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Understanding gender-based violence in Nepal: a qualitative tracking study

16 October 2013

UCL Consultants helped Sarah Hawkes from the UCL Institute of Global Health research gender-based violence in Nepal, leading to policy recommendations for the Nepalese government and its development partners.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is depressingly commonplace throughout the world. The ways in which women who have experienced such violence navigate informal and formal (governmental and non-governmental) institutions to get support, services and justice, varies greatly from country to country.

It's against this background that Sarah Hawkes, with support from Dr Mahesh Puri of the Centre for Research on Environmental Health and Population Activities (CREHPA), conducted a qualitative tracking study for United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Women, and ESP/DFID on gender-based violence (GBV) in Nepal.

UCL Consultants helped to successfully arrange and negotiate the terms for this crucial study, in quite challenging circumstances.

Understanding the issues to deliver solutions

The purpose of the study was to understand:

  • how women who have experienced GBV navigate any support, services and justice infrastructure
  • how those institutions and mechanisms function, both independently and together, to support, or undermine, these women
  • what opportunities there are to improve policy and programming.

Tracking based on real world cases

Six emblematic GBV cases in Nepal were used by Dr Hawkes and her team to better understand how and why women make the choices they do when seeking support and the role of key members in the community in assisting them.

Pivotal to this, of course, is understanding how formal institutions and informal social, political and cultural norms and values work together, and independently, to support or prevent women from claiming their rights to protection.

Dr Hawkes and her team also examined the effectiveness of the police, the legal system, the medical sector, the psycho-social sector, and social welfare services in the cases studied.

The study was steered and supported by an advisory steering committee, with the involvement of government stakeholders, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) representatives and development organisations, and provided advisory support when needed.

Crucially, the aim of the study was to produce a set of findings-based concrete policy and programmatic recommendations for the government of Nepal and development partners.

Cameron Logan, Contract Manager for UCL Consultants, commented: “This project was particularly challenging due to the fact that we had to negotiate with three separate organisations in various locations worldwide. However, it was worth it because of the importance of this project in highlighting areas for change in relation to gender-based violence in Nepal.”

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If you want to know more about this project, or want to discuss a new project, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact us on:


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