Equality Update # 31 – GESI Mainstreaming in the COVID-19 Response: Building on Lessons Learned and Best Practices in 2020 (June 2021) – Nepal



The COVID-19 situation in Nepal in 2020 culminated in a positive note when the Nepal Country Office of the World Health Organization recorded a declining trend in the “number of RT-PCR tests, the positivity rate, the number of active cases and the number of active cases in December Cases of domestic isolation “reported last month”. However, five months later the trend has reversed dramatically and Nepal is once again facing the effects of the pandemic. Considered the second wave of the surge, Nepal recorded 144,247 additional confirmed cases and an increase in the national average positivity rate from 12.7% on December 30, 2020 to 49.4% on May 11, 2021Building on best practices and lessons learned, To better deal with the rising tide of the pandemic can never be emphasized enough.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Nepal has responded with a focus on the gender impact of the pandemic on crises, leaving no one behind, a commitment Nepal has made in 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Women and other vulnerable and marginalized groups have experienced the greatest negative effects of the pandemic due to pre-existing profound inequalities and discriminatory practices. Challenges such as rising maternal deaths from lack of access to services, loss of livelihood, rising care burdens and increasing statistics on gender-based violence (GBV) threaten to undermine advances in the empowerment of women and gender equality.

Since the 2015 earthquake, Nepal’s Gender in Humanitarian Action Task Team (GiHA-TT) has served as UNCT’s flagship mechanism to ensure that women and the country’s most vulnerable and marginalized groups are not left out in humanitarian interventions. The GiHA-TT was reactivated in April 2020 to take gender and social inclusion (GESI) into account in all responses to the pandemic. Chaired by UN Women Nepal, the GiHA-TT is a multi-stakeholder mechanism made up of governments, civil society organizations (CSOs), development partners and UN organizations. It serves as a virtual platform that enables constructive dialogues, recognizes the diversity of voices, demonstrates thought leadership and enables greater clarity in coordinating GESI’s efforts in humanitarian work. In 2020, GiHA-TT held 15 virtual meetings where executives from 76 agencies / organizations gave presentations on the impact of COVID-19 on various GESI concerns. These consisted of civil society organizations (63%), government agencies (17%), UN organizations (13%) and individual experts / development partners (7%).

On July 10, 2020, the UN Women Nepal conducted a meeting survey to evaluate the effectiveness of the GiHA-TT meetings from April to July 2020. The result showed that an average of 54% of the participants found the meetings to be very good. Knowledge exchange, thematic focus, promotion of a coordinated and coherent approach to GESI and content. On average, 29% of respondents rated the same aspects of the meeting as “excellent” and the rest (17%) rated them as “good”.

The members and partners of GiHA-TT pursued coordinated initiatives to support, repurpose and support the most vulnerable and marginalized populations. In this way, they collected time-sensitive information about the reality on the ground and helped to remind conscripts of the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on invisible populations, who are often inadvertently marginalized in emergency situations.

This Update 31 on Gender Equality presents a collection of lessons learned from GiHA-TT members from mainstreaming GESI in the 2020 COVID-19 response. Readers are encouraged to use the measures taken or renew to build on them and share their own findings with GiHA -TT to build a knowledge base that could shed further light on Nepal’s path to recovery.


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