Sisters for Sisters' Education in Nepal (S4S)

Sisters for Sisters' Education in Nepal (S4S)

Our project is improving learning for girls in four districts across Nepal, through peer mentoring, training and advocacy -  from the grassroots-up in communities, and from the top-down at the policy and district level.

Girl in classroom VSO Nepal

Improving learning and school attendance for girls in Nepal

Early marriage, domestic or family work, and taboos surrounding menstruation all prevent adolescent girls in Nepal from going to and staying in school for long enough to get the consistent, quality education they need to improve life chances.

When in classrooms, girls have historically been overlooked and undervalued.

Over four years, the Sisters for Sisters project is delivering:

  • Direct coaching and support for girls from peer mentor ‘big sisters’
  • Community mobilisation from ‘adult champions’ to engage families and raise awareness of the value of girls’ education
  • Volunteer support and training at 48 schools and at government level to make education more inclusive for girls across Nepal

Map of Nepal | VSO International

The results

I am very happy with the project because our daughters are very motivated to go to school regularly.  This has helped my child improve her grades.  She is now more confident and can communicate better with people, especially elders.”
Parent of Little Sister, Surkhet

To date:

  • Almost all of the 1,280 little sisters recruited into the project are still in school – with 70% saying mentoring motivates them to stay in school
  • 60 out-of-school girls have been re-enrolled in schools
  • 100% of the 144 teachers trained by volunteers showed greater gender sensitivity in their teaching
  • 100% of school improvement plans completed following training so far have addressed gender equality measures including gender-sensitive classroom arrangements and improvements to bathrooms
  • The Nepal Government Ministry for Education has launched a new Equity Strategy to improve girls’ education and drafted a plan for implementation
  • 731 girls who are out-of-school or behind have received learning support classes to catch up on crucial education. In Parsa district, the exam pass rate for girls who ttended the classes increased from 23% to 91% in the space of just three months
  • 9000+ textbooks and 22,000+ stationery kits have been supplied to students

Making change at the community level

Girls targeted by S4S – little sisters – are directly supported by ‘big sisters’, slightly older girls who have completed their own education and encourage their little sisters to stay in, or return to school.

The big sisters offer coaching and support to boost self-esteem, check up on little sisters’ attendance rates, and even successfully re-enroll drop outs. They also facilitate community discussions alongside adult champions.

Januka Tapa Mager became a big sister having been one of the few girls in her own community growing up to finish school:

“Change is happening, but it is slow. More families are now sending their girls to school, and more women are finding the courage to find a job as well as motherhood. I want to show them that they can complete their education, and feel confident about themselves.”

Adult champions discuss the value of girls' education | VSO Nepal

Adult champions train and support big sisters, and play a key role in leading discussions about girls’ education with girls’ families and other community members, to help people understand the value of girls completing their education. Some are teachers, and champion the Sisters for Sisters cause in focus schools. 

Making education inclusive

We’re training teachers to make sure girls aren’t ignored in class, supporting schools to come up with plans to create a better environment for girls and working with the Nepal government to even up education for girls all across the country.

Volunteer Ann Marcer with a Big Sister and a local volunteer | VSO International

Specialist education volunteers have shared expertise at all levels to help girls get a better start in life. Ann Marcer spent more than two years working with schools and has observed clear change:

“Almost two years ago, a serious feature of many lessons was the domination by and favouritism for the boy students.

Having watched one lesson where the teacher completely ignored the girls in the class, I asked him if he had forgotten them. He replied that "They wouldn't have wanted to answer questions anyway, so there was no point in asking them."!

In all schools there has been change. In almost all of the 36 lessons I observed there was equal teaching of boys and girls.” 

Read more of Ann's impressions of the impact of Sisters for Sisters.

Partners

Sisters for Sisters’ Education in Nepal is run in partnership with the Ministry for Education, Department of Education, managed by VSO and funded by the UK Department for International Development and the Million Hours Fund.

Implementing partners

  • Global Action Nepal
  • Aasaman Nepal

Project team

Raj Kumar Gandharba | VSO Nepal
Raj Kumar Gandharba – Head of education and health programmes

Melinda Amihan | VSO Nepal
Melinda Amihan – M&E co-ordinator

Sweta Shahi | VSO Nepal
Sweta Shahi – Project co-ordinator

Contact us

  • Local office: VSO Nepal, Doka Dol Sanepa, Lalitpur, Nepal (PO Box 207, Kathmandu)
  • Telephone: (+977) 1 554 1469
  • Email: vsonepal@vsoint.org
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