Aawaaj: a voice from Nepal

We are delighted to welcome Aawaaj to the Keeping Children Safe members’ network and our Keeping Victims and Survivors Safe Programme. We are really looking forward to working with them on their child safeguarding measures.

Aawaaj is a non-governmental and non-profit social organization established in 1999 by the joint initiatives of professionals with strong hope to demonstrate capacity against violence and discrimination of children and women in Midwestern region, Nepal. Lack of awareness and ignorance about issues of violence, sexual abuse and neglect, were highly prevalent in the Midwestern region, Nepal when Mrs. Irada Gautam initiated “Aawaaj.” It is the Nepali word for “Voice”; indeed being the voice of those whose voices was often unheard.

As always, we like to post a news story about new members, and promote the organisation amongst the KCS network and online following.

By Irada Gautam, President Aawaaj

What made you decide to join the KCS members’network? 

As an organization working in child rights and protection, since our inception in 1999, we are really interested in the Keeping Victims and Survivors Safe Programme. We thought the experiences and lessons of the KCS network members will be a learning opportunity for us, and we will also give us a platform to share our learnings. We also aim to upgrade our child protection measures and policies, and by attending seminars and trainings offered acquire more skills.

This programme provides us with a chance to partner up and learn from like-minded organizations at an international level. Our organization values such alliances and networks. We believe such approach to be effective and necessary in today’s world.

What is your key driver to implement child safeguarding? 

Our mission is to eradicate all sorts of sexual, domestic and conflict based violence as well as safeguard the rights of girls and children at risk through empowerment. We attempt to make a difference in the lives of the women and children who deserve equal rights as any one of us. We envision a society free of violence, exploitation and rights violation.

Child protection and ensuring child rights have always been a core focus of our organization, and our work. This aim of creating a society free of all forms of violence and rights violations have been the key drivers in our ambition to implement child protection and safeguarding.  

Where do you think your organisation will be regarding child safeguarding in a year? 

We have long-term targets regarding child protection and safeguarding child rights mapped out in our strategic planning (2020-2025). We will focus on public  awareness against all forms of violence against children and girls, child marriage,  human trafficking and sexual abuse. We will work in cooperation and coordination with local government, law enforcement agencies, legal entities and civil society. We will strengthen the mechanisms that are already in place but have not been as effective due to weak planning and implementation. We are also really looking forward to working with KCS and know that this will add value to our work and experience.

In a year, we see ourselves working with the local, regional and international partners to promote child rights. We also aim to reform policies in child protection within the organization and advocate those reforms in policymaking levels of local and provincial governments. We aim at working together with a range of  partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries. 

What message do you want to tell your staff, donors and the wider world? 

We believe a world free of violence against girls and children is possible if all of us  do our part from our side. We have a clear belief in our organizational environment  that: children living in poverty, lack of proper education, guidance, and suffering from violence, trauma and violation of rights, each woman suffering due to unjust societal structure, unawareness due to tradition and culture, inadequate and archaic laws, and ineffective implementation of existing laws.

We believe that every individual has potential to live happy and fulfilling life, and that we can make this possible if we work hand-in-hand with our heart full of empathy, respect and understanding to one  another.

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