Facing Heaven – Dēudā Folklore, Art & Peace in Nepal

Inception Fieldtrip May 2023

Dr ST Dancey

(With contributions & Translation from Dila Dat Pant)


Funding from the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) via a Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) commissioned project began this April, exploring the role of Nepalese Dēudā culture on local conflict issues, peace building and policies for sustainable peace in society. Dr Simon Dancey of the University for the Creative Arts is the projects Principal Investigator alongside Co-Investigators Nar Bahadur Saud and Dila Dat Pant.

Dēudā or Dēudā Khel is a Nepali genre of song and dance, performed in the Sudurpashchim and Karnali provinces of Nepal, as well as in the Kumaon Division of Uttarakhand state of India. It is performed at various festivals, such as Gaura. The dance is performed by singing Dēudā songs in a circulus by holding each-other’s hands. It is considered as part of the cultural heritage of Karnali Province. The project has a number of specific objectives:

  • To explore the ways in which Dēudā culture can be used to promote local peace building in a dialogue between young people, educator and policymaker.
  • To assess limitations between local practices and peacebuilding approaches by using arts-based approaches to promote the wellbeing of young people, particularly those from remote and marginalized groups.
  • To investigate alternative communication structures and approaches to inform local, national, and international approaches to peacebuilding.

Dr Simon Dancey undertook an inception research visit to Nepal for the setup of the yearlong project this April. The next step of the project will gather primary data vis semi-structured interviews from social actors in Nepal, exploring the research objectives. This research project is an important effort to preserve and understand the Dēudā culture in Nepal, which is an integral part of the country’s cultural heritage. The collaboration between UCA and MAP, along with the support of local co-investigators and the government, demonstrates the importance of international cooperation in understanding intangible cultural heritage.


Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia and is bordered by China and India, with a population of 29M. It is in the Himalayas and contains eight of the world’s ten highest peaks, including Everest. The Nepalese Civil War was a protracted armed conflict that took place in the former Kingdom of Nepal from 1996 to 2006. It saw countrywide fighting between the Nepalese royal government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), with the latter making significant use of guerrilla warfare. The government system is now a federal parliamentary republic; the chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister.

Day 1- 3 Kathmandu

A snap of the Kathmandu Symposium on Deuda. On the left of mine are former Deputy Prime Minister Bhim Rawal and a sitting MP Dayal Bahadur Shahi (Dila Datt Pan)

Flying into Kathmandu, I was both excited and nervous about the upcoming research project. I had travelled extensively in the region (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka etc.) but never to Nepal. Friends had waxed lyrical, misty eyed about both its beaty and dangerous terrain. The trip would involve quite a lot of travel inside Nepal and up into the mountainous region in the West. A lovely welcome awaited me at the airport, led by my local Co-I Dila, who I later was to learn had organised a superlative inception programme.

Kathmandu was warm and dusty, and we kicked off the following day with national-level consultation program called Discourse on Dēudā Folklore.

The program brought together artists, scholars, practitioners, and media professionals to explore the topic of discussion, and two academic papers were presented to open avenues for further discussion (see appendix for details).

The passion of the participants was palpable, and speakers regularly broke out into song. It was an honour to be present and hopefully facilitate giving a wider voice and exposure to this area of Nepalese culture. The areas discussed ranged from historical context of the folklore to sociological investigations, semiotics and government policy. As the long meeting progressed, several themes emerged on song content and form. These included:


Dēudā is common folklore for all, irrespective of gender, despite existing gender imbalances. For example, women were traditionally sent to Menstrual sheds that are demolished but female segregation still happens. However, in, women in Dēudā play strong empowered role in challenging gender stereotypes and patriarchal power. This was demonstrated in song responses berating ‘lazy, drunk men’. A growth in Aids and HIV outbreaks in the Western region has also been linked to migrant Nepali male works visiting India and returning with infections and this theme also making its way into songs.


The very different local socio-cultural imaginary of the Western region versus hegemonic dominant national socio-cultural imaginary and the marginalisation of Western cultural forms


Dēudā songs are rich enough in reflecting the annals of a long history. The following piece speaks of how the conflict between the then powerful regime of Sinja State and Khar state took to a fierce battle and how the Sinja squad was fated to suffer destruction:

Tallo bato talchhedoko, majh bato Humliko/
Taulakhar ladain bhaigo, nash padyo Jumliko//

(The lower path is of Talchhedo whereas the middle path of Humli/
A fierce battle took place in Taulakher and Jumli fighters suffered a huge loss//)

Another stone inscription dating back to 1461 BS (900 years ago) offers a deuda song in it (Padam p Kalauni):

Chhakalyaka Bali Raja, sanjhaka Shahi bhaya/
Sinjako Shreepech boki, Chhinasim ai gaya//

(King Bali came in the morn, whereas the Shahi’s arrived in the eve/
Fetching along the Crown of Sinja state, they came to Chhinasim//)


A critique of both local and national politicians on their failure to deliver of corruption or cronyism. Some folksongs reflect of how the rulers used to exploit the public:

Birkulya Paltan Ayo, Manobhari Rakha/
Bhari boknya Gaulya ho, Palo Suni Rakha//

(The Birkulya batallion has arrived, spare potful of foodgrains for them/
O! the fellow village porters, take into account your turn to serve them//)

Love & Sex.

One of the most dominant themes across folklore ranging from young lovers to couples bringing shame on their village for inappropriate behaviour. Example below:

Boy: Tero Poi Naintaal baijhau, pardeshai marijhau/
Tera Poiko lagnya maya, maitira sarijau. //

(I wish your husband goes to Nainital(india) for work and he dies over there/
And your love to him thereafter gets transferred to me//)

Girl: Ichala ko dabya ghans, budhi gai charali/
Mera Poile ke birayo, teri Joi marali//

(The grass on the upper slope would be grazed by an old cow/
I wonder what wrong my husband has caused to you and curse you that your wife dies instead//)


The structure of the song has strong link to movement and rhythm of the dance. Many songs are long lived in the societies, and they speak of the fatalism, pain, helplessness, social structures, love and so on.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Bhim Rawal started with a few such classic songs:

Rajpur hai Jangipur, Kanya hai Kachali/
Kya chadhi gulabi ranga, kya maya basali//

(The first segment of journey is from Rajpur to Jangipur and the next from Kanya to Kachali/
You are blushed in rosy cheeks; I wonder if you get in love with me//)

Kasaiki Basmati Dhan, Kasaiki Kode Nai/
Kasaiki sunko har, kasaiki pote nai//

(Some feed in the Baasmati rice while others do not even have millet to eat/
some are so privileged to own the chains of gold while others do not even own the normal bead//)

It is also a tradition that such template-based songs are adapted to local circumstances also e.g., looking for work and consequence thereof.

Ka falu dukhako bhari khutta tutan lagya/
Pradeshi karam mero sath chhutan lagya//

(Where do I put my burdens on, my legs are nearly collapsing/
Fated to be a migrant worker abroad, I am to lose all my companions//)

Dēudā was felt to catch the context of changing society and was part of all festivals except death festival. My thanks for translation of songs and added comments and interpretation on this section from Dila Datt Pant.

