Mountain Valley in Nepal

By Alice Hutchins,

When GSAN was first founded, the concept of establishing powerful links and creating networks in all areas of the world seemed like a remote possibility. In recent months however, it has become evident that governments and organisations are beginning to co-operate across a vast array of issues, to share research and achieve common goals. One prominent example is the recent trip to Nepal undertaken by Gina Yannitell Reinhardt, Alejandro Quiroz Flores, Dominik Duell, and Shovita Adhikari.

Under an Impact Acceleration Grant funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and administered by the University of Essex, the GSAN team first hosted a workshop to gather information that would help them design a policy intervention to prohibit child trafficking in Nepal, and then travelled to Nepal to speak with practitioners and meet potential collaborators for their project. The workshop was attended by the Ambassador of Nepal to the United Kingdom, H.E Dr. Durga Bahadur Subedi, as well as experts in disaster and risk studies such as Professor. This was a successful process as it not only helped the team to develop their knowledge of trafficking and disasters, it will also shape future approaches to how their research is conducted.

Shovita Adhikari found that “In changing the context of federalism, a lot of power has been given to the local government to formulate laws and deliver policies. In our meeting with the local government, it was noted that they were working towards ensuring a systematic birth registration system in Nepal. Earlier, with no system in place, it was easier to forge documents and for many stakeholders, this was something traffickers often took advantage of. Ensuring all children are registered seems like a promising start in protecting the rights of the children in Nepal.”

A further success of the excursion was to develop contacts and meet with officials of organisations who are pioneering changes in the human trafficking industry. The Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens is a national government agency that has been trying to counter these societal issues. In meetings with the GSAN team, the Ministry sought assistance in designing a survey to collect a baseline measure of trafficking in Nepal. The team now hopes to expand their relationship with the Ministry as they develop a policy intervention to test in Nepal.

Another influential organisation that worked alongside the GSAN cohorts is Child Reach Nepal who aims to empower children and their families and promote equal rights to safety, quality of life and education. They provided imperative insight into the trafficking issue, and how they have begun to tackle it, by creating health programmes and school improvement projects, raising awareness and funding for those who are struggling, and creating inclusion centres to help keep families away from the desperate situations that often lead to trafficking (for more information, please see my blog on causes of trafficking here).

Since returning from the trip, the GSAN members have begun to utilise the information they gained and incorporate it into their work, by seeking funding to develop and collect baseline trafficking measures, implement and test an intervention with randomised controlled trials, and track potential intervention outcomes. The success of the trip is beginning to forge a network in Nepal is a quintessential indicator that networks like GSAN can influence progress and harness resources from key political and academic agents spanning the globe.

Alice is a Creative Writing Graduate from the University of East Anglia and has recently joined the ImpacTeam, Department of Government at the University of Essex.  This is Alice’s travel blog.