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Anima: A womens rights activist's first day at the World Urban Forum

Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 13:50

This week is World Urban Forum in Colombia and through the week we'll be sharing views from young people inside the walls of the Forum. Today we bring you a post from Anima Poudel. She is 23 years old from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal and a graduate student of Development Studies. She joined Activista Nepal in 2011 and since then has been an active youth activist. She's especially keen on campaigning for womens rights and fighting for safe cities for women - she has experienced sexual harrasment herself and now fights for a world where other women won't have to!

This is her experience:

I reach to the forum around 9 am. The meeting was going on in yellow pavilion Room no 2 and the meeting was of the safer cities partner meetings. The main agenda of the meeting was to talk and share about creating crime free, violence free and just cities by insuring all the safety means that are required for it. I missed out the firsthalf the session as I went there very late as my hotel is really very far from the venue.

The meeting was about the urban safety and issues related to it. It mainly focused on creating criminal activities free and violence free city. Shockingly, with all sorts of discussion going on, the speakers on the panel didn’t mentioned a single thing on womens safety and issues that women face everyday being the part of the city.

Only after when Kalpana Vishwanath and Vandana Snyder talked about the issue, people on the panel and other participants thought about it. UNDOC delegates said that crime prevention has brought to the social development. It is good to influence in such areas like violence against women. According to him, every focus area gets support from the different thematic agencies and perhaps UN- women working on it too. He also mentioned that they need more tools to get more data about violence against women for data analysis. UN-habitat is jointly working with UN-Women and UNICEF to address or look upon the issues related to VAW and child issues.

With interactive discussion the session came to an end. But the launching of interesting app called Safetipin by Kalpana Vishwanath dragged the attention of many participants who were about to leave the room. With the launching of the app the meeting finished.

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After the meeting we got invited by one of the UN-Habitat member to come and see the cultural event that the locals have organized for us. He was a man from Peru, whose working area I Kritipur, Nepal but currently residing in Nairobi, Kenya.

We went to see the play around 6:30 pm. The play was about historic incident that took place some few years ago in Medellin. There was one yellow house at that place. The house was covered with the white clothes and on the front part of the yellow house the play was being played. One of the local from Medellin said that, this house used to be a brothel some years ago, which now has turned into a cultural house. The play was in Spanish, so, I hardly got the most parts of the play and the things that were being said during the play. Though some of the parts were translated by Vandana and the other guy next to me, most of the parts I figured out it by myself. I could understand that there were some issues related with the prostitute and brothel that took placed in Colombia including the World War II.  And the guy also told me that the Mayor was among those people who used to visit the brothel. He was deeply in love with one of the prostitute who was been killed by one of the police officer at that time. The play was also about the story about the nearby grocery store.

I enjoyed the play a lot. Moreover, I thanked myself and the team who brought me there to see such a wonderful play. I thanked myself for going there and seeing the other side of Medellin, which I wouldn’t have done alone. It was the other part of the Medellin that existed in real. It was a great experience. Not to forget to mention, I also got a chance to try and taste the local food and drink of Colombia.

As it was the first day of the forum I was bit nervous and excited at the same time. I could see lots of people around. All in all I enjoyed the day.