Day 4- 5 – Achham & Seti

The following day we took an internal flight to Dhangadi, and home state of Dila. We were travelling with team member Govinda, whose mountain village we would be visiting, a ten-hour drive from Dhangadi airport. The flight allowed a view of the Himalayas, and the panorama was sublime, for a moment it felt like being close to the face of God and Facing Heaven. Back to earth in Dhangadi the temperature was decidedly hotter hovering around 30°C. An encounter with a bevy of Tharu indigenous women, dressed in their traditional attires, at the airport was a solace to forget the heat. With Dila’s support, I took chance to capture a moment with them.

Tharu Indigenous women, encountered in Dhangadhi Airport (Dila Datt Pant)

We climbed into our waiting 4×4 and began the long, winding journey into the mountains with a camera person and local woman journalist.

As I’d been warned, the roads were narrow, serpentine and regularly revealing sheer drops tumbling down into verdant valleys very, very far below. Small shrines and flowers bedecked areas where travellers had not been so lucky and plunged to certain death. My colleagues seemed bemused at my perma-stressed face and white-knuckle gripping of the door handle, untroubled by what I thought was imminent death.

As Conrad showed us all, it’s often the journey that reveals the most, not just the destination. The mountains culture offered some startling juxtapositions, with an increasing arable farming presence, balanced with almost universal mobile phone use.

We stopped at small roadside building for food, the staple of dhal, rice, saag and roti tasting delicious in the mountain air.

We stopped next at a breath-taking mountain Hindu shrine, the view stretching down into the Seti River valley and terraced areas of golden wheat everywhere. Mostly though, there were no men to be seen in the field, the women scything, collecting and husking the wheat. The men we learnt later talking to local women were mostly playing cards and drinking.

Wheat field on the bank of Seti River in Doti

Wheat gathering near Seti River

We eventually began our descent and arrived at Achham, our place for the night, as darkness fell, the sky obsidian, flecked by stars and house lights so high it was impossible to tell which was which.

The next day began with a climb back into the mountains, heading for Govinda’s village. This time it was just single dirt track, dried mud and rock. I tried not to look down. Hours later we reached a dead end and clambered along a small pathway into the village. The welcome I was not expecting and took my breath away. The entire village, bedecked in traditional costumes turned out to welcome us. Flower wreaths speeches and welcome food took up the next few hours. It was very humbling and the people so warm and welcoming.

We them moved to the nearby festival area, one of the very few substantive flat open areas that was growing wheat. The rest of the afternoon was simply breath-taking, my expectations of meeting a few performers were entirely wrong. Dila and Govinda had surprised me with a full scale live Dēudā competition with many other queued up cultural performances that were constituents of Deuda culture. This rural municipality named Mellekh, where the show was held, welcomed over 1,500 participants from surrounding villages and the local government had supported the coordination of the visit. Incredible. The performance was beautiful and complex, giving life to the symposium discussions back in Kathmandu. Musicians, dancers and call and response from the circles of performers, in varying local dress was incredible and illuminating. We had manged a few semi-informal interviews exploring themes and structures, but I was mostly awarded the role of guest of honour, giving speeches and handing out prizes.

Putala Dance: a constituent dance of Deuda folklore performed a school premises in Mellekh.

Hori: a folk dance which is performed in the similar movement of Deuda.

It was an exceptional day that ended with being pulled into a Dēudā circle to dance and laugh in the 39°C late afternoon sun and dust, perched on top of a mountain in distant Nepal.

Day 6 – 7 – Dhangadi

It had taken most of the previous day to drive back to Dhangadi. The trip to Achham already feeling dreamlike. Dhangadi itself was part of the plains and it felt strange to be ‘down’. The day began with a beautiful visit to Dila’s family home and family, surrounded by banana plantations and the border with India within a stone’s throw. I was honoured at the warm hospitality and very enthused to meet his father at 96 so passionately sharing some Deuda songs for us.

The afternoon was spent meeting local politicians to discuss the project and finance and TV and radio interviews, talking through what we’d been doing and what our next steps would be.

Giving Interview at Dinesh FM in Dhangadhi (Dila Datt Pan)

Day 8 – Kathmandu & London

The final day in Kathmandu involved squeezing in some last-minute sight-seeing and a last-minute wrap up meeting with Dila and Govinda and a lovely gift mug. Pashupatinath Temple was stunning and watching the cremations taking place outside on the tributary of the Ganges left me moved, orange robbed figures wreathed in smoke. It struck me that it’s much better to have death visible like this, than our Western approach of compartmentalising it.

Perhaps, the following excerpt from my friend Dila’s poem best suited to narrate the scene on the Aaryaghat; the bank of Bagmati river in Pashupati.

A poem by Dila, who is a co-researcher of my team

And that, alongside many other thoughts and inspirations accompanied on my flight back to London. I’d learnt so much already and couldn’t wait to continue the research and I was already planning my return to the incredible Nepal, that I now realize the Lonely Planet had not simply ranked Nepal as trekker’s paradise!

For further details regarding the project, please refer to the Twitter account of UCAR Office at https://twitter.com/UCAROffice.

Dr Simon Dancy (PI – simon.dancey@uca.ac.uk)  & Nar Bdr. Saud (Co- I – 2109573@students.creative.ac.uk) can be contacted for additional information.

All Pictures copywrite ST Dancey 2023 unless otherwise credited

Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) Culture as Change Webinar

Can Cultural Art forms contribute towards social change?

Thu, 15 Jun 2023 12:00 – 14:00 BST

This webinar will introduce three projects engaging directly with how cultural art forms can affect social change in young people and their wider communities. It will start by introducing the project led by Dr Simon Dancey and his team from UCA. They will discuss what Deuda performance (a Nepali call and reply genre of song and dance, performed in Western Nepal) is as an art form, as well how and why it invites communication/change.

The webinar will be interactive allowing for rich discussion. The second project to be introduced is One Drum One Girl led by Kiki Odile from the Women’s Cultural Centre in Kigali, Rwanda. She will be presenting how introducing girls drumming, including a reflection on a recent festival held in Kigali is challenging gender norms. Thirdly the webinar will share learnings from The Magic of Theatre, via their Director Nurlan Asanbekov, discussing how taking youth theatre to informal spaces/venues is catalysing a growth in cultural and educational opportunities in Kyrgyzstan. The webinar will include our young researchers, video clips and a synthesis discussion looking for similarities and nuance across all three. We hope you can join us!

The organisers will provide interpretation from English into Bahasa, Kyrgyz, Nepali, and Kinyarwanda.

Building our project team as an International Steering Group: Picturing the past, present, and future in the imaginations, dreams and journeys taken by young women in Nepal and Rwanda

MARLON LEE MONCRIEFFE, Principal Investigator, UK.

NUB RAJ BHANDARI, Co-Investigator, Nepal.

CHASTE UWIHOEYE, Co-Investigator, Rwanda.


Our MAP team first started working together in Nepal through the 2018-19 Changing The Story funded project “Examining Interpretations of Civil National Values made by Young People in Post-Conflict Settings (Kenya and Nepal)”. As well as this we have worked together on the Consolidation, learning and evaluation in Kenya and Rwanda: A critical review of Changing the Story projects in Eastern Africa (Decolonising Curriculum Knowledge). The successes of these projects has enabled a bonding in our understanding and learning from each other about the international professional and social contexts from which we derive and valuable contributions that we each bring to the project as a whole. This article provides an overview of the developments in progress of our project team, which has transformed into becoming an international steering group.

