Lalitpur, Thursday, November 30, 2023.
The Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal (FECOFUN), orchestrated a poignant poetry competition centered around the theme of ’16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.’ The event, hosted at the Godavari Botanical Garden on Thursday morning, witnessed Raju Jhallu clinching the top position. Suraj Parajuli secured second place, followed by Manisha Shrestha in third, and Bishal Saud, who received the Sympathy Award.
Aligned with the 16 Days of Activism campaign, the poetry competition underscored the crucial need for collective efforts to eliminate gender-based violence against women and girls.
Participation in the competition extended beyond geographical boundaries, with eleven contenders, including both virtual and in-person participants like Sushma Timilsina, Raju Ubarkoti, Janak Karki, Surya Dahal, and Sujata Basyal, reciting their verses. Shivaram Upreti, an adjudicator and teacher at Saraswati Secondary School, Bhaktapur, played a significant role in evaluating the entries. FECOFUN’s Saraswati Khadka and local youth, Nikalas Silwal, also graced the event with their poetic renditions.
Parvata Gautam, the Central Secretary-General of the Mahasangh, emphasized the importance of community forest protection. She highlighted the Mahasangh’s success in conserving 46% of the nation’s total forest area through anti-deforestation initiatives. Gautam reiterated the organization’s commitment to promoting concepts of forest conservation, management, gender equality, and social inclusion.
Gautam congratulated the triumphant poets, encouraging them to persist in their literary endeavors for social awareness, particularly regarding gender-based violence. She stressed the ongoing need for vigilance against societal distortions through literature.
Acknowledging global concerns about gender-based violence, Gautam praised the Mahasangh’s consistent efforts in organizing diverse programs for the 16 Days campaign. She expressed gratitude to the poets, both physically present and virtually engaged, for their active participation in the poetry reading session.
Dilli Giri, the program coordinator and Mahasangh’s secretary, emphasized that violence, rooted not only in gender but also in unequal power dynamics, constitutes a severe violation of human rights. Giri highlighted the pivotal role poets play in curbing or minimizing such crimes through campaigns and literary efforts.
Giri acknowledged the heightened awareness among poets concerning patriarchal thinking and societal discrimination against women and marginalized sections. He emphasized the necessity for poets to actively engage in campaigns or movements aimed at curtailing violent acts, paralleling efforts in other societal sectors.
The event highlighted the active participation of women, including Mahasangh’s Sujan Khanal, Sandesh Chaudhary, District representatives of Mahasangh Prem Ghimire, and Keshavraj Giri, in addition to leaders from Dialo Community Forest, Naudanda Community Forest, and Naudhara Community Forest.
Emphasizing the pivotal role of literature, especially poetry, in raising awareness, challenging societal norms, and contributing to societal transformation towards gender equality and social justice, the organizers and local leaders called for sustained collaboration between literature and society for the benefit of all.