Nepal: EmpowHER - Strong Women, Strong Communities
Background and project context
Nepal is, on average, the highest country in the world. It is located in the middle of the Himalayas, almost half of the country's entire surface is above 3000 metres. Over 100 different ethnic groups live in Nepal and far more than a hundred different languages and dialects are spoken. With its many traditions, the former kingdom and present-day republic is known for its cultural diversity.
But many people, particularly women, do not have an easy life especially because of these traditions. In Nepal, women generally have a lower status than men, and gender roles are firmly defined in society. For example, girls often receive poorer educational opportunities or even less food than the boys in the family. They are often denied access to important resources such as information and services, which they can hardly fight against. Over generations, this has created a cycle of discrimination against women.
Horyzon intends to work against this and therefore supports a project of YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) Nepal in Kathmandu. The partner organisation was founded in 1995 and its focus areas are education, lobbying, awareness-raising, vocational training and income generation. YWCA Nepal has been running a project for the promotion of women in Nepalese society for several years. The focus is on strengthening the leadership skills of young women. They are given the opportunity to attend training sessions with external experts and thus acquire knowledge in various areas, for example on topics such as human rights, mental health, family planning or finances. The aim is for the women to return to their communities after the workshops and pass on the knowledge they have learned to other women there. In this way, they act as multipliers and contact persons in the community.
The main target group of the project are young women in Nepal who have the potential to make a difference in their communities and who are in a difficult position for various reasons. Whether it is due to their caste, class, economics or geography. The women are invited to participate in the project by local leaders, social workers and stakeholders. Every year, around 280 young women are trained in workshops, who pass on their knowledge as multipliers to a total of another 1'400 women.
The project aims to enable the young women to stand up for gender equality, their sexual and reproductive rights and human rights in a self-determined way.
Activities & Effects
Young women are trained to be leaders
- 50 young women are trained in gender equality, human rights and prevention of sexual violence in a 5-day workshop. At the same time, they acquire leadership skills so that they can pass on what they have learned in their communities.
- The young women educate other women about their rights and dare to challenge discriminatory cultural norms and traditions.
Women's groups as a safe space
- 50 young women meet regularly in women's groups in which they discuss intimate, personal issues concerning their womanhood. The women's groups are each accompanied by a leader from project part 1 (“young women are trained to be leaders”) and informed about their rights.
- 90 women are educated about their sexual and reproductive rights in 2-day workshops.
- The young women are aware of their rights and dare to demand them in the family and the community.
Building bridges between generations
- 90 women from different generations are educated by external experts about relevant women's issues such as contraception, breast cancer, menstruation and domestic violence.
- Through intergenerational exchange on relevant women's issues, the collective breaking down of discriminatory norms and traditions becomes possible.