Building on Phase 1 MAP projects

Picturing the past, present, and future in the imaginations, dreams and journeys taken by young women in Nepal and Rwanda extends the MAP vision from the Phase 1 contexts of Nepal and Rwanda. Both have sought to provide training for youth, educators, and cultural artists; to support the design and delivery of Participatory Arts as a part of the national curriculum. Our project seeks to build upon existing work in Nepal and Rwanda with a particular focus on the use and application of Mithila Art and Imigogo Art. Our aim is to show how these art methods can be applied as intergenerational dialogic tools of communication for informing social and educational policies in Nepal and Rwanda, and in challenging gender discrimination across both societies more widely. Of all the MAP medium grants projects, our project is unique through the cross-cultural exploration between two countries, providing comparative research findings. We are using and applying the same theoretical framework  across the two projects.

Project overviews and meetings

Our project strategy was completed in January 2023. This was shared at our first meeting as a team on February 1st 2023. In essence, the project strategy is a working document that provides milestones, to measure progress, and includes the overview of fieldwork strategies and logistics for each country. The project overview is a working document that is continuously updated during the processes of our agenda led meetings. All fortnightly meetings prior to the fieldwork in May and June occur online. However, a valuable face-to-face meeting with the P-I and Rwanda Co-I happened in Rwanda in February 2023, with the Nepal team brought online. This meeting included our introduction to the valuable Steering Group members. Also joining us was a partner the Rwandan Cycling Federation (FERWACY) who will support cycling journeys for women during our planned Rwanda fieldwork in May 2023.

From R to L: Emmanuel Kigundu, Dr Marlon Moncrieffe, Dr Chase Uwihoreye, and Mrs Liliane Kayirebwa (FERWACY). Rwanda, February 2023.

International Steering Group

The establishment of our International Steering Group has given young people from Nepal and Rwanda the opportunity to engage in cross-cultural dialogue. This has included in shaping the design of the project overview and in knowledge transfer of cultural proverbs from each national context, allowing for all to see the synergies of intergenerational experiences across both contexts. Our first meeting took place on 29th March 2023. 

The recruitment of Nepalese members to our Steering Group was completed in March 2023. A 23 year old, third year student studying a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) at Tribhuvan University, having a deep love with Mithila art and culture and interests in researching on the beauty and richness of Mithila art, Ms. Liza Kumari Jha was recruited as a young researcher. Similarly, Prity Karna learnt to paint Mithila art at a very young age and has a dream to be a renowned Mithila artist. Prity is confident to bring contemporary perspectives in Mithila Arts with an ambition to challenge the prevailing norms against women and girls through arts.

Project developments in Nepal

In the last week of April 2023, a steering group member and young Mithila artist, Ms. Prity Karna, and Nub Raj Bhandari (Co I – Nepal) participated in an interactive orientation event with young women. It was an informal meeting with the young women (who will later participate in the fieldwork) and our project’s Mithila artist lead in creating a synergy; contributing to the intergenerational aspects of the project between, youth researchers, and Mithila artists and researchers.

Project developments in Rwanda

Two Youth Action Board members and six teachers attended informal workshops testing approaches with arts methods tools for the baseline assessment and monitoring of the project. The activities included working together using a variety of ‘Tracking Tools’. For example the creation of ‘Vision Murals’. This is used by the participants to think on the vision  they wish to achieve in relation to an issue they want to address. The problems in the community as “the change they want to see”. Next, the participants were gathered in a circle of connected flipcharts and encouraged via engagement tasks to draw the change they envisaged through their choice of artistic approaches.

They participated in sharing their drawings, collages, and different murals towards the change they want to see in their communities. Some of the drawings included trees to represent family reunion. Whilst other drawings included arms that represent peace, unity and prosperity, and stars that represent the light of life. Poems were also written to represent the voice of the voiceless and isolated younger people in the community.


Picturing the past, present, and future in the imaginations, dreams and journeys taken by young women in Nepal and Rwanda: An introduction

MARLON LEE MONCRIEFFE, Principal Investigator.


There is a synergy in the mission of both Janaki Women Awareness Society (Nepal) and Uyisenga Ni Imanzi (Rwanda) in that they exist as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) for empowering the health, wellbeing and lives of women. Both organisations will work together on a unique international project that will apply the MAP philosophy of arts-based communication structures facilitated between young people and policy makers, with a view to contributing to social, citizenship and education policy discourses.

Theoretical Framework

The intellectual foundation that gives the theoretical framework to our study is exploring, examining, discussing and reflecting on how gender based cultural proverbs have been passed across from generation to generation in both countries, and generally in their articulating a negative portrayal of women’s representation in society at all stages of their lives (Bishwakarma, 2020; Niyonshima, 2020). For example, in examination of Rwanda, Niyonshima (2020, p.12) provides lists of proverbs where women are considered as inferior, worthless and weak people in society:

  • Ntaa nkokôkazi ibîka isaâke ihâri. (A hen cannot cluck when a cock is around)
  • Uruvûze umugorê ruvuga umuhoro. (A word of a woman is followed by a machete)
  • Umukoôbwa w’îgicûucu yiirahiira imfîizi ya sê. (A foolish girl compares herself to her father)
  • Umugorê w’înkoramwuuga, abishiima yîikoze muu nda. (A professional witch ends up in killing her own children)
  • In examination of Nepal, Bishwakarma (2020) produced a survey that established a clear and substantial gap between women and humans in that society that have perpetuated the culturally accepted norm of discrimination against women. For example:
  • Chhorapaye khasi, Chhoripaye farsi (A party of mutton goes on a sons’ birth, but a pumpkin on that of daughters)
  • “Chhorapaye sansar ujayalo, Chhoribhaye bhanchha Ujyalo (Son brightens the entire world, while a daughter can only brighten the kitchen)
  • “Swasnimanchheko buddi pachhadi hunchha” (Women are always short-sighted).
  • Similarly, Jha (2008) has brought some Maithili proverbs that present women and girls/daughter negatively. For example:
  • “Beta bhel loki lel, Beti bhel feki del” (Love your son, not daughter)
  • “Ek beti mithai, dosar beti lai, tisar bhel tan tinu balaya” (Birth of a first daughter is good, second daughter does not bring happiness, third daughter is like poison)
  • “Jehane maugi aap chhinariya, tehane lagaabaya kul bebahariya” (Innovative activities of women are always criticized)

The presentation of these proverbs from Nepal and Rwanda should not be generalised to the life experiences of all women of Nepal and Rwanda over the ages. Indeed, the resilience, self-empowerment and rise of Rwandan women to positions of power in society is documented by Hunt (2017) particularly after the genocide of 1994. Whilst for Nepal, an example of women becoming leaders in society breaking from social constraints to their gender is documented by Adhikari (2023). What this project seeks to consider and develop learning from are the more relative intergenerational experiences of women whose lives may have been framed for living according to gender discriminatory cultural proverbs.  What is clear is that cultural proverbs of both societies articulate that girls/women do not matter a lot in comparison to boys/men. An internalization of this can lead to the playing out of stereotypes that can impede emancipation. Girls and Women in Nepal and Rwanda may not partake in a journey to development with those discrepancies.

