Nepal is sandwiched between the giants India and China. The country is hard hit by climate change and often by earthquakes, floods and landslides. This makes it very difficult for the mountainous country to build up the infrastructure. Large parts of the population are self-sufficient in rural areas and surveys show that around 40 percent are malnourished.
Prolonged political unrest, where the struggle for a constitution has long been central, has hampered development in the country. The combination of poverty, overpopulation, poor quality of education, corruption and gender discrimination means that many children and young people have a challenging upbringing.
Some results from the past year
The past year has been marked by local elections and natural disasters. Floods and landslides have affected 24 districts after heavy rains. The local elections resulted in greater power for the districts and a better gender balance in the representation, which is seen as positive for the implementation of the new constitution.
Plan International was quickly on hand to hand out food parcels and temporary protection after the floods in August. Last year, we also improved access to clean drinking water for 433 families by building and improving the water supply in the areas where we work. We want more young women to have better financial security and that is why we have provided vocational training and skills-enhancing courses in agriculture.
Disaster protection and assistance
Emergency aid after the disaster
We did not sleep at all that night when our whole village was filled with water. It was also scary on the day when the water just rose. When one of the walls fell due to the rain, we felt really worried.
Manisha, 8 years old, lives in Rautahat
On August 11, 2017, 24 districts in Nepal were hit by floods and landslides after prolonged and heavy rainfall. People were killed and thousands of houses were washed away, roads were destroyed and the electricity grid was damaged. Plan International was quickly there with food and tarpaulins as temporary protection for the affected families. Our long-term and rebuilding work is now underway.
300 girls took over the radio broadcasts
This experience gives me the opportunity to learn how radio works and how we can share our stories through programs there.
Kabita, 16 years old
In connection with International Girls’ Day on 11 October, 300 girls from 75 districts took over the roles of radio presenters and journalists at 300 radio stations across the country. Most of the girls had never visited a radio station before and used the opportunity to talk about gender equality and girls’ rights.
During the day, the girls had the opportunity to talk to decision makers and leaders. They also received two days of training to be able to make their own radio program and thus also encouragement and skills to be able to formulate their own opinions and thoughts.
Stone by stone, Binita is building her future
Being the only female mason is not always easy. But Binita is proud and happy to take the fight to be a good role model. She received her education with the support of Plan International.
Binita is 20 years old and lives in the district of Dolakha in Nepal. She studied until she was 17, but then the family could not afford to let her stay in school. Binita has a younger brother and a younger sister. In April 2015, an earthquake destroyed her home, it had a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale. Now Binita lives in her uncle’s home. With support from Plan International, she decided to go through a seven-day training to become a bricklayer and be able to get a certificate from the government. As a certified mason, she can then apply for a job at a company and earn better.
– I have to support my family financially. I have been given this chance and everything is new to me, but I feel happy that I can build a wall and be part of the reconstruction of our neighbors’ homes even if I am a girl, she says.
She feels proud to be a woman who supports her family and wants to be a source of inspiration for others. She wanted to convince those who believed that women could not wall.
– Now I am absolutely sure that women can do everything that men can. Women must ensure that the family survives, but they must also have the opportunity to stand on their own two feet, says Binita.
Binita wakes up at four every morning and takes care of the kitchen and the goats before she goes to work. She earns less than her male colleagues, but much more than she did before graduating. Now she is learning to build earthquake-proof houses and hopes to be able to build her own one day.
Facts about Nepal
Population: 28 million
Life expectancy: 70 years
Infant mortality rate: 28 per 1000 births
Proportion of children starting school: 98.5%
Proportion of women in parliament: 29.6%