VSO has been working in Nepal since 1964 and has been constant and trusted presence for the people here, including through the country's unstable recent history and disasters.
We reached 117,060 people in Nepal last year through inclusive education and inclusive governance programmes, including interventions on education, health, disaster recovery and preparedness, youth mobilisation and gender and social inclusion.
The drop-out rate for students in Nepal remains high. According to UNESCO (2016), only 75% of children who start primary school reach Grade 8. Girls in particular face many barriers to completing their studies, economic factors and the pressure to marry early forcing many to quit education early. On average, boys spend double the amount of time in school than girls.
Through recent amendments to the Education Act and development of the seven-year School Sector Development Plan, the Nepal government continues its efforts to ensure equal access to quality education. We believe that every child has the right to education. In Nepal, we are working to improve the quality of and access to education for disadvantaged children and young people, in order to develop a generation of healthy, employable and active citizens.
We send international volunteers into classrooms to share their skills as education professionals, to train and mentor teachers and introduce techniques for inclusive learning. We also give support to marginalised girls to keep them in school and build their confidence through one-to-one mentoring and learning support classes.
• Over 9,900 marginalised boys and girls showed direct improvements in their learning through our Inclusive Education programme.
• 2,500 children in grades 1-3 developed their literacy and numeracy skills due to our work improving teaching standards through our Teaching to Learn project in the remote districts of Jumla and Jajarkot. More teachers have also stopped practising corporal punishment, and are now focusing on child-centred teaching.
• Through our Sisters for Sisters mentoring programme, we supported 8,728 marginalised girls, and school attendance increased by 23% to 75%. Funding for this work has also just been extended, continuing as the Girls Education Challenge Transition.
Social innovation projects
Nepal has the second highest poverty rate in Asia, with 15% of people here living below the poverty line. We’re working in some of the most deprived districts to develop new and effective approaches to local development.
VSO Nepal’s partnership with the National Campaign for Education (NCE) resulted in the effective monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the School Sector Development Plan (SSDP), allowing us to put forward our voice in national and international forums. In addition to that, VSO Nepal has been working with the National Women’s Commission (NWC) and Beyond Beijing Committee (BBC) on the SDGs, focusing on goal five (gender), but also mainstreaming gender across all the other goals, with an aim to achieve 50:50 by 2030.
VSO Nepal’s project One Community One Family (OCOF) is part of a Global Programme on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), funded by the UK Government’s Department For International Development (DFID) to advance the global knowledge on prevention of violence against women. We’re listening to marginalised communities and working with them, along with stakeholders to design practical solutions, drawing on their knowledge and ideas and on the learning of VSO and our partners in Nepal and globally.
Our youth volunteers work with young people to increase awareness of sexual and reproductive health as part of the International Citizen Service (ICS). We’re researching how to strengthen Nepal’s health system and what support can be given to over 52,000 community health volunteers around the country. ICS engages young people to support development outcomes in sexual and reproductive health, vocational training, and inclusive governance. On the strength of VSO’s past successes, recently VSO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Youth Council to promote youth volunteerism and engagement in implementing Youth Vision 2025.
• 356 married men and women from 100 families affected by migration in the Baglung district were given gender training, in order to tackle attitudes to women and reduce exploitation and violence.
• Young people are more likely to talk openly about sexual health issues, visit a doctor when needed and are better aware of the importance of family planning due to the work of our ICS youth volunteers on sexual reproductive health and rights.
Post-disaster recovery and inclusive governance
In April 2015, Nepal suffered two devastating earthquakes, claiming nearly 9,000 lives. This left many homeless and damaged infrastructures such as schools and health centres, weakening the livelihoods of many vulnerable people. But the last two decades has been a period of instability due to natural disasters and conflicts.
We’re working with partners here to build resilience and develop systems so various organisations and agencies are better prepared to respond to disasters. We set-up an innovative coordination secretariat in early 2016 to help aid agencies and government work together on recovery efforts across the 14 most affected districts after the earthquakes.
“We all are aware about the importance of information. We faced different kinds of problem during disaster response and recovery phase because of lack of authentic information. This training will help to manage data effectively. I appreciate VSO Nepal support to us. Let’s start to make Bhaktapur one of the districts with authentic and updated data.”
Tej Prasad Paudel, Chief District Officer Bhaktapur
• The National Disaster Recovery Coordination Secretariat (NDRCS) worked with and coached 14 District Lead Support Agencies to find vulnerable groups and support the development partners. They then were supported to develop and effectively implement local disaster preparedness and response plans.
• NDRCS conducted Information Management Training in 12 of the most earthquake affected districts and trained 305 government and non-government agency officials. After the training, these agencies are now using common templates for progress reporting.
• We received funding for a project which will continue the work of NDRCS. The ECHO-funded PRAGATI project will grow the resilience of cities by strengthening the disaster risk reduction capacity of local authorities and active private sector involvement.
Quality inclusive education for all in Nepal
VSO’s work addresses barriers to access, retention, participation and equity. It aims for a child-friendly sector to deliver quality education to all children.
Social innovation projects in Nepal
VSO is implementing several pilot programmes to test and build a body of evidence for new approaches to local development.
Improving learning for vulnerable girls in Nepal
VSO’s Sisters for Sisters’ Education project established Nepal’s first Big Sisters mentoring movement.
Nepal earthquakes: One year on
Many thousands of earthquake survivors are still living in temporary camps. Health services and other infrastructure will need ongoing support to recover and be able to support the rebuilding of a nation.
VSO’s valued funding partners in Nepal include DFID, SAMRC and the EU. We have good relationships with Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Finance and the National Youth Council (NYC).
Through our support last year, partners made improvements in:
* Children’s access to quality learning
* Youth skills, entrepreneurship and employment
* Women’s access to better health care and services
* Availability of critical, lifesaving equipment
* Continuing professional development by teachers and education officials
* Program planning, monitoring and evaluation
* Women’s empowerment and income generation
“We need VSO’s support to focus more on accelerating collaboration and cooperation between stakeholders, especially with the government to reach the unreached and address their issues. One of the major achievements would be sustainability of VSO’s approaches. Lots of efforts through volunteers and programming interventions are going on which resulted into some good practices. Now we need to advocate for those good practices to be in the system.”
Mani Sharma, Bhimphokhara Youth Club (BYC), Baglung
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VSO Nepal (map link and directions)
Doka Dol, Sanepa