Reflection and Reconceptualization

Picturing the past, present, and future in the imaginations, dreams and journeys taken by young women in Nepal and Rwanda seeks to disrupt the power of culturally embedded proverbs which perpetuate gender inequality. The purpose of our project seeks to actualise and exemplify women related to each other and of different generations. Firtsly, by their coming together and partaking in walking and bicycle journeys for finding safe spaces. In these, they can share with each other their experiences and reflections in affirming conceptualisations of their future narratives. The key objective of our project is: To support women in communicating the social challenges they have faced and their aspirations for the future.

Arts Based Methods

Further emancipation by the translation of the narratives given through women’s imaginations and aspirations will come through Imigogo (framed) art and photography (Rwanda) and Mithila art (Nepal).

Mithila art is a cultural form of art which depicts the ancient culture of Mithila kingdom (Central Southern region of Nepal and parts of India). This is an art form unique to women in their communication generation after generation.

Source ‘Smart History’: Young women cycling

There is a legend that Imigogo was invented as an interior decoration by Prince Kakira of Gisaka Kingdom in Nyarubuye in the 1800s. However, Imigogo art, is a traditionally female art form used by women in Rwanda.


Source ‘My Africals’

Figure 1 (below) provides a model of the thought processes given to our project and the stages of development from theoretical foundations to journeys for reflections, to translations of imaginations through arts-based methods, and to public and community engagement with the project’s outcomes.

Public and Community Engagement

Our project will deliver public and community engagement events in Kigali, Rwanda and in Janakpur, Nepal. These events will be pre and post fieldwork discussions (seminar and exhibitions) which will enable the sharing of our objectives and our outcomes. Local, regional and national policymakers we be invited to these events for sharing their contributions to the discussion of gender inequality in society, and in collaborating for impact on the reconceptualization of current and future social and educational policies.


  • Adhikari, A. (2023). Substantive Representation of Women Parliamentarians and Gender Equality in Nepal. In Substantive Representation of Women in Asian Parliaments (pp. 206-225). Routledge.
  • Bishwakarma, G. (2020). The Role of Nepalese Proverbs in Perpetuating Gendered Cultural Values. Advances in Applied Sociology, 10, 103-114.
  • Hunt. S. (2017) Rwandan Women Rising. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Jha, K. (2008). Maithili lokokti sanchay (Maithili proverbs- a collection). Sahitya Akeademi New Delhi
  • Niyonshima, P. (2020). A Sociolinguistic Study of Women Representation in Rwandan Proverbs. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences, 10, 24.

Allow me to return home: get more love, care, and support when I’m bleeding

Juhi Adhikari

Youth Advisory Board member, Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) Participatory arts-based international research project in the UK, Rwanda, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, and Nepal.

Credit: Problem Image, Shony Bhatta (anonymised), 14-year-old, Female, Nepal

“Please allow me to return home; I’m scared to go to sleep with the cattle nearby. It’s just that I’m going through a normal procedure called menstruation, said 14-year-old Shony Bhatta to her father. “Don’t treat me as unclean, I don’t deserve this.”

In Nepal, the menstruation taboo is a social stigma that considers women and girls unclean or impure during their periods. This is especially true in the far-western and Himalayan regions, and this taboo is called Chhaupadi. Chhaupadi means that women and girls must sleep in isolated huts or sheds outside their homes during menstruation. They are also forbidden from touching other people, animals, plants, water sources, or religious icons. This practice exposes them to health and safety risks, such as infections, snake bites, cold weather, sexual assault, or even death. There are many efforts to end Chhaupadi and promote menstrual health and hygiene in Nepal. The government banned Chhaupadi in 2005 and made it a criminal offense in 2017. Many NGOs and activists are also working to raise awareness, educate communities, distribute sanitary pads, and challenge cultural norms. However, there are still many challenges and barriers to overcome this deeply rooted tradition.

Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) is a participatory arts-based research project which facilitates young people in Nepal, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, and Rwanda to explore the social issues that they believe create localized conflict in their communities and advocate for policy changes to solve the problems. In Nepal, as part of our research project, a group of teenage girls went to several schools and facilitated sessions with other teenage girls to share their perspectives and understand the social issues they are facing in a welcoming space. Many teenage girls raised the issue of ‘untouchability’ as a big concern, and stress for them, and they want to solve this social problem.

In the first drawing, I, Juhi Adhikari, a member of the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) from Nepal, show a reflection from one of the youth discussion sessions on how menstruation is still stigmatized in the Western region of the country. Some people in this region are seen to be very strict regarding their culture of “Chaupadi”. Due to the cultural stigma attached to being “impure” during menstruation and soon after childbirth, females are required to live away from home in a cramped, dangerous shed. As a young child who doesn’t even know how to take care of her personal hygiene and has blood stains all over her skirt and rashes over her thighs, Shony Bhatta is seen in this photo sobbing and pleading with her father to let her return home.

She considers it unreasonable that she had to stay out of school during menstruation, sleeps in a shed, and suffer a lot, simply because she was a girl and bleeding. Her mother, Sharmila Bhatta also feels helpless as she recalls how challenging it was for her to conceive Shony in a cowshed, and how she was forced to stay there with her newborn child for 11 days. She recalls the misery of being deprived of nourishing food and warm clothing to cover her daughter. She feels that Shony had no option but to submit as she looks at her daughter with a broken heart.

Her father, Dholu Bhatta, holds the belief that a girl or woman’s body is possessed by an evil spirit during menstruation and that this is why they should be kept away from the house and shouldn’t be fed nutritious food: doing so, according to their society, would strengthen the evil within them. The crops Shony touches would all die if she were allowed to walk around at this time, and she would poison every man she came into contact with. Even though he knows in his heart that this is wrong, he can’t go against the long-standing custom and asks his daughter to follow it instead. Shony is now forced to live alone.

She is now kept in isolation and is deprived of good quality food, sanitary conditions, independence, humanity, and dignity. While every female bleeds during her period, it is hardly ever positively recognized in the far western part of Nepal, despite being a natural process.

Credit: Solution Image, Shony Bhatta (anonymised), 14-year-old female, Nepal

“I used to assume that Chaupadi was an obligation, but after the awareness education campaign addressing menstruation, bodily autonomy, sex education, cleanliness, and sanitation in the programs and awareness campaign in the village for the youths, I learned that it wasn’t” stated Shony Bhatta.

As part of the discussion, we did not only talk about the social problems, we also explored the possible solutions from the teenage girl’s perspective. This second picture depicts the female voice and how they visualize solutions to make the world a better place to live for girls.

While a woman is menstruating, she may still live happily with her family in their home, as shown by the dark red blood drop in the background and the house inside it. This demonstrates that girls may live at home, receive extra care from their families, and consume nutritious food. The fact that the father and mother are wearing the same shade of clothing highlights their solidarity in supporting their daughter even while she is menstruating, and the shift in social attitudes that are taking place.

Dholu Bhatta moves forward while holding hands with his wife and his daughter. This illustrates how men and women may work together to transform society in ways that are advantageous to both genders. Shony and every other girl/woman like her in their society experienced embarrassment whilst menstruating and previously believed they’ll be treated cruelly and sent to a cowshed both during and after childbirth, while they were both experiencing these natural bodily processes.

