A business owners’ Action Research group in Nepal

Night Entertainment Business owners running dohoris (entertainment venues with Nepali folk songs) and dance bars (bars with dancers performing) in Kathmandu decided to focus on the issue of worker documentation within their sector because they identified that having better management systems to verify workers’ age will limit the hiring of minors. Dohoris and dance bars are often venues where underage workers, usually girls, face particular sexual exploitation risks.

This group collected evidence on the documentation practices of dohori and dance bar owners in Koteshwor and its peripheral areas. They conducted interviews with business owners, undertook monitoring visits to dohoris and dance bars and reflected on their own practices.

Meeting twice a month, the group of eight business owners, developed an action plan to support their peers to change their practices so that they only hire employees with documentation that proves that they are adults. The changes triggered by the actions of the group include other small business owners changing their contract documents so that it is compulsory for employers to keep copies of workers’ citizenship certificates or passports. The group’s actions have also resulted in some generally improved practices for some of the businesses that were monitored, for example, some that were previously unregistered with government authorities and/or not renewed are now registered and renewed. Further, work is ongoing to develop a national-level federation of dohoris and dance bars. Both these changes are seen by the business owners as a positive step forward in ethically operating their sector, which is currently informal and less regulated.