Story

Defending girls' right to education in Nepal

03/07/2019
, Nepal
04 - Quality Education
05 - Gender Equality

Education has allowed me to have a better life and to help my community. I hope to bring this idea to different remote rural areas of the country where girls still do not have access to basic education.

Bonita Sharma, recipient of the Female Champion Award

Context 

Although Nepal has achieved gender parity in primary school enrolment, girls tend to drop out of school, especially in the upper grades. Factors that explain this situation include living in remote areas, being from low-income families, early marriage, gender-based violence, and poor learning environments. Women also have significantly lower literacy rates than men.

Action

UNESCO is addressing this vast challenge through the creation of the Champion Fellowship Programme, a three-month fellowship that provides young women across the country with a platform for leadership. The program provides educational opportunities for girls, helping them to manage community projects. The champions design and lead projects on adolescent girls' empowerment at the community and school levels through campaigns, flash mobs, social media surveys, case studies, peer learning, and volunteering.

Impact

To date, more than 150 women aged 19 to 25 have strengthened their community mobilization skills through activities that directly reach hundreds of thousands of adolescent girls, students, teachers, and community members. The champions benefited from a series of motivational exercises, such as campaign strategies, project management, personal development, and teamwork, and attended conferences on sexual and reproductive health, women's rights and women's participation in the education sector. In the future, to ensure the sustainability of the program, the champions will work directly with marginalized adolescent girls and train them to become champions in their communities.