Thus, it is very important to leave no one behind and ensure girls also have opportunities for thriving in their careers without any hindrances. The untouchability practice during the menstruation cycle is not only discriminatory but also a very stressful and mentally disturbing phase for many girls in Nepal. Without embracing natural bodily processes gracefully, our girls will not have a better place to live.




Adapting the Methods of the ‘Mobile Arts for Peace’ Project for the Psychosocial Assistance of Children and Youth in Ukraine

By Olga Ovcharuk 

Professor of the Department of Cultural Studies and Intercultural Communications

National Academy of Managerial Staff of Culture and Arts (Ukraine, Kyiv)

Photo Credit: Tina Hartung, Unsplash

Russia’s full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine, began on February 24 2022, marked the beginning of the largest humanitarian catastrophe in Europe since the Second World War. Thousands of innocent people have been killed, huge civilian casualties, millions of refugees, and large-scale destruction of the country’s infrastructure: including schools, universities, museums, libraries, and cultural heritage sites destroyed. This is resulting in the deep psychological trauma for the entire Ukrainian society, especially for its most vulnerable, namely youth and children. That is why the search for opportunities to provide them with psychological support, overcome psychological trauma and stress are extremely important tasks facing Ukraine’s state institutions, non-governmental organisations, educational and scientific institutions, across Ukrainian society today.

In this regard, the National Program of ‘Mental Health and Psychosocial Support’ is of great importance. This program was initiated in 2022 by the Office of the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, and supported by government agencies – the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, and the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine. Equally important for Ukrainian society is the international experience gained in cooperation with educational institutions, civil society representatives, artists, and cultural figures. The «Mobile Arts for Peace» art project attracts attention perhaps most of all as a source of relevant international experience that demonstrates the possibilities of using art to address pressing humanitarian, social, and ethnic problems, including the use of art to provide psychosocial support to children and youth.

Despite the fact that the problems of human psychological health are actively attracting attention and being discussed in many areas of life today, the use of art to address them has not received sufficient coverage. However, art itself is a powerful force capable of transforming a person, his or her worldview, inner world, and causes spiritual transformations of both individuals and the entire community. The influence of art today makes it possible to solve many social problems. This understanding of art is key to the ‘Mobile Arts for Peace’ art project and opens up opportunities to use its ideas to overcome various types of conflicts and provide psychosocial support to children and youth in many modern societies. These ideas are extremely relevant for modern Ukrainian society.

Involvement in the atmosphere of artistic creativity is an effective way to establish interaction, cooperation, and partnerships between all participants in creative communication. The synthesis of the arts – music, dance, drama as a key method of the ‘Mobile Arts for Peace’ project allows us to use the potential of each art to overcome psychological trauma, stress, nervous tension, etc. Involving children in working with shape, color, space, movement, and sound opens up wide opportunities for their creative expression and creates a wide scope for self-realization. In addition, the combination of different types of art is the basis for using the achievements of other scientific fields and creative practices. Thus, in the context of an interdisciplinary approach, it is especially important to turn to art therapy. Its achievements have recently been actively used to restore psychological health, to develop a healthy worldview and lifestyle.

The synthesis of the arts – music, dance, drama combined with an interdisciplinary approach can become a conceptual basis for the development of effective cultural and artistic practices as a way of psychological support for children and youth in Ukraine.

In this context, one of the key methods of the ‘Mobile Arts for Peace’ project is noteworthy. Its essence lies in the combination of different types of art and national cultural traditions of the countries where the project is being implemented. This ensures its success in achieving its goal of building peace and establishing dialogue. At the same time, the involvement of national traditions allows us to solve problems related to the psychological health of children and youth. National cultural traditions not only preserve and transmit from generation to generation the history, values, and worldview of the people, they are a source of formation of the national character and mental experience of the people.

It is important to note that in Ukraine, national cultural traditions are an important component of the national education of children and youth. That is why the national cultural space is the most natural environment for maintaining psychological health through various types of creative activity, such as folk choral singing, playing various folk instruments, folk dances, theater performances, etc.

An essential method of the ‘Mobile Arts for Peace’ project is to use art as a way of creative development of the individual based on his or her individual capabilities, abilities, and inclinations. It is in the atmosphere of artistic creativity that full-fledged conditions are created for the comprehensive self-expression of each person, the disclosure of their creative potential, and the manifestation of creative activity. However, only through an individual approach, the search for the most appropriate type of artistic activity that meets the intellectual, physical, and emotional needs of each person, can a way be found to overcome the consequences of psychological trauma, get rid of negative emotional experience and stress. Involvement of the non-verbal language of art allows to reveal the deep aspects of each person’s spiritual experiences and, at the same time, to find the most effective mechanism of psychological assistance in accordance with individual needs.

It should be noted that many practical steps have already been taken in Ukraine today to provide psychological assistance to children, youth, veterans of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and society as a whole, but it is children and youth who, as an important human capital, need to co-develop the latest humanitarian strategies to overcome the negative psychological experience of war. With this in mind, the valuable practical experience and relevant artistic methods of the ‘Mobile Arts for Peace’ project can be used in contemporary cultural and artistic practices to provide psychological support to Ukrainian children and youth.


MAP Indonesia: Informing Youth Policy through Arts Based Methods

By Harla Octarra from Atma Jaya, Indonesia

This short video shows the journey of how MAP young researchers collaborated with various stakeholders to gradually inform youth policy through research, creating art-forms and an audience with local government. Told from the perspectives of Ibnu, Indri, Haikel, and presented by Harla (as MAP Co-Investigator in Indonesia), the video opens with Harla giving a short introduction to key MAP activities in 2020 and 2021. The opening emphasises how MAP created a space for dialogue and collaboration between young people and cultural artists, which continued to create spaces for dialogue with the community and local government.

The three young people take turns to explain their research process. Engagement between the young people, cultural artists, youth facilitators and the local leader took place during the research processes sheds light on how participatory art-based research can be done. Two-types of briefs, namely policy papers and behind-the-scenes video, are briefly explained as effective mediums in capturing how film and comic books brought readers and viewers closer to the issues. Pointing to the fact that after reading the comic book and seeing the film they felt they could then deeply dialogue about the issues of brawls and sexual violence that the two art-forms raised.

The next steps for informing policy started with an audience with local government and the Art Council who hoped for possible artistic collaborations in the future. The video closes with Harla’s remarks on the potential activities and engagement in 2023 and 2024, which MAP young researchers have and will take part in. These include participation in government-led discussions on child participation policy, becoming facilitators of the National Children’s Consultation Forum, and using arts-based approaches in future research and advocacy.

