Children in Nepal at an education fair

Strengthening civil society organisations for resilient and inclusive education governance


January 2021 to June 2024

Every child has the right to quality education, without discrimination and on an equal opportunity basis. Yet poverty and prejudice still prevent many disadvantaged children in Nepal from receiving the education they are entitled to.

Children using sign language in the classroom
Children sharing their thoughts through sign language during a Focused Group Discussion, organised to assess educational challenges and barriers in schools faced by children with disabilities.

Through the SAHAYATRA project (Strengthening civil society organisation for resilient and inclusive education governance in Nepal), VSO is committed to promoting inclusive and quality education, so that these children too can develop and pursue their dreams.

The issue facing children in Nepal

Although more and more children are attending elementary school in Nepal, access to quality education is still not a given for all. In particular, girls, ethnic minorities, children from the Dalit community, and children with disabilities face poverty, prejudice and discrimination.

This makes it difficult or even impossible for them to attend school. The quality of education also leaves much to be desired in many areas, such as in the districts of Bara, Parsa, Rautahat and Sarlahi. As a result, the children do not learn to read, calculate and write properly. 

Without proper education, children lack the knowledge and skills to advance to secondary education, to actively participate in society, and to find a job and decent income in the future. They remain trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty.

We will reach...


10,000 students - 4,000 males and 6,000 females.


120 teachers and headteachers.


10,000 parents

Young boys learning maths
Children are learning mathematics through peer support, an approach that helps to increase academic, independence, and social engagement opportunities for children helping them to stay motivated, engaged, and excited to learn.

How we're improving educational opportunities

When children are offered appropriate education from preschool age, they learn more easily in subsequent years. They are more likely to complete school successfully and build a better life. With the SAHAYATRA project, we are improving educational opportunities for disadvantaged children aged 3 - 10 (especially girls and children with disabilities) in the Nepalese districts of Bara, Rautahat, Parsa and Sarlahi.

Helping disadvantaged children get the education they deserve

We're ensuring that 10,000 disadvantaged children, including girls and children with disabilities, receive appropriate and quality education. We do this by training teachers in pedagogy and didactics. We also provide reading corners and remedial teaching classes, where children can catch up on their learning deficits with appropriate support.

Working with the community

Children in Nepal at an education fair
Children at a secondary school displaying their learning materials during an inclusive school fair. This is a platform where teachers, children and parents come together to observe and learn about different learning materials made by the children.

We actively involve disadvantaged communities in education. Together they address the barriers that prevent children from receiving an education. We work closely with youth, parents, teachers, school management committees and associations of parents and teachers.

Strengthening civil society organisations

We strengthen local civil society organisations so they can better lobby the government for policies that promote the quality and access to education. We do by increasing their knowledge and skills in conducting research and interpreting the results correctly. This data management is indispensable for making well-considered and well-founded recommendations to policy makers.

Implementing policies for change

We train and coach policy makers, so they are better able to create and implement policies that promote the quality of and access to education. They for instance learn how education can be made more accessible to girls and children with disabilities. There is also a focus on climate resilience so that children can continue to receive education, even in the face of extreme weather and natural disasters.

Volunteering for development

Big Sister Rama helps her Little Sister Pramila to study
VSO/Suraj Shakya

The project utilises two types of volunteers, national and community volunteers. The national volunteers support implementing partners, schools, local service providers and the community leaders to improve learning achievement (literacy and numeracy) of marginalized children. They also develop the capacity of schoolteachers, community volunteers and implementing partners to ensure the quality of service delivery and provide mentoring and coaching support to the teachers, and community volunteers on quality teaching and learning processes.

National volunteers also support civil society organisations in advocating for the mainstreaming of disability, inclusion, resilient and gender responsive policies and support the collection and documentation of evidence-based knowledge management of the project.

Community volunteers take on the role of 'big sisters' on the project. As they know the needs and challenges with the community, they are best placed to identify out-of-school marginalised children and support them to enrol in schools.  They provide mentoring and coaching support to the marginalized and most vulnerable children both in school and at home.  

They also mobilise local youth volunteers, child clubs and Girls and Inclusive Education Network (GIEN) to carry out different awareness raising activities.

Learn more about our volunteering for development model

Peer mentoring

European Union flag
Funded by the European Union.

SAHAYATRA  trains local volunteers to act as 'big sisters', building on the successful peer mentoring approach used in our Sisters for Sisters project.

Big sisters - women and girls from the community - guide their 'little sisters' when they encounter problems, encourage them to continue going to school and teach them how to stand up for their rights. They also help with the culture change that is needed.

They share their own experiences and provide advice and information, especially in the area of sexual and reproductive health. For example, they engage with families and the community about the importance of education for girls and issues such as forced marriage and sexual abuse. 

Find out more

Purnima at a catch up class
Suraj Shakya

Inclusive and resilient education

Making sure everyone gets the skills they need to live a fulfilled, dignified life.

We helped over 3.2 million people to access the quality education they deserve in 2022-23.

Young Nepalese girl with her brother


We've worked in Nepal since 1964, building healthy communities, strengthening inclusive education systems, and developing community resilience.

Consolata and her mother

Our projects

VSO runs a vast range of projects spanning our three global programmes; resilient livelihoods, inclusive education and healthy communities.