ADB to Support Expansion of Women and Children Service Centers

KATHMANDU, NEPAL - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will administer $3.5 million in grants from the Government of the United Kingdom and ADB’s Gender and Development Cooperation Fund to expand Women and Children Service Centers (WCSCs) to 15 additional districts.

“The WCSCs that were piloted in five districts demonstrated that focused interventions to reduce vulnerability of women and children can influence social behaviors and protection procedures in a positive way. We are glad to see that the project is now rolled out to more districts of Nepal,” said ADB Country Director for Nepal Kenichi Yokoyama.

Since July 2009, Nepal police have used a $950,000 grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and the Government of the United Kingdom to build the five pilot centers and establish a proper support system for survivors. The centers are staffed with women police officers and kept distinct and separate from other facilities.

Reporting of cases of gender-based violence has since increased by more than 30% in each of the five original districts, indicating growing trust in the justice system. Police in those districts are now trained in contextual issues surrounding incidences of violence and in gender-sensitive crime investigation techniques.

The project has also established communication networks in each district to run community awareness campaigns and preventative strategies to reduce violence and abuse, encourage reporting, resolution and/or prosecution of cases to improve justice, and encourage confidence in the legal system.

To expand this successful project into 15 new districts, the UK Government is contributing $3.2 million in grants, while ADB’s Gender and Development Cooperation Fund is contributing $300,000. The Government of Nepal will contribute $380,000. The implementing agency is the Women and Children Service Directorate within the Crime Investigation Department of Nepal Police.

The first batch of new centers will be built in Achham, Bajhang, Dolakha, Saptari, Siraha, Mahottari, and Tanahun.