Women Empowerment through financial education
Women in Nepal have been cornered in almost every field, be it economic, political or academic. They are not given a platform to utilize their potential and thus remain backward. So this initiative aims to provide an opportunity to socially and economically empower marginalized women in Nepal through skills training and employment.
The project is trying to address the lack of women empowerment in Nepal. Women occupy half the population but they merely get opportunities equivalent to men. Even if they do get opportunities, they end up receiving less payment for the same work. The women especially in rural areas are uneducated and thus unskilled for paid jobs. The female participation rate is 86% in domestic and 57% in agricultural area. Despite higher participation of females in the labor force, their efforts often go statistically unnoticed and thus, unpaid. Women have been cornered almost in every field whether it is economic, political or academic. So, the major concern of this project is to highlight the problems that obstruct women especially in rural areas to proceed further.
The proposed solution is to empower women by providing basic business education and training to the women that will help them work on their own and earn for their living. Women, especially in rural areas, are involved in knitting, handicrafts and homemade preserves but they use these skills only in personal level. We aim to motivate these women to use their skills and expertise to start up their own business and work independently. If in case women lack such skills, necessary training programs will be organized that will help them learn new skills. Various cooperatives and microfinance will be assisting them to have access to the financial resources in order to cover the set-up cost. A local market will be provided where they can promote and sell their product. This will help women earn for their living.
Similarly, by providing ‘Praud Shikshya’ (which means adult education) concentrating on women, we aim to educate and train women in both personal and professional level to make the best possible use of the available resources which were not properly utilized before. For instance, instead of spending the remittances in luxury products like LCD televisions in places where load shedding is a severe problem, women can use it in something more productive and useful. They can rather save the money for future or invest it in setting up a small scale business. Thus, by educating women, polishing their skills and improving their decision making power, we aim to empower women from grass root level to make them economically self-sustainable.
Women in rural areas are educated, trained in their area of domestic expertise and their production is increased to a market level from basic domestic consumption level. For e.g. a woman makes pickles for household consumption. We locate her through our campaign and educate her on a business level to make her understand the market potential of her product, i.e. pickles. We provide a market for her product which will create a source of income and thus make her self-sustainable.
Another scenario is by educating women about microfinance to initially fund and later expand their business through loans. We will organize campaigns in rural areas where it is difficult for women to directly interact with formal banking institutes. By providing women with initial capital, they will be able to support themselves independent of men, in a manner which would encourage sustainable growth of enterprise and eventual self-sufficiency.
After the devastating earthquake, we distributed sleeping mattresses to around 50 houses in Sindhupalchowk, which was a major affected area. On that distribution project, we not only distributed the mattresses, but also had a workshop explaining and training the local people about how to make those mattresses.
On August 12, 2015, we had hosted a talk show addressing the empowerment of youth as well as women. At the end we concluded possible measures to empower women especially in rural sectors.
If all women are empowered, the issues of poverty and hunger will eventually be eliminated as they will be able to support their families financially and put food on their plates. In a patriarchal society like Nepal, empowering women not only makes them self-sustainable, but also boosts their decision making power in domestic, societal as well as national level. Thus, they are able to rise up to and even beyond the level of men, and get equal opportunity compared to men. In this manner, the issues regarding gender equality and a decent wok environment for women are addressed. Encouraging women to engage in local production promotes responsible consumption and production pattern and also fosters domestic markets. As a result, it leads to rise in GDP level and boosts economic growth. The next proposed stage of the project is to increase the standard of living of women by uplifting their current status. It includes providing the trainings related to running cottage industries, agricultural trainings, making them aware about the concepts of micro finance and co-operatives which have been helping the women to run small businesses for profit motive. Training the women which helps them to earn their living is the future motto of the project.
We would work for creating awareness among women regarding their skill development and how they can contribute to the society. Currently, we have focused upon the earthquake victims of Sindulpalchwok and Ramechhap districts who have lost their homes and source of incomes. We aim to provide a better platform for the women to work on their own and support their families.
The proposed project differs from these approaches in the following ways:
1. The project aims to empower women by providing them with the opportunity to work.
2. The project especially targets the women who have lost their homes and sources of income from the earthquake.
3. We tend to give importance to mounting the skills in the women which will help them throughout their life.