The full video can be accessed here:


Reflections: Musical Dialogue during the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) conference 2022

By Juhi Adhikari (19) Undergraduate Student at Tribhuvan University & MAP Nepal Youth Researcher

Caption: MAP Nepal young researchers using participatory approaches (2022)

Last year I was selected to join the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE 2022) in Mexico. I was the youngest participant among 50, all working on peace education, either as an educator or researcher/practitioner. I chose the theme “Girls expressing themselves through Musical Dialogue” from my experience with MAP Nepal research. In order to provide a secure space, especially for young girls who are unable to discuss their life experiences, I used the Musical Dialogue activity from the Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) Manual for my workshop at the International Institute of Peace Education (IIPE Mexico 2022). As a young woman researcher, I’ve always believed that most girls experience unforgettable life events at least once at a young age, which have an impact on us both physically and mentally. As a girl, we may have experienced harassment at least once anywhere: at home by family members, in a public vehicle, or even at school by our teachers. Women experience numerous family issues in addition to harassment, because they are often responsible for managing the household.

However, many girls are unable to convey inner feelings to anyone. It might be because of fear that we are constantly being assessed by society that we are unable to freely communicate what we have been through. There is a prevalent belief that even if you are harassed by men, it is your fault. This belief may stem from the type of clothing that you are wearing, but boys/men are never to blame. Always, it’s “you.”

As a result, I could see that the Musical Dialogue module from the MAP manual would be a tremendous benefit for me and others. That’s why I chose this activity to showcase with the IIPE 2022 participants how this one MAP methodology can provide safe space for dialogue amongst girls who have had bitter experiences. Undoubtedly this method aids in assisting the girls’ sentiments. Through this exercise, I have seen girls foster a sense of trust among their peers and freely share their experiences. Since verbal communication is not the only means by which we may share and convey our emotions. We can express empathy for others through nonverbal means such as art and dialogue. The ability to “walk in someone else’s shoes” fosters a much deeper emotional connection. Empathy is extremely powerful since it calls for a deeper understanding of the other person’s thoughts and feelings. I chose this module for my workshop in Mexico for that reason.

My workshop experience: How did I start?

I explained at the beginning of the workshop that the participants should imagine themselves as young ladies between the ages of 10 and 15 and convey their true feelings as they go along. After that, I turned on some upbeat music and gave participants cues to move around the space, such as “Move as fast as you can,” “Move as slow as you can,” “Move as far as you can,” “Go to your favorite corner of the room,” and “Move around the room, and notice the colors or shapes in the room.”

I then instructed them to link elbows with the person closest to them as soon as the music turned off. For a few rounds, I gave the participants a discussion question after the music stopped and they then formed pairs joined at the elbow. The pairs alternately gave their views on each question they were asked. Examples of those initial discussion questions were:

  • Describe yourself in one action or emotion?
  • Your preferred cuisine?
  • Something about you that I’m unaware of?
  • What did you do as soon as you woke up?
  • Have you got a dog?

These types of questions helped to forge bonds and with these kinds of opening conversations, the participants felt at ease and free.

After these simple questions were explored, I could see and feel that the atmosphere in the room had already changed: individuals had begun to trust their peers and calmly listen. As a result, I raised the bar and asked the following key questions about these activities:

  • Who or what inspires you, and why?
  • What aspects of your life do you feel grateful for, and why?
  • Why are you so satisfied with yourself?
  • What has been your most memorable and joyful experience?
  • What has been your life’s most tragic moment?
  • Your long-kept secret that you’ve been reluctant to share?

After the discussion ended, I could see that participants were hugging and crying as a result: delighted to share things that they would have never shared if the questions hadn’t been posed in this way. They were sobbing joyfully and had the impression that they were heard and understood.

I was quite thrilled and moved to witness how this straightforward activity led to the development of connection, respect, empathy, and trust among the participants. I then invited each participant to take a seat in a designated location before moving on to these reflection questions:

  • I asked them how they felt after participating in this activity.
  • What do they think about using this activity to have young girls talk about their problems?
  • What difficulties did they encounter during these activities?

I observed that revealing a secret in a safe space was both emotional and liberating. I could feel how happy they were. When we are unable to communicate, we can feel ourselves being confined within our bodies. I recall that I had this kind of harassment frequently as a teenager, and that I covered it up. I felt lonely, stressed, and incredibly anxious. However, whilst saying it the first time made me feel terrible and depressed. Thankfully, those emotions faded, and a much deeper satisfaction developed in their place.

A few participants even answered when I inquired about any changes that I could possibly make to the task by saying, “We never know how to answer that question.” It seemed to me that for our group it was a powerful experience, and as it was, perfect. In an ideal world, with more time, I guess it would be a good idea to go slowly from happiness to trauma and end up with something happy too.”

When asked for feedback and if getting along with others in groups was simple or difficult, a few participants added, “It was simple, but we must take into account that we already liked everyone who was in their group.”

Here is the poetic Facebook post from one of the participants, after he attended the workshop.

PLAYING OUT OF SILENCE (an abridged version)

By Carlos

Is this my body? I ask in silence.

I don’t always own your heartbeat.

They touch it, smile, turn it on and leave me.

Alone, on an island of numb fear.

Ideas that pop, you feel them gather…


Is this my body?

From your flesh, I hide in silence.

In the hidden confusion the rage

In the mist, I hide my desires.

Are these my wishes?


-Girl- I tell another girl a secret

My body… they touch, smile, turn on and leave me.

A tear streaming down her face, too…

We play five together, dance, look at each other.

And playin’ and dancin’ this body too mine.


Further links:

MAP Nepal

International Institute on Peace Education

Small Grants Final Evaluation report

Small Grants Final Evaluation report

This report focuses on the Small Grants awarded across the four countries, and acts as a follow-up to the Phase One Report produced in the winter of 2021. It seeks to demonstrate, through a narrative case-study approach, how the Small Grants work delivered has promoted arts-based peacebuilding and supported community cohesion. The research reported took place between February and October 2022 and focuses on the research aim below and three key research questions: 

Aim: To evaluate the efficacy of the MAP Small Grants projects and understand their impact in communities. Specifically: 

  1. What outputs were delivered through the Small Grants projects? 
  2. What outcomes for beneficiaries/stakeholders were delivered through the Small Grants projects? 
  3. What impacts delivered for communities and societies across the four countries were delivered through the Small Grants projects? 

A key finding: “Power of arts-based methods: Ultimately, the strength of the projects rested in their use of arts-based methods, which across the funded projects repeatedly demonstrated their power and value in helping to develop community understanding of problems, build empathy and cohesion and drive wider impact through policy” (p.80).


Small Grants Final Report [January 2023]

Vice Chancellor Prof. Neal Juster delivers Welcome Speech at MAP ‘Gathering’ Conference

Vice Chancellor Prof. Neal Juster delivers Welcome Speech at MAP ‘Gathering’ Conference

Vice Chancellor Prof. Neal Juster. Credit: Jonathan Robinson

Welcome to this Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) reception. I would like to welcome you on behalf of the University of Lincoln. I know you have been here, in Lincoln, for most of the week and have been kept rather busy. But I also hope you have felt welcomed into a fabulous city, embraced by the University and been entertained well at some of the city’s establishments every evening.

It is good to see delegates from so many different countries, participants and project investigators. It has been good to see some of the work generated by colleagues from Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal. I know the reception has colleagues from Higher Education Institutions, NGOs, UNESCO, research councils, and, most importantly, members of the MAP Youth Advisory Board together with colleagues from the University of Lincoln

Of course, today is a significant day in the UK, and much of Europe’s, calendar. Armistice day. The day that marked the end of the Great, or First World War. It is also a day, in the UK at least, when we remember those who have fallen in the many conflicts that have occurred since then.

