Prativa Subedi

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 1992


This profile was prepared when Prativa Subedi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1992.
The New Idea
Prativa founded Women's Awareness Center Nepal (WACN) to help women develop their potential, gain self-confidence, and step into the public sphere as active members of society. WACN also fights social, cultural, legislative, and all other forms of discrimination against women. Prativa began her work among underprivileged groups of women who were initially wary of outsiders. To overcome their fears, and to learn more about their situation, she stayed in their villages, gradually building her understanding and awareness among the women. She then helped them initiate concrete improvements in their communities, ranging from environmental conservation projects, tree nurseries, and health care services to income generation and money-saving programs.
In projects like these, Prativa helps women make action-oriented plans, facilitates training, forms links with concerned agencies, and organizes exposure visits. The women she works with begin to take leadership roles and bring about social change within their communities. Their doing so overturns everyone's traditional gender assumptions, setting in motion hard-to-reverse, new perceptions.
As perceptions are overturned at the village level, it is essential that the mindsets of community workers and development organizations change in parallel. Prativa works at all levels to make this possible. Realizing that the exploitation of women is not unique to rural areas, she set up a Women's Resource Center in the city of Kathmandu to reach urban women through sharing sessions, role playing, and audiovisual presentations. The center also serves as a coordinating link between the rural and urban women's groups.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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