To recompense for the apathy on my blog and for all of you who have asked about it, prepare for an onslaught of posts.
To kick off here’s a post about my work visit to Surkhet, one of Nepal’s seventy-five districts of Nepal located about 600 km west of Kathmandu.
The visit with some of my Ministry of Education colleagues, was arranged to get an understanding about the Girls Education Challenge – Sisters for Sisters’ project (the project that actually funds my volunteer placement). This project has been running for over two years, in four districts of Nepal and targets out-of-school and at risk of dropping out girls to access education, in order to complete a full cycle of education to grade 8 (lower secondary) and to demonstrate improved learning outcomes. The project is designed to develop a culture among girls and their communities to recognise and support the value and right of all girls to a quality education.
We visited schools, met students, teachers, parents, and the didis and bahanis – big sisters and little sisters involved with the project.
Some of the useful discussions held were:
- The challenges of identifying marginalised students and having to turn away some beneficiaries because of budget constraints
- Maintaining motivations amongst all the stakeholders – concerns were raised about the number of Government Policy changes and how the schools can implement them in a timely manner.
- Mainstreaming the mentoring scheme – suggestions whether this could be explored further by Government and implemented on a national policy level.
- Toilet maintenance especially girls toilets is a prevailing issue in schools.
- Opportunities to use land for agricultural activities and income generation for the schools such a those implemented in Koplia Valley.
- Incorporation of new technologies
- Sustainability of the project beyond project period
- Big sisters and students alike talked about their ambitions to be teachers, police, which was unlikely before
The good news is that so far:
- 320 trained big sisters have mentored 1,282 little sisters
- 152 teachers are trained on child-friendly and gender sensitive teaching methods benefiting 9,404 girls from grades 1 to 8.