The First World War was supposed to be the war that ended all wars – but of course, it wasn’t. Although today’s headlines are dominated by the conflict in Ukraine there are also conflicts in over 30 other countries primarily in the Middle East, North West Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, in Britain, the media rarely report on these conflicts – I presume because they are seen as being too remote or not directly impacting British citizens.

I am therefore grateful that the MAP project exists because it reminds us that there are millions in the world either amid ongoing conflict or trying to find some reconciliation once the battles have ceased. Of course, the MAP project is not just working with survivors of conflict, but also of other traumatic events including, but not restricted to, drug abuse, sexual violence, child abuse, and absent parents.

By being part of the project, we here in Lincoln, currently many miles from conflict and many years from dealing with direct threats to our territory, can learn a lot. Much of this can and will be, applied to our day-to-day activities particularly around safeguarding and health and well-being.

This year we have published a new strategy, setting our direction. We have given it the title Transforming Lives and Communities.

We are a relatively new University. In the early 90s, the city and region were struggling economically as heavy industry waned. So local people stood up and took action, raising £30 million to create our first campus building in Lincoln. 25 years ago we started with a few hundred students, with no cash, and surrounded by brownfield land in a City that was struggling. But the people of Lincolnshire took the university to their hearts: it was theirs. They built it. And they kept it going.

With the help of partners in the region, we added new academic buildings, accommodation, a library, a theatre, a sports centre and last year a new medical school.

While the City and the University might be unrecognisable from how we looked 25 years ago when the late Queen Elizabeth II opened our first building just on the other side of the railway, the principles that determine how we grow have always been the same: responding to local needs and working hand-in-hand in genuine partnerships with employers and our communities to make big things happen.

We have been seen to make a real difference and are seen to have already transformed many lives and helped to improve communities. There is a strong and compelling story of where we have come from and what we have achieved.

We now have a strong and compelling story of where we are going. We will continue to focus on realizing our long-term ambition of being seen as a university that contributes through regional regeneration and international connectivity.

Our strategy is built upon 3 key themes: Collaborate, Challenge and Transform. The Mobile Arts for Peace project absolutely aligns with these 3 themes: strong collaboration, challenging what has gone before and transforming the future, particularly lives impacted by conflict.  I am grateful therefore to Professor Ananda Breed for taking the lead for us and to the other partners for their leadership and strong collaboration.

I look forward to seeing the project move into its next phase.

Once again welcome, I hope you enjoy the rest of the evening and safe travels to those who will be returning to their home counties over the next few days.

Capacity Building for Adults – Mariah Cannon

Capacity Building for Adults – Mariah Cannon

Author: Mariah Cannon – Institute of Development Studies

Edition: Camilo Soler Caicedo

Caption: Photo-collage workshop (An example of bottom-up engagement to inform adults) – 8th April 2021, Red Nose Foundation, Jakarta, Indonesia


While it was heartening and inspiring to listen to the major successes of the Mobile Arts for Peace projects in their initial stages, I was also delighted by the participants willingness to talk about their disappointments. In these spaces we often only hear of success as this is an essential aspect of justifying resources and securing future funding. However, an exclusive focus on success limits opportunities to learn and improve our work and recognise common challenges across projects and themes and subsequently come up with strategies to address them. In the Mobile Arts for Peace projects, a pattern of challenges was evident because of the openness of presenters. In the cases mentioned by MAP partners and dialogue attendees, these disappointments stemmed from similar lack of external support and buy-in from those they were targeting while the corresponding successes resulted from engaged and committed stakeholders. In this case, and in others, we see that for change to happen, there needs to be both bottom-up and top-down engagement.

Creating spaces for constructive dialogue between young people and decision-makers, particularly politicians and government officials presents a host of challenges. Often, projects focus on empowering and building capacity and skills of the young people with whom they are working. Young people are supported to identify issues that are important to them and to articulate them in formats which can be disseminated and shared with stakeholders and those with the power to bring about change. The adults supporting them introduce them to data collection methods, analysis techniques and facilitate events where young people can share their findings. The final step is where the biggest challenge remains. Young people are empowered and develop capacity to speak to those in power – but are those in power capable of listening and hearing?

While copious resources are put into developing the capacity of young people, rarely do projects elaborate or build opportunities for reversals – building the capacity of the powerful to listen to young people. And yet this is an essential component of change. Entrenched social norms around childhood and youth often mean that children are expected to listen. Yet, if other social norms – such as child marriage and gender discrimination are to be challenged – people, and especially adults – need shift their perceptions of what young people are capable of and the role they play in our societies.

Robert Chambers argues that power does not have to be a zero-sum exchange and that to give up power does not necessitate that someone else loses it, rather he contends that these exchanges can be win-win (2016). To advocate for win-win scenarios requires a shift from focusing only on bottom-up approaches. Instead, transforming power requires that top-down approaches take place alongside bottom-up approaches: ‘the importance of bottom-up power with and power within strategies, vital and often primary though they are, should not distract from the potentials of top-down transformations using power over in ways which are win-win, with gains for the powerful as well as for those who are empowered.’[1] There are spaces in development where this has started to take place – such as working with men on issues of gender inequity, see the work of Equimundo, and working with business owners on issues of working conditions in the CLARISSA programme.

As mentioned by the MAP Nepal team, there was greater success when government officials who were involved in the MAP dialogues recognised the value of youth finding and presenting the issues which were most relevant to their well being as it meant that government officials then knew where to focus their energy and resources. Yet, even when adults are supportive of youth activities, in adult and youth exchanges there is the danger that ‘adults talk too much’ and/or present as experts. Taft’s (2015) work on the Peruvian children’s working movement explores how intergenerational collaboration when embedded in contexts of age-based inequality can reinforce disempowering dynamics. This case and others serve as an important caution to those supporting youth initiatives. Without adequate self-reflection and top-down capacity-building and commitment to address power imbalances, our efforts can unintentionally uphold youth marginalisation.

MAP’s openness to addressing these challenges and others suggests that the next stages of the project will be exciting places for learning and practicing how adults can learn to work with youth in bottom-up policy initiatives.

[1] For more on types of power, see VeneKlasen and Miller (2002)

Policy Brief – Reducing Child Labour through Art based Approaches

Policy Brief – Reducing Child Labour through Art based Approaches

According to Nepal’s Child Act 2075 (2018), child labour means the employment in physical or mental work of children below 18 years of age. Child labour is not only a violation of human rights but also a social crime and a curse of civilization. Child labour not only violates the fundamental rights of children; it also pushes their future into darkness. Child labour deprives children of the education they need to make their future better. Because of child labour, children lose the knowledge, training and skills they gain through education. Children working as child labourers are generally from uneducated, and poor families. Child labour is a common phenomenon in the country and is also considered a part of the socialization process (CBS 2011a). It is deeply rooted in the society with little concerns about its deleterious effects on children’s schooling and future productivity.

Reducing Child Labor through Art based Approaches

Policy Brief – Youth Vulnerability to Drug Use

Policy Brief – Youth Vulnerability to Drug Use

There is no specific research that has identified or adequately addressed the needs of young people who use drugs in Nepal and t here is a consensus among drug experts that drug use is rapidly increasing in urban areas of Nepal. Drugs are becoming more accessible and p eople are experimenting with drugs at a much earlier age, many as young as 12 or 13. The Sachetana Child C lub seeks to raise awareness of the issues by sharing a video they have made exploring drug use and its effects. Their research has also generaged the followin g key policy recommendations.

