Women do not need sympathy, they need education and opportunity
Empowering Women of Nepal (EWN) is a local non-profit company, based in Pokhara, which aims to improve the lives of Nepali women and girls through adventure tourism and sports. It was founded by three Nepali sisters, Lucky, Dicky and Nicky Chhetri, who were pioneers in the promotion of female trekking guides in the Himalayas, and was registered in 1999 under Nepal’s Social Organization Act 2034. The Chhetri sisters also founded 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking to work in partnership with EWN in promoting and empowering women and girls through adventure tourism and sports. Together, we offer practical skill-based training programs free of cost to the trainees. The training is designed to extend educational, employment, and entrepreneurial opportunities to disadvantaged women from all over Nepal, and can be followed by a six-month paid apprenticeship scheme.
Female trekking guide training program
Twice a year during the trekking off-season, EWN offers an intensive four-week Female Trekking Guide Training Program. The average age of the participants is 20 and, for optimal results, the maximum group size is 40 trainees. The objective is to have participants from different regions of Nepal and for the first six months of the paid apprenticeship scheme a hostel facility is provided for disadvantaged women from rural areas (Karnali Region, Everest, and Langtang). From 1999 to 2017 EWN trained over 1500 women from 52 districts of Nepal. EWN’s 4 wekks intensive course includes:
- Trekking and toruism
- Basic English conversation
- Culture and religion
- Map reading
- Leadership and teambuilding
- Cross-cultural and people
- Conversation and the environment
- Women’s issues
Trainees undergo an intensive four-week program on technical and conversational English, which also covers a broad range of topics including First Aid (HIV-AIDS, STD, women’s health issues), leadership, women’s rights, trekking information, environment, history, geography, and culture.
The training also emphasizes ecological awareness and conservation, including water sanitation and waste management. As participants develop into adventure tourism professionals, they communicate the ecologically sound practices they learn at EWN to their clients. For example they promote iodine purification methods, rather than relying on mineral water with its attendant plastic bottles which litter the Himalayas.
At the end of the initial training, EWN’s partner organization, 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking, provides a five (previous page says 6 month) month paid apprenticeship program where the girls acquire field experience by working as trainee guides. From their apprenticeship they gain immediate economic benefits by earning wages equivalent to experienced male porters, and they develop the skills needed to emerge as independent entrepreneurs. Over 100 guides are now employed by 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking each trekking season.
After they finish the training cycle, the majority of alumni find work in the adventure tourism industry; some become micro-entrepreneurs, some continue with higher education, some continue with EWN refresher courses, some leave for work abroad and some return to their villages and spread the word about the program to their friends and neighbors.
Empowering Women of Nepal (EWN) is implementing the GOAL programme in Pokhara, Nepal starting June, 2013. Our goal is to empower and equip at-risk youths, especially girls, with valuable life skills as they deal with complex issues that are brought on by family, their peers and traditional society.
Young girls from ages 12-17 will participate in this project for a total of nine months or less if customized. An hour of life skills sessions followed by sports and other creative activities will be used to empower these young deserving girls.
Be Yourself –communication, peer pressure, learn to say No, conflict ladder, girls and boys, gender and work, who am I and what do I want to do.
Be Healthy – body image, menstruation, real beauty, hygiene, contraception, bodies, emotions and sexuality, living with HIV.
Be Empowered – violence, breaking the silence, environmental issues, wants and needs, know your rights, papers for life, mapping resources, trafficking girls.
Be Money Savvy – saving plans, managing money, challenges to savings, making a spending decision, the art of budgeting, ways to make money, skills vs quality, saving & borrowing wisely.
EWN & 3 Sisters’ Climbing Rock is located just above Lakeside, Pokhara in Methlang village, Sarangkot. It has 18 different routes, graded from 4c up to 6b. The highest point is 23 meters. It is on private land rented by Empowering
Women of Nepal (EWN) and entrance should be arranged at the EWN office.
