Nepal Research Group
Nepal Research Workshop and Advisory Panel meeting, July 11th-12th, Newcastle University
A round table workshop on Nepal- focused research was held in July 2011 to provide a wider forum to debate the project’s on-going findings. This event was organised to coincide with a face to face meeting of the project’s Advisory Panel and brought in colleagues from the UK, Canada and Bangladesh. Sixteen experts (see list of participants below) draw from policy makers, academics and activists in the fields of development, South Asia Studies and trafficking participated in a roundtable discussion on three presentations. Meena Poudel presented project findings on ‘Citizenship Challenges for Post Trafficked Women in the New Nepal’ alongside papers from Sara Parker and Vicky Canning (Liverpool John Moores University) on education and gender research and Katharine Rankin (University of Toronto) on the honour economy. A lively discussion followed, tackling issues like stigma and livelihoods, gender and citizenship, and the impacts of the geopolitics of aid. Drawing on experience from Rwanda, Justine Uvuza from Newcastle University raised questions about the different contexts of trafficking in conflict situations, whilst others provided insights from elsewhere in South Asian and Europe.
Advisory Panel Meeting
Both in the roundtable and the Advisory panel meeting the following day the project team benefitted greatly from discussion with the Advisory Panel members focusing on issues of methodology, analysis and dissemination as well as an in-depth discussion of the projects finding on, and definitions, of livelihoods and trafficking. Cindy Berman (DFID Social Development Advisor for Asia) raised questions about whether labour or migration law provides most protection for trafficked women; Maggie O’Neill (Applied Social Sciences, Durham University) asked about the conflict between rights- based discourses and discourses of honour; Farida Akhter (UBINIG, Bangladesh) flagged concerns about a policy language shift towards Trafficking in Persons that moves attention away from Trafficking in Women and Children specifically and started a discussion on the role of cross-border treaties and the place of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in supporting anti-trafficking in the South Asia region. Katharine Rankin asked about the alternative spaces for shared living available to returnee trafficked women with Shakti Samuha and also explored questions about the project’s approach to analysis. Maggie O’Neill also provided important perspective on handling the specific issues that arise from doing work on topics that involve violence. The Advisory Panel also discussed the remaining fieldwork relating to interviews with anti-trafficking activists and stakeholders as well as the Advisory Panel’s involvement in the dissemination strategy which includes a final workshop in Kathmandu in the autumn and a policy workshop in London, in spring 2012.
Participants in the Nepal research roundtable: Newcastle University, 11/7/11