APCOM HERO Awards 2022’s honourees list

By November 15, 2022 December 2nd, 2022 Newsroom, Regional, What We Do

Community Ally Honourees

Jamuna Sitaula

(Nepal)

1. Tell us about yourself

I am Jamuna Sitaula, Advocacy Focal at Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN). I have a Masters in Sociology (MA) from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. Since 2000, I have been advocating for protection and promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in the country. I am married and have two children.

2. Tell us about your work

For more than 23 years, I have been working as a Senior Advocacy Officer/Advocacy Focal at the Family Planning Association of Nepal where my primary responsibilities have been to advocate with the policy-makers/government to make more favorable SRH policies and rights, especially for disabled people, female sex workers, PLHIV, LGBTIQ, female drug users, and more.

I also work to ensure sexual rights of youth by providing age-wise Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). As a result, we have succeeded for the first time in incorporating CSE in the national curriculum of Nepal.

Additionally, due to more than three decades of FPAN advocacy, another milestone was to legalize abortion in Nepal. Currently, we are advocating for same-sex marriage and home-based safe abortion and ANC/PNC service for disabled people and for those who aren’t able to come to health centers. Recently, we also established a hormonal therapy and laser clinic in FPAN–the first clinic focusing on LGBTIQA+ in the country.

3. What one achievement you’ve accomplished that you’re most proud of?

Our involvement in the legalization of safe abortion in Nepal after a two decades campaign and my effort into this is something that I am really proud of. This is an important milestone for Nepal.

Likewise, for the first time in Nepal, there is a hormonal therapy clinic, the first clinic focusing on LGBTIQ +in the country, where our strong advocacy role was meaningful.

4. What do you find most challenging about your work?

It is still challenging to work in the sexual rights sector in Nepal and advocating for same-sex marriage is even more demanding because most policymakers are not in favor and do not want to engage in these issues.

Advocating on Sexual Rights remains as a challenging in Nepal.

5. What do you do to recharge your battery?

Yes, I agree it becomes challenging at times especially when you are working alone but my team members are the ones who motivate me to continue learning and encourage me to work harder for better results. So, when our hard work pays off, we recharge ourselves by spending meaningful time out of work with each other and with our loved ones.

6. What is your vulnerability and how do you overcome it?

Not being able to manage time is my biggest vulnerability because I have to work on several advocacy issues simultaneously. As a result, I sometimes do not get enough opportunities to work in depth on each issue due to other priority agendas.

I try to overcome it by working with a team and delegating my work to others. 

7. You have been nominated for the Community Ally category of the HERO Awards. What was your reaction?

I was feeling mixed emotions. I was really happy to be nominated and also emotional at the same time because the work of my organization was recognized by the team of APCOM. I have spent nearly 2/3rd of my life at FPAN advocating day and night for several Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) agendas in a country like Nepal. I have hardly received any national recognition for my effort in this field and receiving this international nomination was really heartwarming and overwhelming.

8. Despite the fact that the COVID-19 is still with us, what hopeful message would you like to share with the communities in the Asia Pacific?

Stay safe and be kind to each other.


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