“I left Ottawa aspiring to identify the needs of mothers in Nepal and to find ways of delivering better healthcare,” says 2015 Research Award recipient Sunisha Neupane. “Two months after being there I realized how much I don’t know.”
Neupane’s eye-opening experience started with a 22-hour bus ride and 4.5-hour walk to Bohoragaun in western Nepal. It continued when she discovered her research subjects — new and expectant mothers — “were younger than me” and as curious about her as she was about them. “The more I opened up about who I am and what my lifestyle is like, the more they told me about theirs. I had heard and read about building trust and there I was experiencing it,” she says.
“I learned how important it is to live there and to become part of a community, to connect with people and build friendships to be able to conduct participatory research,” says Neupane.
“The IDRC Research Award has encouraged me to keep working for healthcare access, to be open, and to listen to people I’m advocating for,” she says. “Understanding people is crucial and should influence policies for people-centred healthcare.”