- Rock Climbing Expenditure 2009
- Evaluation Report 2009
- Awards and Recognition
- Latest Balance Sheet
- Registration Certificate
- Detailed Balance Sheet
- Auditor's Report
Below you will find fully detailed information about the project:
1. What is the actual local situation you are addressing?
Tourism is a major industry in Nepal, but adventure tourism activities are strongly male-dominated. Trekking/mountaineering are great sports, open to all women in the western world, but women in Nepal were traditionally forbidden to participate. Women are not encouraged to become involved in tourism and lack of education, knowledge and skills has left women far behind in this field.
EWN promotes gender equality and female empowerment through female trekking guide training, rock/ice climbing training and mobile eco-tourism training in poor, isolated mountain communities. Our mission is to help foster the growth of independent, self-sufficient, decision-making women and encourage self-empowerment by giving women opportunities to discover their own talents and learn new skills. Many women attending our training programs come from remote, mountainous areas in West Nepal – areas traditionally deprived of education and economic opportunity. Discrimination and cultural stereotypes prevent these women from having basic human rights (education, healthcare, nutrition, safe shelter). They are denied access to make basic decisions about their own lives.
2. What has led you (or the organisation) to start the project?
Having visited west Nepal in 1986 and seen at first-hand the terrible plight of the women there, I longed to do something to help them. After starting a trekking business with my sisters in 1994, we soon realized that there was a big demand for women trekking guides and we started looking for women to work with us as guides. Since women in west Nepal are used to a physically challenging and demanding life with little economic resources, they are ideal candidates to become trekking guides. The women who initially came to us looking for work had limited education and no skills or knowledge of trekking tourism. We learned that trekking guide training provided by a local training institute was not suitable for rural women with little or no education. I therefore founded Empowering Women of Nepal in 1999 to help the disadvantaged rural women of Nepal by providing free training. Beginning with female trekking guide training programs in Pokhara, I then started running mobile training courses in the local communities in west Nepal to give more women the opportunity to learn about ecotourism, health, sanitation, food preparation, lodge management, etc.
3. What do you want to achieve?
To empower women socially and economically by providing practical skills-based training combined with employment opportunities. Although these employments are specifically focused on the trekking and climbing, it helps to make the whole tourism industry more accessible for women in general. Our program has opened doors and created a new profession in adventure tourism for women. It’s our aim to further widen these doors allowing for more female employment and thus empowerment. By giving women opportunities, we want to transform the social stigmas of women “can’t do” and “should not do”, into women “can do”.
4. How are you going to achieve it?
We plan a new adventure training centre in Pokhara to enable us to increase trekking guide trainee intake and provide more trekking guide training at different levels throughout the year. More rural women will travel to Pokhara for trekking guide training. Many women are experiencing for the first time in their lives to live independently, being able to support themselves and their families. In this respect, it will be essential to expand our overall training curriculum, including rock/ice climbing and leadership training.
Recently we opened an office in Jumla, west Nepal, to reach as many women in the region as possible, particulary in more isolated mountain communities where skills-based training in ecotourism related topics would especially benefit women with no previous access to education, training and income-earning opportunities. We are working to promote new trekking routes in west Nepal. We will encourage Nepali trekking agencies to operate treks in undeveloped rural areas, employ trained women/men and promote 3 Sisters’ example of buying supplies/hiring staff locally on treks, ensuring money goes directly to local communities. By providing training courses to communities along these new routes we will establish a model for positive, sustainable ecotourism with minimum negative impact that can be replicated elsewhere.
5. What is your long term vision for the project?
That there will be gender equality in the job market and in adventure tourism in particular. We will reach a point when women will have the same opportunities as men, both educationally and economically. Women will be economically independent and women’s empowerment will no longer be something that has to be taught, but will be a natural part of everyday life for women. I want to support local communities in west Nepal in becoming responsible tourism destinations and promote these areas as a poverty alleviation tourism development model, both nationally and globally. Local communities will take responsibility for their own futures, both initiating and controlling their own development programs.
6. How is your idea/project going to benefit the community or the situation?
In 10 years over 600 women have attended our female trekking guide training, with 80+ women working directly as guides/staff at 3Sisters and others working in a variety of tourism related jobs. Through the training, women acquire skills to earn money, interact with the world and discover their own strengths – critically important in a culture where women have been consistently marginalised. They show visible changes in confidence, independence and professional skills. Many who come to Pokhara benefit from further education opportunities that are lacking in their own communities.
In remote west Nepal we provides training courses in sustainable eco-tourism and lodge management and so far, we have trained over 150 women in food preparation, health, hygiene, and waste disposal resulting in clear, visible improvements in health and sanitation with communities organizing ongoing village cleanups. Women who were without hope are now optimistic about the future as they see the income-earning opportunities available to them. Local communities take the initiative, forming district tourism committees, building trails, asking us for advice setting up guidelines to promote/control tourism development and ensure best practices are followed. Communities and survivors in these post-internal conflict areas are motivated to work on tourism development.
7. Which results do you expect?
We expect to see an increase in the number of trained women working as both trekking and mountaineering guides with many more women involved in tourism generally. As trekking tourism reaches the rural, isolated mountain communities in west Nepal, we expect to see improvements in the living conditions and economic situation of women and their families. As money enters the area, we expect to see improved infrastructure and tourist facilities and an increasing market for sustainable ecotourism as word spreads internationally of the opportunities for tourists to experience the unspoiled culture and environment of west Nepal.
Our mobile training in sustainable eco-tourism and lodge management in west Nepal is currently funded by outside sponsors. However, we believe that once best practices have been learnt and adopted within the communities over a period of years then the best practices become an integral part of the communites and will continue to be used without further help, effectively becoming self-sustaining with only occasional follow-up courses required. ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) is a good example of this – started in 1986 it took approximately 10 years to become self-sustaining.
8. How can you measure those results (quantifying)?
We see how the women’s lives change as they become independent and self-supporting, using the money earned to pay for university, family medical expenses, siblings’ education and starting businesses. When we educate women, we indirectly educate their families and friends. Men who were previously opposed to our work, now ask us to train their daughters/wives/sisters. We have seen an increasing number of men joining our training programs, being inspired by seeing happy, confident female trekking guides, who made a good living and eager to share their stories. We are currently carrying out our first survey looking at the socio-economic impact of women working in tourism. We intend to carry out further surveys in the future.
9. Communication, visits and feedback
How often will you be able to inform about progress and developments?
Every 6 months.
Who is the person responsible for communication?
When is the best time in the day/week for participants to contact you?
What is the best way to communicate (email, skype or other)?
Preferably via email
Do you accept participants visiting the project?
Which it is the best time?
Contact us to discuss.
Any requirements for visitors?
10. What do you expect from the Uniting People community?
I hope that it will provide a platform to share ideas and experiences and support us in our work, something that is lacking in Nepal. Our organization is always keen to build up good relationships with the right partners and I hope that the community will give us access to an international network of organizations, experts and volunteers.