In rural Nepal, gender remains a major barrier to education. Some families do not believe in educating daughters, while others cannot afford the basic uniforms and resources that they need to attend school. These obstacles can prevent girls from staying in school and enrolling in high school. As a result, across Nepal, 72% of men can read and write compared to only 49% of women.

At UWS, we're committed to educating both boys and girls alike. That's why we're excited to announce the launch of a new project in Nepal, focused on enrolling more girls into our existing schools, and helping them to stay in education. 


The Goal 

In Nepal, we currently have 25 primary schools in the Sankhuwasabha and Gulmi districts, and many more in development. A key challenge that we face across these schools is female drop-outs, with many girls leaving school by the time they reach puberty. We want to ensure that as many girls as possible stay in our schools and continue on to secondary school. 


The Barriers

In rural Nepal, girls face a range of barriers that prevent them from staying in school and enrolling in secondary education. 

  • Early marriage - Nepal has the 3rd highest rate of child marriage in Asia, with 37% of girls married before the age of 18. The majority of these girls live in rural areas in which we operate. Child marriage undermines efforts to improve girls' education, as many female students leave school to marry and start a family.

  • Health and sanitation - A lack of information about proper menstrual hygiene, as well as cultural restrictions during menstruation, affects girls' access to education. Only one third of government secondary schools have separate toilets for girls. 

  • A shortage of female teachers - Only 15% of teachers in Nepal are female. Without positive female role models, young girls have less incentive to stay in school. 

Cutting across all of these factors are issues of poverty and cultural norms which means girls are not encouraged to continue with their education beyond a basic level. 


The solutions

In order to effectively tackle these barriers we want to support girls in remote communities to enrol in, and stay in,  our schools. Throughout 2019, we are rolling out a new programme tackling barriers to girls education across Nepal. This will include: 

  • Community outreach - Our team will work with local communities to identify households where girls are not attending school. They will visit families to understand the reasons behind this, discuss the benefits of girls education, and work with them to enrol their daughters into school. 

  • Provision of resources and uniforms - We will provide newly enrolled girls with a 'starter pack' containing resources and stationery, as well as school uniforms. Families often can't afford these basic items. 

  • Menstrual hygiene support - By providing menstrual and general hygiene education, and gender-split latrines in all UWS schools, we can help girls to continue learning during their period. As a result, girls will not fall behind with lessons, keeping them in school. 

  • Building aspirations - By delivering secondary education information sessions and employment workshops in all UWS schools,  female students can learn about the opportunities that education can lead to. As many female staff as possible will be hired to lead this project, to create a supportive environment for girls. 

We're looking forward to welcoming hundreds more girls into our schools this year and supporting them to stay in school. We would like to extend a special thank you to The British & Foreign School Society for sponsoring this programme. s

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