Radha Paudel

Radha is the Founder and President of Action Works Nepal (AWON), an NGO that works in the most conflict affected regions of Nepal, with some of the most vulnerable communities.

When the Maoist insurgency erupted in Nepal in 1996, Radha was working as a manager of a health institute in what is today recognized as one of the most conflict affected areas. During the conflict, there were parallel governments and requests had to be made for grant of visa for entry and exit in the periphery of the district. Health institutions were unable to staff their organizations and medicines were unavailable. Despite these problems and threats from both parties in the conflict, Radha stayed in the rural villages, negotiated access for the communities and set up a blood bank and a hospital for surgery. In November 2002, she was caught in a 13 hour cross-fi re where she witnessed the deaths of many women and men, and saw orphaned children and aged left to fend for themselves.

This experience marked her deeply and she decided to devote her time and effort to work for the poor and conflict affected who remain overlooked. Today she works with local political leaders, community based organizations and security personnel to create greater awareness and accountability to normative standards of international treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and UN Security Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on Women, Peace & Security. She also coordinates the `Women’s Campaign for Peace and Constitution’, aimed at formulating a gender responsive constitution and peace building process in Nepal. Her motto is ‘no women, no peace’.