Maiti Nepal, based in Kathmandu, was founded in 1993 to serve a particularly vulnerable population of Nepali women and girls. Its mission is to combat exploitation, violence and trafficking of children and women, and it works to provide comprehensive prevention and rehabilitation programs through education, empowerment, health and social inclusion.
In July 2008, a group of MPH students from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health initiated an ongoing effort to support Maiti Nepal, raise awareness, promote discussion and encourage public health professionals to consider professional and research opportunities in sex trafficking. After several successful educational events mounted by students, two students, Tracy Rudne and Clancy Broxton, traveled to Nepal to meet with Maiti Nepal staff to explore whether the organization wished to receive technical assistance from Hopkins students. Maiti Nepal responded with requests for assistance in numerous areas, including proposal development, drafting a programmatic strategic plan, grant writing and clinical mentorship.
Four students applied for and received the MPH Field Experience Award, and secured additional funding from Friends of Maiti Nepal, to travel to Kathmandu for two weeks in January 2009. Onsite, MPH candidate Tracy Rudne led meetings with Maiti Nepal’s program and administrative staff, gathering input to create a five-year programmatic strategic plan. During these meetings, Maiti staff drew up a new mission statement that was more inclusive of their broad range of services, articulated an organizational vision, identified program objectives for the next five years, prioritized areas for new funding, carried out a Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis, and conceptualized a new monitoring and evaluation system for activities. Their work was informed by fact-finding interviews conducted by students Caitlin Reed, Sangeeta Mishra and Sokhieng Au.
Dr. Reed, an infectious disease specialist, and Dr. Mishra, an OBGYN, conducted clinical mentoring. They reviewed medical charts of 50 HIV-infected women and children currently living in Maiti Nepal’s shelter, and recommended treatment changes in antiretroviral regimens. Caitlin Reed spent several days mentoring the new staff doctors on proper care of HIV-positive patients, and wrote up a report on a young woman who was trafficked twice—once for her kidney and once into the sex industry. Caitlin and Sangeeta performed over 40 pelvic examinations and pap smears to screen the highest-risk women (those who had been trafficked) for cervical cancer, and procured funding for treatment of women whose tests come back positive.
To help meet Maiti Nepal’s acute need for funding, Sokhieng Au and Clancy Broxton submitted a proposal to the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Program. Submitted in January 2009, the proposal requests $500,000 over three years for a safe migration center/transit home and to establish a monitoring and evaluation system for Maiti Nepal.