems associated with Dalit women;
  • Discuss the status of sanitation and hygiene among the Dalit women;
  • Raise awareness in the society about the economic contributions of the Dalit women;
  • Explore different possibilities for the empowerment of the Terai Dalit women by improving their traditional occupational skills; and
  • Suggest pragmatic measures for the improvement of the conditions of the Terai Dalit women.


3. The Seminar

The seminar on "Strategies for Improving the Conditions of Dalit Women of the Terai" was organized at Gramin Bikas Prashikshan Kendra, Mujeliya, Janakpur on October 10 & 11, 2002. The distinguished participants/resource persons represented various governmental and non-governmental agencies, political parties, Dalit organizations, academic institutions, research organizations and media. (The list of the programme of the seminar and participants are given in Appendix 1 and 2, respectively).

4. Inaugural Function

 

Seminar Participants

Prof. Hari Bansh Jha, Executive Director of Centre for Economic and Technical Studies (CETS) chaired the inaugural function of the national seminar on "Strategies for Improving the Conditions of Dalit Women of the Terai" on October 10, 2002. In his remarks, Prof. Jha welcomed the guests and participants and highlighted on the objectives and programmes of the seminar. Dalit woman, Ms. Pramila Das of Mahila Sangh, Dhanusha District inaugurated the function by lighting the candle. On this occasion, she expressed the need to bring about change in the life of the Dalit women. In his address, Mr. Raghu Nath Das, Chairman, Nepal Dalit Sangh, Dhanusha focussed on various problems faced by the Dalit women and the need to bring the Dalit women in the national mainstream. Mr. Dev Raj Dahal, Advisor, FES, Nepal Office shed light on the history of FES. Besides, he mentioned various activities performed by FES in Nepal. Addressing the function as the Chief Guest, Mr. Bhopal Nath Jha, former Minister dwelt on the strategies for improving the socio-economic conditions of the Dalit women. Mr. Binod Das, Secretary, Nepal Dalit Sangh, Dhanusha thanked all the guests and participants.

5. The Sessions

Seminar Participants

The seminar was divided into four sessions in which four papers were presented. Mr. Mathura Prasad Singh, educationist and social worker, and Mr. Ganga Ram Yadav, advocate presided over the first session "Untouchability and Discrimination" on October 10,2002. In this session, Mr. Ram Hridaya Mandal presented paper on "Untouchability and Discrimination with Terai Dalit Women," which was prepared jointly with Ms. Bindu Chaudhary, social worker. The floor widely discussed various issues and raised several questions related to the subject matter of the papers. In the absence of Ms. Bindu Chaudhary, Mr. Ram Hridaya Mandal answered the questions raised from the floor. Mr. Mathura Prasad Singh and Mr. Ganga Ram Yadav shed light on various possibilities to remove untouchabilily and discrimination with the Terai Dalit women.

Professor Rabindra Nath Jha of Tribhuvan University chaired the second session "Economic Contributions" on October 10, 2002. In this session, Dr. Hari Bansh Jha and Mr. Bishnu Kunwar jointly presented paper on "Economic Contributions of the Terai Dalit Women." Several questions related to the economic contributions of the Terai Dalit women were raised from the floor, which the authors answered satisfactorily. In his remarks, Professor Rabindra Nath Jha stated that the economic contributions made by the Terai Dalit women are crucial to the national economy.

On October 11, 2002, Mr. Mahadev Das, Vice Chairman, Upekshit Utpidit Dalitbarg Utthan Bikas Samiti presided over the third session of the seminar "Empowering the
Women." Ms. Usha Jha presented her paper on "The Dalit Women of the Tenth and Economic Empowerment Programme." In this session, valuable comments were made on
the paper by the participants, which the author answered. In his remarks, Mr. Mahadev Das highlighted several measures that the government introduced to improve the skills of Dalit women.

The fourth session of the seminar "Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement" was also presided over by Mr. Mahadev Das, Vice Chairman, Upekshit Ulpidit Dalitbarg Utthan Bikas Samiti on October 11,2002. Professor Namo Narayan Jha of Tribhuvan University presented paper on "Awareness about Health and Sanitation among Dalit Women. Problems and Solutions," which was prepared jointly with Dalit worker, Mr. Beckon Mukhiya. Useful comments and suggestions were made on the theme of the paper. The author properly answered queries from the floor. In his concluding remarks, Mr. Mahadev Das presented his views for the improvement of the hygiene and sanitation status of the Terai Dalit women. Before the session was closed, Prof. Hari Bansh Jha gave vote of thanks to FES, guests, participants and all those who contributed for the success of the seminar.

