It is time to celebrate achievements of amazing Atlas Corps Alumni who are making inspiring impacts against COVID-19. Today we want to talk with our Alumna Medha (Class 16, Nepal, Host: The Nike Foundation) about her efforts to support women, girls, and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal.

Medha founded Visible Impact, a non-profit organization that aims to create Visible Impact on the lives of women, girls, and youth by unleashing their social and economic leadership.

During the current lockdown, Medha and Visible Impact continue to support women and girls by protecting their sexual and reproductive rights and ensuring that they have access to necessary services. Thank you so much for everything that you do! We wish you the best with this inspiring work!


Name: Medha Sharma

Home Country: Nepal

Current Organization: Visible Impact

Role at current organization: CEO and President

Social Issues that you have worked with: Gender Inequality

 

Please share with us how you are working to support women who face domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the early days of lockdown, there was a lot of fake information being circulated, so Visible Impact carried out active surveillance in order to counter the fake news. With joint efforts from many organizations and people, around 30 portals have been shut down in Nepal at this time. 

Through our social media write-ups on several platforms, we have been disseminating information about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and sharing ways to gain access to various services during the lockdown. We have linked people with questions to the appropriate service points and also raised SRHR and domestic violence as an important issue at several webinars, write-ups, and discussions with policymakers. 

The current focus of protection from COVID-19 is mostly directed towards health workers and security personnel; however, it is also equally important to acknowledge that several young volunteers are at the frontline providing relief support and do not have adequate access to PPEs. Visible Impact is, therefore, providing communication support and PPEs to a national youth network. 

One of the most overlooked components of relief is menstruation. Since periods don’t stop even during pandemics, we celebrated Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28 with many youthful measures, such as doodle it contests, TikTok challenges, period memes, and chitchat with celebrities with a goal of ensuring that young people have access to information despite everything else going on in the world. We are also distributing reusable sanitary pads and cups to the hardest-hit populations such as women and girls who work in carpet factories, urban slums and shelter homes, and youth with disabilities.

To ensure that SRHR remains a priority during the current pandemic, we are providing free e-courses, Facebook Lives, and webinar series on various aspects of SRHR. This issue remains really important to all of us at Visible Impact because inadequate access to SRHR service is hampering the rights and economic access of many families in Nepal and throughout the world.

Do you have anything you would like to say to everybody about how we can all do our part in this pandemic to support women?

Women have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, and especially in a patriarchal society like Nepal, the violence that women and girls are facing is going to have very long term consequences. It is important that there is open access to justice, protection from violence, and sexual and reproductive health services. This once in a century pandemic has given us all lessons to learn. I hope that everyone is able to view the safety of women and girls at their surroundings as their responsibility during this time of COVID-19 and that the world will be better and safer for all girls and women post COVID-19.


 

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