Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell launched a campaign to help women suffering from gender based violence in Nepal last week.

The Goodwill Ambassador of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, made an impassioned plea for the protection of women as she joined Nepal’s Prime Minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, in launching a national campaign to stop violence against women.

“Violence against women and girls is not acceptable in any country; it’s not acceptable in the United Kingdom and it’s not acceptable in Nepal,” said Ms. Halliwell. "Though it’s the 21st century, mothers are still dying in childbirth and subjected to violence within the home.

“Women deserve to be empowered in all areas, in health, education, and to feel safe. It’s a proven fact; a strong healthy educated mother is the key to a healthy, prosperous country. We all benefit: we take care of them, they take care of us.”

Launching the year-long campaign that he will champion, Prime Minister Nepal declared 2010 the Nepali Year to End Gender-Based Violence. He committed to helping to end such violence and challenged Nepalis to make similar personal pledges.

The campaign is expected to engage many partners, including ministries, political parties, the police, army, the judiciary, civil society and development partners.

Ms. Halliwell took part in the launch during a three-day goodwill mission that also highlighted the problems of maternal death and injuries, such as uterine prolapse. A Nepalese woman dies of childbirth every four hours, while 1 in 10 suffer from prolapse, which is sometimes called ‘fallen womb’.

UNFPA supports Nepal in reproductive health, women’s empowerment and population and development strategies. It assists the Government in improving the quality of health services, such as emergency obstetric care, by helping to increase the availability of trained health workers and medical equipment. It also supports access to voluntary family planning, skilled attendance at birth and quick transportation to maternal health facilities, which are among the most effective means of reducing deaths and injuries during pregnancy or childbirth.

Source: UNFPA

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