The media took keen interest in the Seminar proceedings. The leading papers of the country, including Janakpur Today and Janakpur Express gave wider coverage to the news related to the seminar. Additionally, Janakpur Express published the paper presented in the Seminar. (Please see some of the paper clippings in the Appendix).


Appendix: 1 <Top>

PROGRAMME SCHEDULE

National Seminar on "Strategies for Improving the Conditions of Dalit Women of the Terai"
(October 10 & 11, 2002/Ashwin 24 & 25, 2059)

Inaugural Session (8:30 A.M. - 9:30 A.M.)

October 10. 2002

Chairperson Prof. Han Bansh Jha, Executive Director, CETS
Welcome Address and Prof. Han Bansh Jha
Presentation of the Programme of the Seminar  
Inauguration of the Seminar Ms. Pramila Das, Mahila Sangh, Dhanusha
Address Mr. Raghu Nath Das, Chairman, Nepal Dalit Sangh, Dhanusha
Address Mr. Dev Raj Dahal, Advisor, FES, Nepal Office
Special Address Chief Guest, Mr. Bhola Nath Jha, Former Minister
Vote of Thanks Mr. Binod Das, Secretary, Nepal Dalit Sangh, Dhanusha

 

SESSION I: 10:30 A.M. - 1.0:00 P.M..

Title "UNTOUCHABILITYAND DISCRJMINA TION"
Chairperson: Mr. Mathura Prasad Singh, Educationist & Social Worker
Co-Chairperson Mr. Ganga Ram Yadav, Advocate
10:30 -11:00 Presentation of the Paper on "Untouchability and Discrimination with Terai Dalit Women" by Mr. Ram Hridaya Mandal, Dept. of Population Studies, R.R. Campus, Janakpur & Ms. Bindu Chaudhary, Social Worker
11:00 - 12:30 Floor Discussion
12:30 - 12:45 Remarks by the Authors
12:45 -01:00 Remarks by the Chairperson & Co-Chairperson
01:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M. LUNCH

SESSION II: 02: 00 P.M. - 04.30:P.M.

Title "ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTIONS"
Chairperson: Professor Rabindra Nath Jha, P.K. Campus, Tribhuvan University
02:00-02:30 Presentation of the Paper on "Economic Contributions of Terai Dalit Women" by Prof. Hari Bansh Jha, Executive Director, CETS & Mr. Bishnu Kunwar, President, Rural Development Foundation
02:30 - 04:00 Floor Discussion
04:00 - 04:15 Remarks by the Authors
04:15 - 04:30 Remarks by Chairperson
04:30 TEA


October 11, 2002

SESSION III: 09:30 A.M~ - 12:00

Title "EMPOWERING 1'HE WOMEN"
Chairperson: Mr. Mahadev Das, Vice Chairman, Upekshit Utpidit Dalitbarg Utthan Bikas Samiti
09:30 - 10:00 Presentation of the Paper on "The Dalit Women of the Terai and Economic Empowerment Programme" By Mrs. Usha Jha, Programme Director, PACT Nepal
10:00 -11:30 Floor Discussion
11:30 -11:45 Remarks by the Author
11:45 - 12:00 Remarks by the Chairperson
12:00 -01:00 LUNCH

SESSION IV: 01:00 - 04:45

Title "SANITAION AND HYGIENE IMPROVEMENT'
Chairperson: Mr. Mahadev Das, Vice Chairman, Upekshit Utpidit Dalitbarg Utthan Bikas Samiti
01:00 - 01:30 Presentation of the Paper on "Awareness about Health Head, Department of Culture, & Sanitation among Dalit Women: Problems & Solutions" by Professor Namo Narayan Jha, R.R. Campus, Janakpur & Mr. Bechan Mandal, Rampur
01:30- 03:00 Floor Discussion
03:00 - 03:15 Remarks by the Authors
03:15 - 03:45 Remarks by Chairperson
03:45 - 04:00 Vote of Thanks by Prof.. Hari Bansh Jha

04:00

TEA
 
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