Nasiliye and The Children of Migrant Workers

Policy Brief – Child Marriage

Policy Brief – Child Marriage

Child marriage is a violation of human rights, comprising the development of girls, putting them at risk of abuse and violence, and reinforcing the gendered nature of poverty. Despite attempts by Nepali government and non governmental organizations to end child marriage, Nepal still has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. The Mohankanya Child Club at the Mohankanya Secondary School in Palpa decided to explore the issue of child marriage using art based methods. They created a film based on real stories of young people, and have used this both to raise awareness among their peers, families and communities, and to open dialogue with local decision makers. They have also developed the following recommendations:

Nasiliye and The Children of Migrant Workers

Policy Brief – Campaign against Discrimination through Art-based Approaches

Policy Brief – Campaign against Discrimination through Art-based Approaches

Nepali legislation protects citizens including young people and children against all forms of discrimination. However, society still discriminates against people because of their gender or because of their caste. Young researchers in the Janapriya Chil d Club, Palpa, have explored the issue of discrimination, looking particularly at its root causes. Using art based methods, including street drama, music, photo collage, and a short film, Club members have engaged in dialogue with the Teachers’ and Parent s’ Association and developed an action plan for a campaign against discrimination. Their work has informed the following recommendations.

Nasiliye and The Children of Migrant Workers

Policy Brief – Raising Awareness about Drug Use by Young People

Policy Brief – Raising Awareness about Drug Use by Young People

There are currently no public drug treatment facilities in Nepal, despite significant annual increase sin the number of drug users in the country. Treatment facilities are outsourced to private organizations and provided at a cost that is beyond the reach of most people. This means that legal provisions granting immunity from prosecution to those who enter drug treatment are denied to people who cannot afford it. With the majority of drug users below 20 when they first start using drugs, this issue has a major impact on young people. Our research explores the causes of drug use and suggests some key policy recommendations.

Nasiliye and The Children of Migrant Workers

Policy Brief – How Does Ethnic Untouchability Affect our Society

Policy Brief – How Does Ethnic Untouchability Affect our Society

Despite legal protections both in the UN Convention of Children’s Rights and in the Constitution of Nepal caste based discrimination is still a prominent feature of Nepali society. People who are considered of low caste known as ‘Dalits’ or ‘untouchables’ are considered lesser human beings. They often face marginalization, social and economic exclusion, an d segregation in housing, with women and girls particularly vulnerable to different forms of abuse. Members of the Divyasewa Child club of Janajyoti Secondary School, Makwanur, decided to explore the issues surrounding caste based discrimination, using ar t based methods to understand different perspectives. This policy brief captures their findings and key policy recommendations.

Nasiliye and The Children of Migrant Workers

Policy Brief – Using Art to Reduce Human Trafficking

Policy Brief – Using Art to Reduce Human Trafficking

Human trafficking poses a serious challenge to Nepal’s socioeconomic development, and peace building. This policy brief is based on arts based research carried out by young people and provides an outline of the research findings and recommendations to prevent human trafficking. These recommendations are intended to complement the work of the Government of Nepal and various organizations making efforts to prevent human trafficking . Our research has highlighted the need to raise awareness in communities and to make local government accountable for reducing human trafficking .

Nasiliye and The Children of Migrant Workers

Policy Brief – Reducing Child Labour through Art-Based Approaches

Policy Brief – Reducing Child Labour through Art-Based Approaches

Nepali law prohibits child labour and has set targets to banish all types of child labour by 2025. Child labour is recognized as a violation of human rights, deprives children of education and impacts their future. However, despite this, recent data shows that over 15% of children in Nepal are engaged in child labour. Child club members of the Bhusaldanda secondary school explored the issue using art based methods to analyse the root causes and impact of child labour. The research shows that more needs to be done to raise awareness and to monitor the implementation of the legislation..

Nasiliye and The Children of Migrant Workers

Participatory Mural on the Issue of Street Brawl  by MAP Young People in Jakarta, Indonesia

Participatory Mural on the Issue of Street Brawl by MAP Young People in Jakarta, Indonesia

This mural was created by Children’s Forum of Cipinang Besar Utara (CBU) in Jakarta and was facilitated by an Indonesian artist-educator, Vina Puspita. The mural was initiated to respond to the available space/wall at RPTRA (Child-Friendly Integrated Public Space) of CBU in East Jakarta alongside young people’s interest to bring up social message about street brawls (tawuran) to the community. That issue has been persistently raised by MAP young people during the MAP project phases 1 and 2.


The participatory mural process took three days to finish. On the first day, they began the session with brainstorming on the themes and messages. Free writing techniques was being used to gather ideas and thoughts spontaneously. It was followed by a discussion to finalise the concept. Furthermore, they continued with the process of sketching, composing the mural layout and creating a digital simulation on the wall. They started to paint on the wall on the second day and finished on the third day. 


“Indonesia Butuh Kamu” as the title of the mural, is translated as “Indonesia Needs You”. It is a perspective that MAP young people would like to offer to their fellow youths, saying that they are valuable and needed by the country and even the world. The mural, thus, contains social messages for young people to stop fighting, build more empathy and and capacity by spending more time on positive things. Moreover, this work also reflected the importance of a family situation that is free from violence and community support for young people.


Here is the link to the 3-minute video that captures the process and the result of the mural:


Here is the location of the mural:


Policy Brief – Violence (Osh)

Policy Brief – Violence (Osh)

Более 11% детей в Кыргызстане имеют хотя бы одного родителя, находящегося в миграции. Пока родители заняты зарабатыванием денег, дети остаются с родственниками. Почти 73% детей сообщают о жестоком обращении или пренебрежении в семье, в котором они остались.

Nasiliye and The Children of Migrant Workers

Policy Brief – School Sanitation

Policy Brief – School Sanitation

Мы отобрали проблему антисанитарных условий уличного туалета школы, так как думали, что нас она касается в первую очередь. Проблема затрагивает большинство учащихся школы, но многие молчат, стесняются говорить об этой проблеме: тему туалетов в обществе обсуждать не принято. Нужно понимать, чтобы решить проблему, необходимо о ней говорить и стараться вместе обсуждать ее решение».

Nasiliye and The Children of Migrant Workers

Policy Brief – School Racketeering

Policy Brief – School Racketeering

Проблема школьного рэкета является актуальной не только в нашем сообществе, но и по всей стране. Она остается нерешенной, приобретает разные формы. О данной проблеме молчат в школах, о ней никому не говорят подвергающиеся насилию дети, поэтому данное правонарушение процветает

Nasiliye and The Children of Migrant Workers

Policy Brief – Low Interest in Reading Among Children (Batken)

Policy Brief – Low Interest in Reading Among Children (Batken)

Чтение формирует словарный запас, а человек думает словами. Чем больше слов у человека в запасе, тем шире и глубже его мышление. Исчезающая привычка к чтению среди подростков вызывает серьезную тревогу.

Nasiliye and The Children of Migrant Workers