Women in water governance, TROSA Project

Rural Women’s Development and Unity Centre (RUWDUC)

Women collecting samples to monitor safe drinking water for RUWDUC's TROSA Project


Rural Women’s Development and Unity Centre (RUWDUC) is a nonprofit organization that supports rural development programs in environmental conservation, health care, and women’s empowerment throughout the far-western region of Nepal. RUWDUC provides scholarships for primary school students, hosts educational workshops in reproductive health and safe childcare, and provides shelter and maternal care for pregnant women throughout rural, at-risk Nepali communities. RUWDUC’s initiatives have helped thousands of low-income communities access quality health care services, including pre- and post-natal care for women and their children.

RUWDUC’s current initiatives focus largely on disaster relief in response to climate impacts in Nepal. With the help of USAID and Oxfam, RUWDUC helps provide aid to affected communities and facilitates community-led climate adaptation efforts throughout Nepal’s most affected regions.

Covid-19 Disaster Relief Response

In response to the devastation caused by Covid-19, RUWDUC provided food, safe drinking water, blankets, and hygiene kits consisting of soap, shampoo, menstrual health pads, and toothbrushes to 35 pregnant mothers and 517 migrant workers in Nepal’s Kailali, Kanchanpur, and Dadeldhura districts. Additionally, RUWDUC offered online counseling to around 500 victims of gender-based violence as well as referrals to shelter homes.

Photo Credit: RUWDUC

RUWDUC aid distribution during Covid-19

“Mero PathanPaathan Maa RUWDUC ko Sath” Program

Since 2018, RUWDUC’s ongoing scholarship program has distributed 332 academic scholarships to low-income students throughout Nepal’s Kailali and Dadeldhura districts. The majority of scholarships have been awarded to female students from lower castes.

Photo Credit: RUWDUC

Young woman speaks at gathering about TROSA project

Transboundary Rivers of Asia (TROSA)

RUWDUC’s Transboundary Rivers of Asia (TROSA) project provides water filtration systems to communities with limited and uncertain access to potable water. TROSA has also established disaster alert systems in vulnerable communities in response to the increasingly consistent—yet unpredictable—weather patterns associated with climate change. The project emphasizes the training and participation of women as managers of the disaster alert systems and leaders in water resource management throughout four districts along the Mahakali and Jogbudha rivers.

Photo Credit: RUWDUC

TROSA Water Collectors

Population Connection has worked with RUWDUC to help fund the reconstruction of several flood warning systems that were destroyed during the Mahakali flood in October of 2021, which forced around 90 families to flee their homes. Additionally, Population Connection has contributed funding for the distribution of food, water, and clothing on behalf of RUWDUC to the families displaced by recent climate-induced floods.  

“Now we are working with the local government in the selection of development programs, budget allocation, and building the projects. It became possible because of the support and ideas we got from the TROSA program.”

— Lila Samant, member of women’s empowerment center

Read more about the project here.

Girls' Empowerment Program

Population Connection has also helped support RUWDUC’s Girls’ Empowerment Program, which engages boys and girls in fun and educational activities, and raises awareness of the need to end norms and customs that penalize girls and women. Most recently, RUWDUC ran an essay competition on chhaupadi, a harmful tradition in which menstruating girls and women are forced to isolate themselves because they are considered “impure.” Throughout their menstruation, women and girls undergoing chhaupadi have to live by themselves in often life-threatening conditions in make-shift huts, and they are banned from taking part in everyday activities, including going to school.

A total of 94 students, both male and female, across nine schools in western Nepal took part in the competition, writing about the harms of chhaupadi and why it should be abolished. The winners received cash prizes disbursed by RUWDUC.

Photo Credit: RUWDUC