Women and girls attend a self-defence training organised by a municipal office in Kailali district, Nepal, on Monday 29 April. Photo: THT
Self-defence training for girls in Kailali (District), read the headline in a Nepali newspaper earlier this week. Similar titles appear in the media every few months, and I wonder: What about the boys and men? Why is it that girls and women, who are the targets of harassment and attacks, must also take on the burden of defending themselves?
The easy answer is: no one else is doing it. That’s not to say that authorities in Nepal are ignoring growing reports of sexual violence and harassment – a hotline set up by the Women’s Commission has reportedly counselled 8,000 survivors of violence since December 2017 – but that there’s little evidence of a collective will to address the patriarchal attitudes prevalent here that can result in the targeting of girls and women. Until that happens, it’s better that women and girls are trained to deal with these incidents. Continue reading
Kudos to CBC News reporter Kelly Crowe for this article about a recent global health study on the deadly impact of unhealthy eating, in which she goes beyond simply presenting the newest numbers to discuss the ‘why’.
The news itself is shocking: in 2017 poor diets worldwide caused 11 million deaths, concludes the report, published in The Lancet journal. Eating too much salt and not enough whole grains and fruits were the major culprits.
Obstacles to healthy eating
But what Crowe also highlights are those factors that are beyond the control of individuals and are known as ‘environmental determinants of health’. These range from absent or misleading labels on food packages to prominent placement of junk food in supermarkets to the unaffordability of the fruits, vegetables and other healthy food that we’re supposed to be eating more of to prevent those 11 million deaths. Continue reading
Officials from Arun Rural Municipality in Nepal’s Bhojpur district give a rooster to a new mother on 29 March 2019. The programme to support new mothers started in January. Photo: The Himalayan Times
Time for me to walk my talk.
Following up on my last post about not dwelling on the negative in Nepal, I’m highlighting a very small but positive development. Municipal officials in Bhojpur district in the country’s east started a programme in January to visit new mothers.
Living in Kathmandu it’s way too easy to be critical of this country, which often means critical of the government and the ‘establishment’. Red tape, corruption, injustice and neglect are just some of the terms that can easily be used to describe those who wield power in this place.
Of course, this is just part of the picture: because those are exactly the issues that the media focuses on (writes the former and still sometimes journalist) they tend to be emphasised. But I know that there are positive things happening here, from the macro view of issues like declining maternal mortality and improving child health, to the growth of micro-enterprises in Kathmandu run by young Nepalis who have chosen to return home from studying overseas.
This has bothered me for a long time, and just Tweeting about it to my *massive* following (@martydlogan) hasn’t had any impact to date, so I’m writing this post. To be clear, I’m not doing this to ‘make fun’ of anyone’s English. In fact, I don’t think this is a case of using words unintentionally but that the words chosen reflect a cultural trait (the power of ‘fate’ in Nepal) but I’ll leave that research to interested experts.
The daily media in Nepal* continually reports about “ill-fated” road accidents, or that a vehicle “met with an accident”. The connotation is that the crash was inevitable or, in the second phrase, that the accident itself was actually the actor in the incident. This is rubbish, and I hope this style of writing will change soon because I believe that reporting the real causes of the carnage on Nepal’s roads would be one positive step in reducing it. Continue reading
This photo from Nepali Times shows green and blue melt pools on the North Ama Dablam Glacier, where the vanishing icefall has exposed the eroded bedrock below.
I remember the first time I looked up at the Himalayan range from Nepal: I was dumbstruck. It seemed like I had to tilt my head back an extra notch in order to see to the very tops of the peaks, compared to gazing up at the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Today I’m back in Nepal, fortunate that once a year or so I get to fly out of Kathmandu, which almost always means a view of the Himalayan range once the plane climbs above the smog and clouds. It is a magnificent sight, and I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to take to the skies – especially when the other option is the traffic on Nepal’s increasingly crowded, dust-choked roads.
But two decades later even these most majestic mountains are at risk from – you guessed it – global warming. Continue reading