Asian Development Bank (ADB) will administer $3.5 million in grants from the government of the United Kingdom and ADB’s Gender and Development Cooperation Fund to expand Women and Children Service Centres (WCSCs) to 15 additional districts.

“The WCSCs that were piloted in five districts demonstrated that focused interventions to reduce vulnerability of women and children can influence social behaviors and protection procedures in a positive way,” said ADB country director for Nepal Kenichi Yokoyama. “We are glad to see that the project is now rolled out to more districts of Nepal.”

Since July 2009, Nepal police have used a $950,000 grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and the government of the United Kingdomto built the five pilot centers and established a proper support system for survivors. The centers are staffed with women police officers and kept distinct and separate from other facilities.

Reporting of cases of gender-based violence has since increased by more than 30 per cent in each of the five original districts, indicating growing trust in the justice system. Police in those districts are now trained in contextual issues surrounding incidences of violence and in gender-sensitive crime investigation techniques

The project has also established communication networks in each district to run community awareness campaigns and preventative strategies to reduce violence and abuse, encourage reporting, resolution and/or prosecution of cases to improve justice, and encourage confidence in the legal system.

To expand the successful project to 15 new districts, the UK government is contributing $3.2 million in grants, while ADB’s Gender and Development Cooperation Fund is contributing $300,000. The government will contribute $380,000. The implementing agency is the Women and Children Service Directorate within the Crime Investigation Department of Nepal Police.

The first batch of new centers will be built inAchham, Bajhang, Dolakha, Saptari, Siraha, Mahottari, and Tanahun.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2013, ADB assistance totaled $21.0 billion, including cofinancing of $6.6 billion.

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