Most Understanding Husband Campaign - Equal Access, Nepal
The most understanding husbands of Nepal
With support from the UN Trust Fund, the international NGO Equal Access has developed a ground-breaking project, VOICES, that reaches over a million people in Nepal every week through a radio program Samajhdari (‘Mutual Understanding’). Building on community reporters and local listening circles, Samajhdari allows for both women and men to simultaneously be the listeners and speakers, the changed and the change makers.
As part of the radio program, Equal Access also launched a unique initiative entitled the Most Understanding Husband Campaign, to provide positive male role models, and to encourage men to take responsibility for their actions. Through radio and community outreach, Equal Access invited men to nominate themselves as “the most understanding husband” and in response, thousands of men sent candid messages about their thoughts and actions. Jaya Luintel, coordinator of the project says: “For a man in Nepal to write that he no longer has sex with his wife without her consent is truly unusual.”
Ten husbands were selected as finalists, with their stories featured on the national radio series. Many of them continue to serve as positive role models, on the air and as advocates in their communities.
Creating safe spaces for women and men to discuss sensitive issues of gender inequality, violence against women, and HIV, Samajhdari and the Most Understanding Husband Campaign have helped to change Nepal’s social landscape, breaking the silence around these issues and fostering concrete activities for positive change. As a result, Equal Access records that 79% men support interventions to stop violence against women – a significant increase from the 13% at the start of the project. Furthermore, 35% of men state they would speak against violence against women, compared to an initial 16.3%.