Welcome to Nepal Now, the podcast where we discuss new ideas and initiatives to move the country forward. My name is Marty Logan.
A lot has happened around menstrual health issues in Nepal in recent years. And it seems that all that work is bearing fruit. In its last budget the government pledged to drastically cut the tax and import duty on menstrual hygiene products, while a toolkit created by a group of organizations will soon be distributed in government schools.
Today’s guests have taken very different routes to contribute to better menstrual health. Working with 80 young Nepali illustrators, Sophie Maliphant has just published the book Kumari’s Adventure with her Moon Cycle to help young girls, and others, to understand the changes in their bodies with menstruation. Gyan Maharjan has been called Nepal’s Pad man for his efforts to create chemical-free, climate-friendly pads and make them available country wide. And Neeta Timsina has introduced menstrual leave for employees in her company.
Of course much more remains to be done. As Gyan points out, only one-third of the bathrooms in government schools have reliable running water, a prerequisite for good hygiene. While chhaupadi, the practice of segregating women — usually in small, unsafe sheds outdoors — after giving birth or when having their periods, happens mostly in Far Western Nepal, women in every type of household in all parts of the country face discrimination when menstruating. And, as we all know, government budget pledges are only the first step to seeing changes made on the ground.
Finally, we people living in the capital Kathmandu – particularly those of us who spend much of our days online – have a skewed understanding of life in Nepal. Awareness-raising efforts need to focus on the country’s villages. Here, recently elected local governments, which have proven to be effective in other health and education ventures, should be enlisted as partners.
Please listen now to my chat with Neeta Timsina, Gyan Maharjan and Sophie Maliphant.
This is episode #50 of Nepal Now. Thank you to everyone who’s helped us reach this mark, and to you for listening. After two years we’re going to take a break and will be back in September. Meanwhile, if you haven’t been with us from Day 1, please take the time to check out our 49 previous episodes.
Kumari’s Adventure with her Moon Cycle — Book by Sophie Maliphant and others
X-pose Nepal — Gyan Maharjan’s organization
Zendatum — Neeta Timsina’s company
Nepal Now social links
Thanks as always to Nikunja Nepal for advice and inspiration.
Music: amaretto needs ice ... by urmymuse (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/urmymuse/57996 Ft: Apoxode
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