Case Study

Nepal Mahila Ekata Samaj

Nepal Mahila Ekata Samaj (NMES) is a network-based organisation of landless (squatter and informal settlement) women. It started as a loose network formed to advocate for safe shelter rights and economic empowerment of women living in squatter and informal settlements in Nepal.

NMES works on advocacy campaigning for safe shelter and land rights of women living in squatter settlements. Its work transcends to issues of livelihood, lack of citizenship, deprivation of basic public services (such as electricity and drinking water), disaster risk reduction (such as flooding, as squatter settlements are mostly built along riverbanks), violence against women owing to landlessness/homelessness therefore addressing the double marginalisation of women as a result of landlessness/homelessness and patriarchal inequalities.

NMES has faced several instances of targeted, episodic backlash from state functionaries (especially the Kathmandu Municipality, Ministry of Urban Development and its departments, Nepal Army, and political parties) and local communities where the settlements are located. These instances of backlash have come in response to protests/mobilisations by the movement, successful negotiations/advocacy gains. The backlashes have been experienced in the form of forced/threats of eviction, stigmatisation, and vilification of NMES leaders and members, and co-optation and subversion of the issue of safe shelter and land rights of squatter and informal settlements.

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