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8 Nov 16

Education and Female Empowerment in Kolti, Nepal

In Kolti, a village in the Bajura district of far Western Nepal, PHASE has been working hard on important education and empowerment projects. The Bajura district is one of the most impoverished areas of Nepal. It lacks basic infrastructure and it is extremely difficult to access. Literacy rates, therefore, are extremely low. For those over 15, only 40% are literate and only 22% of women are literate. More children are now learning to read but 41% are still illiterate.

In response, the PHASE Education team conducted a series of teacher training and school mentorship programmes in 11 schools in Kolti. A total of 58 teachers were trained and 18 outstanding teachers were given additional training for mentoring their fellow teachers in the schools. This included the ‘Best Teaching Practices’ training module, which contains a day of gender sensitivity training for the teachers. This equips the teachers with effective strategies to create friendly classroom environments for girls. It also stresses the importance of schools encouraging girls to participate more in classrooms and outdoor activities. One of the core aims of the projects is also to empower female teachers as mentors too. To this end, PHASE has found two experienced female teachers who are now mentoring their fellow teachers.

PHASE is following up this project with its Model Classrooms Programme. Model classrooms are positive and fun learning environments which strengthen the capacity of trained teachers and inspire them, benefiting the pupils. PHASE are launching this project in Budhinanda Primary School and will eventually extend it to 11 participating schools in the area. The PHASE Nepal team met with the management at Budhinanda Primary School and teachers on the 3rd August 2016 where they expressed enthusiasm for the project. After the meeting, a list of the required support materials was agreed, including a whiteboard, carpet and cushions, musical instruments, a sound box, water filter, dustbin and a first aid box.

PHASE will co-ordinate similarly with the remaining 10 schools in Kolti to create model classrooms and provide follow up support for up to 2 years after the classroom is completed. PHASE will support the setting-up of School Management Committees (SMCs) and the continued running of existing school clubs, which will be administered by the SMCs. Orientation and training for SMCs will be provided along with funds for the clubs. Teacher refresher training will also be provided to meet the needs of teachers.

Furthermore, PHASE are running empowerment training for women in Kolti through the PHASE Girls Empowerment Programme. 155 girls from Kolti, Siradi and Cholu (the villages of the Kolti VDC) have received two weeks of empowerment training over the past few months in 7 groups. Over the course of the last year, 244 girls have attended the programme. Shushila Mahatara, who leads one of the groups, said that “I was very shy on the first day of ToT (Training of Trainers) when I had to introduce myself. Now I have successfully run two batches of empowerment workshops. I feel great because I am more confident now and I work on behalf of the girls from my own village”. The girls will continue to receive support from a seed fund for activities that they plan themselves that improve the situation of women in the community.

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