Girls and women in Nepal, and especially those living in rural areas, continue to face discrimination and violence due to the patriarchal culture and their lack of knowledge and skills, psychological support, and economic opportunities. In Part 3 of the Constitution of Nepal, under Fundamental Rights and Duties, Article 18 refers to the “Right to Equality”. However, in practice this “right” is limited to the paper it is written on. Despite significant efforts from the Government of Nepal (GoN), international agencies, non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations, Nepali girls and women continue to face major socio-economic discrimination. “If a family has a chance of sending one of their children to a private school, it would almost certainly be a boy and not a girl. Boys are encouraged to speak their minds and get higher education and skills for employment, while girls are told to be submissive and do what their parents, families or guardians want. As teenagers, young girls are told to think about their future marriage”, says one of our participants from Mugu. According to an article by the State Department (Nepal 2016 Human Rights Report) “Early and forced marriage, and rape and domestic violence against women, including dowry-related deaths, remains a serious problem.” In an online article of My Republica, dated 24 October 2016, Ms. Bhagawati Ghimire (Acting Chairperson of the National Women’s Commission) states “Gender based violence is an increasing trend. It has been prevalent in society in the past and continues to thrive in the present day too.” Furthermore she states, “Women are compelled to tolerate the domestic violence because they aren’t self dependent. Having no rights over parental property and lacking job opportunities, women are forced to endure the violence silently.” At EWN girls and women are given ample opportunities to speak up against injustice, discrimination and violence. With various training courses girls and women not only gain knowledge and skills – they learn to be assertive, they recognize their inner strengths, they take charge of their own lives, and they lead by example.
Come for a trek in the Himalayas where you will experience the awesome landscape and friendly cultures with a trekking guide and/or assistant guide trained at EWN. This will not only give you the experience of a lifetime but it will also support the program by giving the women valuable field experience. Click here for our 2015-2016 calendar. Donate Help us help to change the world, one woman at a time. Your donation is very welcome and highly appreciated.
EWN’s banking details are:
A/C # 01 0312363 01
Standard Chartered Bank Nepal Limited
Swift Code # SCBLNPKA Lakeside Branch Pokhara,
Nepal Are you living in Europe?
Then it is easy and cost-efficient to transfer your donation to the STF Friends of EWN in the Netherlands.
For Dutch citizens: your donation to this account is tax deductable. 100% of the donations on this account are transferred to the EWN account in Nepal. For more information contact Gera van Wijk at email@example.com
Zeist, the Netherlands
The West Nepal districts of Jumla, Mugu, Kalikot, Humla and Dolpa are amongst the poorest in Nepal, despite their abundance of natural resources and authentic culture. Mountainous terrain, isolation, inadequate infrastructure, poor communications and a lack of government initiatives to develop this area have hindered the region’s development. As a result, people suffer from extreme poverty; they have no access to education or primary health care, two vital components to a decent life. In order to mitigate some of the West Nepal districts’ development challenges, EWN has been actively working in the districts listed above since 2005. Based on EWN’s experience and expertise in rural tourism development, a new training program called Women’s Initiation in Eco-tourism was designed. Rural women have the opportunity to learn and interact in a supportive environment during the one-week course, which offers subjects such as:
• Basic women’s health issues
• Basic Hygiene and sanitation
• Trekking and eco-tourism
• Homestay and basic lodge management
• Utilization and promotion of local foods
• Environmental awareness
• Basic conversational English
Tourism has been a vital instrument in the development of the Everest and Annapurna regions. Our West Nepal training is designed to enhance local skills in trekking and tourism. We hope that once this new destination flourishes there will be more tourists visiting the area and that the local women will be able to utilize their skills and knowledge to gain employment and earn income. West Nepal Midwife Scholarship Fund The West Nepal Midwife Scholarship Fund started in August 2010 to assist deserving girls from Humla, Dolpa, Mugu, Jumla and Kalikot to continue their education after grade 10. This scholarship fund has been established so that girls from low-income families can obtain a higher education despite their financial difficulties. The scholarship fund was developed after completion of an intensive needs assessment in cooperation with women’s groups in Jumla. Together we addressed the urgent need for experienced health professionals and midwives in the villages of West Nepal, to avoid pregnancy complications and reduce pregnancy related deaths every year. Goal: To improve the overall well-being of West Nepal citizens in Jumla, Humla, Mugu, Dolpa and Kalikot districts. Purpose: To reduce pregnancy complications and pregnancy related deaths in West Nepal. Expected Outcome: Reduced pre- and post-natal complications for mothers, improved infant health, and reduced child mortality rates. Resources: Scholarships for girls to enroll in a 29-month midwife training program at the Karnali Technical School. Annual Environment Awareness Program Recently EWN has partnered the Green Clean Pokhara Movement in monthly environmental clean-up sessions. The program started with clearing plastics and other rubbish from Fewa Lake. EWN’s trainees, staff from 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking, local fishermen, and the fisherwomen’s community project gathered to raise awareness against pollution. We actively encourage others to be aware of this problem and to ‘act now’ if we want to keep Fewa Lake clean for future generations.
