In Nepal 10% of girls are married before the age of 15 and 37% are married before the age of 18. Violence against women is high among marginalised communities. And both men and women from ethnic minorities often face issues gaining rights to their land and access to basic services. As a result, among some communities, poverty remains high.
Through Child Sponsorship we work with communities in Bardiya and, from 2018, Kathmandu. In Bardiya, thanks to Child Sponsors in Ireland we are making huge strides to end harmful traditional practices like child marriage and witch-craft accusations; we are getting more and more children back to school; we are helping women become financially independent for the first time and we are helping the community to gain land rights.
At the end of 2017 we completed a 12 year programme in Bara that had been funded by Child Sponsors in Ireland. The idea of child sponsorship is that an organisation funds community development, benefiting children and families, for a set period of time and once the community is confident it can continue the change on its own the organisation moves on. In Bara this has worked tremendously well, with children now leading the fight against child marriage in their villages. Thanks to campaigns that were founded by ActionAid but run by the local community the school enrolment rate has gone from 70% to 90% in Bara! And many villages in the region have been declared “Child Marriage Free Zones.”
Thanks to Irish Aid funding we are working in three regions in Nepal, using an innovative behavioural change methodology to end violence against women and increase women’s economic empowerment. The three regions we are working with through Irish Aid funding are: Parsa, Makwanpur and Chitwan.