Rejima Thapa Magar is an undergraduate student, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Social Science (BOSS) at National College, Kathmandu University. She is interested in research especially in the menstrual hygiene sector. She has lot of experience in researching menstrual hygiene and hygiene awareness raising campaigning.
How does data literacy help to empower women?
Nowadays people are more interested in facts. I have found few young girls, who were aware of menstrual hygiene. I have delivered my talks among local people in Sindupalchowk about the present menstrual hygiene situation and have illustrated these with data. After that, more young girls became aware about menstrual hygiene. When more people become more aware about actual figures, then they can also become more empowered in the political, social and economic spheres of life. For example, many women who are entrepreneur, are able to sustain themselves and are involved in decision-making regarding their family, community and society overall. Thus, data literacy has a wider impact.
How you are utilizing data in your daily life?
I am a student and a researcher, thus in my day to day life I need data. I have used data to write a term paper in college. I have also used data while making a problem tree as part of the design of a project. As part of my research on menstrual hygiene of Indrawati rural municipality in Sindupalchok, I collected data on how many young girls were aware, less aware or did not know of the use of cloth pad during menstrual period. I even found that, young girls did not know about cotton pads nor jell pads. All these real facts, I was able to find out based on the data that I collected. So, this is how I am utilizing data in my daily life.
How can data serve as evidence in development sector?
Data provides the evidence of any development indicator. Data shows the reality of development projects that are being carried out and makes the work of the respective institution be it government or private stakeholders, transparent. For example, on the basis of my research on menstruation hygiene in Sindipalchock, 50% of the young girls were unaware of the use of cotton pads during menstruation period would give more strong evidence rather talk on more young girl were unaware.
What are the challenges while searching for data?
For the primary data collection, I feel due to our difficult and varied geographical area and poor technology, we are facing difficulties in the collection of data on time. Many researchers are not willing to visit remote areas especially in the mountains, which is leading to unauthentic reports. Poor technology is resulting in a lack of effectiveness and efficiency in data collection. For the secondary data collection, our government and private stakeholders have databases, but the navigation of the data is very difficult even though they have a website.
What message would you like to give to other young people regarding data?
Be realistic and practical. We should start to use data and real information to analysis various situation of our society. Youth are the powerful weapon of our nation. Youth are the change makers, who have the capacity and energy to change the social structure and fabric of our country. Thus, in order to better understand the real situation, as young people we need to see what the data says and check the authenticity of information by verifying it against available original data sources This will contribute to accountability and transparency of the governance of our country and will lead to greater empowerment and more mobilization of resources.