Effective and successful policy implementation in all sectors is the key to national development. In the forestry context, numerous favourable policies and laws address all the major aspects of this sector, but their implementation is a complex endeavour and is of pivotal concern. To address the policy and regulatory barriers by women entrepreneurs in accessing forest resources, Policy dialogues were organized by the project Economic Empowerment of Women through Forest Solutions in Tripura Sundari Rural Municipality-Sindhupalchok and Gaidakot and Devchuli Municipality in Nawalpur (E). The dialogues were organized to provide women entrepreneurs with a forum to discuss the issues and seek to enhance their understanding of the policies and their translation in practice.
The women entrepreneurs shared with enthusiasm all about their achievements and problems faced during enterprise development, specifically in the context of accessing the raw materials for enterprises, market issues, registration issues and many more. The Chief and representatives of the Local Government, Divisional Forest Office, Chief of District Small and Cottage Industry Office and Banks unpacked the existing gender-responsive service provisions, especially to address women’s practical and strategic needs. For example, women’s access to information, resources, services, employment, credit, programs, budget and other benefits meant for the advancement of women were discussed. The women entrepreneurs actively interacted with the officials for clarification and demanded simplification of the process. The officials responded positively and motivated the women entrepreneurs; the local government officials ensured that they would be thoughtful to include such programs and budgets in their upcoming annual plans. Furthermore, the other non-state actors such as representatives from the Association of Family Forest Owners- Nepal (AFFON) and Federation of Community Forest User Groups Nepal (FECOFUN) expressed the policy and practical hassles could be resolved through functional coordination between state and non-state actors.
At the end of the session, all the women entrepreneurs and stakeholders came to a consensus to develop a joint statement and actions on the policy gaps and commit to policy reform that could help them to continue their entrepreneur’s journey even after the project phases out.