Background

Gender inequality remains a major barrier to human development. Girls and women have made major strides since 1990, but they have not yet gained gender equity. The disadvantages facing women and girls are a major source of inequality. All too often, women and girls are discriminated against in birth, health, education, political representation, labour market, etc — with negative repercussions for the development of their capabilities and their freedom of choice. Nepal has a gender inequality index value of 0.489, ranking it 108 out of 186 countries in 2014. Girls are more often victims of violence. Culture, tradition, and religion still often determine that girls in this country are worth less than boys. Girls are more vulnerable, often disgraced, abused, exploited and neglected in terms of care, nutrition, education, health services and other basic services in their everyday life. Girls get fewer opportunities than boys. In addition, the country is relatively young with 40% of the population below 15 years of age; 30% between 15 and 49 years of age; and 56% of people 20-40 years of age. The entry of this relatively large percentage of young people into the workforce can be viewed as a great opportunity as well as a challenge. The labour force participation rates for males is significantly higher than for females (males = 87.5 percent; females = 80.1 percent) or instance, according to a 2010 ILO report, compared to adults, youths aged 15 to 24 are 2.2 times more likely to be unemployed.

Similarly, the existing trend of gender discrimination is eventually leading to harmful practices such as early abortion of unborn girls because parents prefer a son; failure to register girls at birth because parents are less important for daughters. Many girls do not officially exist and cannot claim their rights as citizens, such as inheritance, right to education and health care, the right to a passport, et cetera; marrying off young girls, after which they are no longer allowed to go to school and cannot continue to develop; getting pregnant at a young age, with all the health risks that entail; child trafficking and exploitation, with girls, often end up in the sex industry.

The context analysis also has identified social, political and economic exclusion as contributing to the secondary status of young women and girls in Nepal which in turn makes them vulnerable to GBV. Women’s access to post-primary and technical education and vocational training (TVET) education is very limited due to early marriage, lower education levels, involvement in household work, male dominance, lack of access to information and financing. In spite of various efforts and approaches on TVET programs, girls and women could not benefit because their access to TVET programs was low. A research article (Subedi, 2005) claimed that women and other disadvantaged groups had little opportunity in TVET. Similarly, women’s participation in TVET programs was only 21% compared to 79% of males (Lamichhane, 2006). According to the report (SEP, 2012), the women participation in vocational skills training run by different projects was in the range of 30% to 53%. However, many studies show that economic empowerment is one of the crucial factors for women’s liberation. These studies also have identified a variety of factors, including legal subordination, economic dependency, cultural obligation and lower social position of women as compared to men. Besides, lack of autonomy, economic dependency on their husbands, men’s perceived entitlement to sex, lack of education and knowledge of sexuality, marriage practices (particularly early marriage), lack of family and legal support to women, and husband’s use of alcohol, are all noted as factors contributing to risk of violence (Deuba et al 2005; Puri et al, 2007; Puri et al 2010; Puri et al, 2011; Puri et al 2012; OPMCM, 2012).

In addition, every year many young girls even at the age of 12 years enter into labour and job market without any financial and other skills and they are forced into various forms of violence. Similarly, many young girls migrate to the city centre and even to foreign countries in search of economic opportunities due to lack of opportunity in their place of origin and in the country. Therefore, it is very crucial that Nepal’s education system integrates social and financial education from curriculum and deliver social and financial skills-based economic empowerment models to girls and young women so that they are able to self-select their careers.

Child Helpline run by CWIN for Nepal Government rescues many girls from various forms of violence and child rights violations each year. Many girls are referred to CWIN Balika Peace Home for rehabilitation and social reintegration support. Many girls complete school level education from Balika Peace and are ready peruse career and higher studies. In addition, CWIN works in communities in various parts of Nepal for the empowerment of girls and young women specifically at risk and from vulnerable communities each year who have left formal school for various reasons. Many of these girls need to earn for their own survival and support their families. Without skills, they are compelled to peruse degrading and hazardous work. CWIN explored many options for providing skill and vocational education in their place of origin. However, in many times, either suitable courses leading to employment are unavailable or there are no residential facilities where girls and young women can stay and learn. CWIN also has positive experiences of referring girls to training institutes in Pokhara from various parts of Nepal for skill education and the charges were nominal. Graduates from this institution were employed right after the training and are leading happy and dignified lives. Unfortunately, this institution has been closed due to financial reasons and there are only a few options available for CWIN to referred girls for quality skill and vocational. However, these are expensive more often. Furthermore, it is very difficult for our girls to meet the criteria of these institutions as our girls and young women come from a disadvantaged background with low educational qualifications. Citizenship paper has been one of the issues for our girls to enter these institutions. Many girls are still denied their rights to identity due to current Nepal’s policy for granting citizenship paper where the child needs to showcase the citizenship paper of his/her father. Many of the girls we work with, either do not have both parents or living with mothers or families have not been able to get citizenship paper issued. Therefore, we need a training center where girls from these backgrounds can acquire suitable skill training and vocational education and get supported for their economic empowerment.

CWIN-Nepal in partnership with FORUT-Norway has established CWIN Balika Self-Reliance Center for girls at Balika Peace Home within its premises in Pasthali, Panuati, Kavre. It aims to run life-skills training, vocational trainings and economic empowerment programmes for girls graduates from Balika Peace Home and girls and young women referred from various working areas of CWIN-Nepal and Child Helpline 1098 including Dolakha where CWIN-Nepal, RDTA, and FORUT are jointly implementing Women and Children Empowerment and Livelihood (WOCELIP) project in two village Municipalities of Bigu and Kalinckowk. Girls referred from various areas can also be accommodated for residential training.

CWIN Balika Self-Reliance Centre will work in close coordination with CWIN-Nepal’s various programmes Self Reliance Centre, CWIN Social Marketing, Child Helpline 1098 in all seven provinces and WOCELIP for the life-skills and vocational trainings.

Strategic Objectives

  • Create a favorable environment for girls and young women where girls and young women enjoy equal opportunity and rights in economic empowerment which is free from GBV.

Impact

  • Increased number of young women working in a safe and decent environment, equipped with skills and empowerment.

Expected Outcomes

  • Girls and young women are able to develop their life-skills and become hopeful for their future.
  • Girls and young women will have proven skills and knowledge in the areas of the targeted area, which prepares them for the job market and initiate micro-enterprises.
  • Girls and young women themselves become change agents and advocates for the decent workplace and their right to economic empowerment.

Activities

  • Run Balika Self-Reliance Center for girls and young women at risk and most vulnerable condition at CWIN Balika Peace Home in Pasthali
  • Provide Social and Financial Skills-based life skills packages to girls and young women including RUPANTARAN (Transformation) training and Aflatoun training on financial skills.
  • Provide Career Counselling training to girls and young women of 16 to 21 years.
  • learning technics;
  • Conduct vocational education and micro-enterprise development training based on the interest of the girls
  • Link graduates of skills and vocational education to the job market.
  • Provide seed money support for micro-enterprises
  • Support girls and young women in the marketing of their products
  • Banners to bags – upscale the environment-friendly project where the girls turn the used banners to bags

Target

  • 150 girls every year trained in life skills and financial education
  • 50 girls every year trained in various vocational training
  • 10 girls every year get job placements
  • 5 girls every year receive seed money to start micro-enterprise