Volunteer Society Nepal : The best experience for volunteers, the best value for Nepal.

Women Empowerment Program

Volunteer Society Nepal understands that women empowerment is an important step towards empowering families and communities, so our education program works to teach languages, mathematics, and practical skills to women in Kathmandu. Due to a lack of awareness and access to quality education in Nepal, gender discrimination is a major problem that is fueled by long-held superstitious beliefs and political leaders’ decreased political vision. The socio-economic status of women in Nepal is very poor; women are discriminated against in every aspect of society including health, education, participation, income generation, decision-making, access to policymaking, and human rights. While the general health of Nepalese people is one of the lowest in Asia, it is particularly bad for women; Nepal is one of the few countries in the world where life expectancy for women is lower than for men. One-fifth of women get married at the early ages of 15-19, and as a result of youth pregnancy and premature births, the rate of women dying preventable deaths is very high. All of these statistics: the high birth rates, low life expectancy, and high infant and maternal mortality rates indicate the poor health status of women. There are very few women working in professional fields in Nepal. They may study law, but few are able to enter the profession. Women’s representation in the bureaucracy is also very low. Women serve as decision-makers in crop management, domestic expenditure (food items, clothes and other expenses), their children’s education, religious and social travel, and household maintenance but beyond this women’s decision-making roles seem to have declined in recent years.

In Nepal, violence against women is rampant. Research projects in Nepal concluded that 66 per cent of women have endured verbal abuse and 33 per cent emotional abuse, while 77 per cent of the perpetrators were family members (UNICEF 2001).Traditionally the status of women in Nepal was determined by the patriarchal social system and values, but now women’s rights are preserved and protected by the state and specific policies for the development of women. The government and other civil society groups are working hard to combat this issue, but there is still plenty of work to be done to effectively end violence against women.

What does women empowerment do?

We think that we can make a difference in improving women’s literacy rates in Nepal. Volunteer Society Nepal has been providing regular literacy classes to more than 30 women on a regular basis, many of whom have never seen formal education in their lives. VSN provides basic reading and writing classes in English and Nepali, as well as mathematics for simple accounting purposes. National statistics show the sad fact that the women’s literacy rate in Nepal is only 30 per cent while male literacy has reached 66 per cent. The enrollment of women in higher education is only 24.95 per cent, and women’s involvement in technical and vocational education is also lower than men. These statistics are due to the social norms and culture that we follow, such as the idea in rural areas that girls are “paraya dhan” (others’ property) and therefore aren’t given the opportunity for education.

Volunteer Society Nepal has established a life-skill training program through teaching tailoring to more than 25 women. After receiving this training they will be able to make their own money to become economically active and independent. Much of Nepali women’s work is not considered an economic activity, so as a result, only 45.2 per cent of women (compared to 68.2 per cent of men) are classified as economically active. A woman’s daily work burden increases incrementally each year and currently averages around 10.9 hours per day, while men’s average work burden presently is only 7.8 hours a day.
In rural areas, women’s employment outside the household is generally limited to planting, weeding, and harvesting. Meanwhile, in urban areas, they are employed in domestic and traditional jobs, as well as in the government sector in low-level positions.

Women are economically dependent on men (father, husband or brother), as men are traditionally considered as assertive and breadwinners of the family, they are focused on materialistic success. Women are found greatly confined to the household and soft nature of farmyard activities. Still, largely the households and society, directly and indirectly, deny or discourage women’s role as decision-makers. Though the women of Nepal have substantial contributions both as labour and mentor in the household and outside, their role is often underestimated and not counted as economic activity. Being heads of households, women have to carry out the full traditional roles with the added responsibility of household and production management. The connection between poverty and women’s lack of power over resources and decision-making has now caught the attention of policymakers in government and mainstream development all over the world. Women empowerment issues perceived nationally or locally are being addressed by both state and non-state agencies. Besides the government intervention, NGOs are implementing various types of Women Empowerment Programmes including IG Programmes. Women Empowerment Programmes in Nepal include livelihood support Programmes, rehabilitation and job placement for rescued women, safe motherhood Programmes and so forth. In spite of the involvement of various NGOs in women empowerment through Income Generation and Skill Development Programmes, the status of women is still not satisfactory in Nepal as various official, as well as unofficial reports, claim and the outcomes against the stated objectives of the NGOs’ Womens Empowerment Programmes, are often questioned. Therefore, the present study is focused in assessing the impact of Income Generation Programmes run by non-government organizations in empowering women. The skill training, resource inputs of loans and equipment help to increase income to the women through independent business or work in the related field; the increased income lessens their dependence on family heads and enables them to spend for personal expenses; gives them certain freedoms as individuals; enables them to contribute to family affairs financially, which creates an environment in the family in favour or the women to accept her views and participation in family matters like education, marriage, purchase etc.

We offer women’s empowerment volunteering opportunities depending on your skills and interests to make a difference by joining our volunteering, internship, and charity tourism programs so that we can run our projects smoothly.

As a women’s empowerment volunteer, you may:

  • Teach Basic English reading and writing skills
  • Teach them mathematics and accounting skills
  • Teach them basic computer education
  • Hold workshops, classes, and training to interact about women’s rights and health issues
  • Organize fun activities
  • Plan and implement tour and recreational program
  • Organize games
  • Introduce new products and training programs.
  • Organize women’s health checkup program

As the majority of overseas volunteers pay their volunteer fees one time and the projects need regular funding for years. You may make a regular or one-off contribution so that vulnerable children and women can get regular support. By donating you will help fund our projects that support women and children who are victims of violence, abuse or poverty. Here are some examples of how your donation could be used:

  • $50 could buy books for a woman in the VSN’s literacy programs, or a woman in the VSN literacy classes
  • $100 could buy a sewing machine for the VSN’s training programs, or for a woman starting her own business
  • $150 could pay rent for the women’s centre for a month.
  • $150 per month could hire a teacher who teaches 30 underprivileged women
  • $250 could pay for a woman to take part in a 6-month tailoring training course
  • $250 could pay for a woman to take part in a 6-month weaving training course
  • $250 could buy a computer to run computer classes for the women
  • $1000 could set up a nice library for women

Any donation, big or small, will be greatly appreciated. If you wish to donate to a specific project, please let us know and we can direct the funds as requested. Take an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women in Nepal. contact@volunteersocietynepal.org.