Liverpool John Moores University has hosted the highly prestigious 14th British Nepal Academic Council (BNAC) Conference on 14th and 15th April 2016. Professor Padam Simkhada from the Centre for Public Health and Dr Sara Parker from the Department of Sociology at LJMU were the local hosts for the event, which was jointly sponsored by BNAC and Edward Harcourt, LJMU’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement.
A total of 60 delegates from Nepal, UK and European universities attended the conference, and a total of 24 papers on different themes were presented including eight from LJMU academics.
Professor Padam Simkhada talked about the impacts of migration in Nepal and Dr Ak Narayan Poudel presented a paper on the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS in Nepal, while Dr Bibha Simkhada presented on mental health training and education for nurses in Nepal.
A further presentation was provided by Dr Kay Standing and Dr Sara Parker from the Department of Sociology entitled ‘Responses to violence against women in post-earthquake Nepal – Lessons from the field’. The paper focused on the central role of women’s groups and female leaders in community-based networks in challenging violence against women and girls since the devastating earthquakes in Nepal in April and May 2015. Their research is based on the fact that sexual violence increases dramatically after natural disasters and that the trafficking of women and girls in Nepal has increased since the earthquake, and women and girls in camps and temporary shelters feel threatened and insecure due to the risk of violence and lack of privacy.
Their research shows how local women activists challenge violence against women and girls (VAWG) and that safe spaces for women and girls can be established. Based on interviews with grassroots women’s activists in Nepal and case studies of organisations working to challenge VAWG in the aftermath of the earthquake, Dr Standing and Dr Parker illustrate the ways in which development and humanitarian workers can learn from the experiences of grassroots women activists to challenge and minimise VAWG in emergency situations.
Further information about the conference can be found here: http://www.cph.org.uk/news-item/14th-bnac-depal-study-days-conference-liverpool/