West Nepal Midwife Scholarship Fund
The West Nepal Midwife Scholarship Fund started in August 2010 to assist deserving girls from Humla, Dolpa, Mugu, Jumla and Kalikot to continue their education after grade 10. This scholarship fund has been established so that girls from low-income families can obtain a higher education despite their financial difficulties.
The scholarship fund was developed after completion of an intensive needs assessment in cooperation with women’s groups in Jumla. Together we addressed the urgent need for experienced health professionals and midwives in the villages of West Nepal, to avoid pregnancy complications and reduce pregnancy related deaths every year.
Goal: To improve the overall well-being of West Nepal citizens in Jumla, Humla, Mugu, Dolpa and Kalikot districts.
Purpose: To reduce pregnancy complications and pregnancy related deaths in West Nepal.
Expected Outcome: Reduced pre- and post-natal complications for mothers, improved infant health, and reduced child mortality rates.
Resources: Scholarships for girls to enroll in a 29-month midwife training program at the Karnali Technical School.
Annual Environment Awareness Program
Recently EWN has partnered the Green Clean Pokhara Movement in monthly environmental clean-up sessions. The program started with clearing plastics and other rubbish from Fewa Lake. EWN’s trainees, staff from 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking, local fishermen, and the fisherwomen’s community project gathered to raise awareness against pollution. We actively encourage others to be aware of this problem and to ‘act now’ if we want to keep Fewa Lake clean for future generations.
Advanced Training Program: Rock and Ice Climbing
Over time, EWN has expanded its training programs to include advanced courses for Senior Guides interested in expanding their skill set. EWN’s advanced training benefits Nepali women by expanding the female guides’ capabilities and diversifying the trips they are able to lead, thus increasing their employment opportunities and self-sufficiency.
The advanced training is available in two levels: first the girls are trained in rock climbing and if they show exceptional climbing aptitude they can advance to ice climbing. EWN’s rock climbing training was established in 2005 and 134 women have participated in the program. The ice climbing program started three years later and 12 women have been beneficiaries of this training.
In 2008, EWN began working on a multi-year ice climbing training project with the Magic Mountain Foundation (MMF) in Poland. Together, MMF and EWN conducted their first ice climbing training on Tent Peak (5700m) at Annapurna Base Camp. In 2009 the two organizations conducted their second ice climbing training on Chulu West (6700m) in the Manang area of the Annapurnas. In 2010, four trainees and one representative from EWN went to Poland and also to Italy to receive more advanced technical training. With more training this winter, EWN is planning on another ice climbing expedition in 2011 in the Annapurnas. Has that happened? If yes, add.
As a result of the success of our ice climbing expedition, many young trainees are interested in expanding their horizons further through the advanced training programs. Moreover, there has been a significant increase in the enrollment of girls from rural, mountainous areas who would like to become trekking guides.