Invest in Girls – Change the World

Since January 2023, EcoHimal has been able to implement a comprehensive Gender Friendly Himalayan School Programme Nepal in several parts of the country.

In the remote areas many schools do not even have the basic requirements like water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. Over 3,500 schools do not have access to water sources, and more than half of all schools do not have toilets for girls with running water. The provision of WASH facilities is particularly important in the current circumstances where good hygiene is a critical factor in preventing the spread of the virus and endemic disease. There is a direct correlation between menstrual health, WASH facilities and student absenteeism. Poor sanitation and lack of gender sensitivity has been identified as one of the major causes for girls’ school dropouts.

There are several Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) problems especially related with the adolescent girls i.e., lack of effective menstrual hygiene practices, gender sensitive sanitation facilities, menstrual hygiene management education as well as pain relief, social stigma of menstruation, early marriage, early pregnancy, unsafe abortion, sexual abuse etc. Due to the unsecure and unsafe school environment, irregularity, absenteeism, dropouts in school attendance of adolescent girls are very common. Around a quarter of adolescent girls are missing school due to menstruation. Menstrual hygiene management process with hygiene and dignity is critical for the health and education of girls, yet it is often overlooked in rural areas of Nepal. Menstrual taboos are very common in the society and Nepali women and girls have suffered and sacrificed greatly on health and dignity, frequently resulting in deaths during practices like Chhaupadi, the menstrual exile.

The aim of the three-year project is to make a significant contribution to improving the health and education situation of children in rural areas, particularly poor and marginalised girls. This includes gender-equitable washing facilities in all target schools, the creation of a girl-friendly learning environment and quality education in the schools, as well as improving the knowledge and skills of teachers, mothers and children in the areas of nutrition, health, sanitation and hygiene.

Project regions are communities in the districts of Solokhumbu, Khotang, Achham and Kalikot.

The new project, which is to be completed by 2026, will continue and significantly expand the scope of our efforts.

The project is supported by HelpAlliance, RTL-Spendenmarathon and Mastercard.

Health project for young women

In rural areas of Nepal, there are several adolescent and sexual reproductive health (ASRH) problems especially related with the adolescent girls i.e. lack of effective menstrual hygiene practices, gender sensitive sanitation facilities, respective education as well as pain relief, social stigma of menstruation, early marriage, early pregnancy, unsafe abortion, sexual abuse etc. Due to the unsecure and unsafe school environment, irregularity in school attendance of adolescent girls is highly prevailed. ASRH education is not promoted at school and even there is no friendly environment between teachers and students to discuss ASRH issues.

Like other remote districts, such situation is prevailed in Khotang district. Adolescent girls still use cloth pieces during periods and this is due to lack of menstrual hygiene awareness. Teenage girls, even women have no knowledge regarding the menstrual process and reproductive hygiene as well.

The project area is Rawabesi Rural Municipality lying in south east part of the district. It is multi-ethnic – local population comprises Rai, Tamang, Brahmin, Chhetri, Dalit and other minorities. The local inhabitants are much marginalized from development aspects like accessibility of safe drinking water, sanitaiton and hygiene facilities. The programme targets 2564 school children (1317 boys and 1247 girls) of 10 schools especially focusing on 1659 (64.70%) adolescent girls and boys.

This work has continued with a similar focus in Achham District, Far Western Region, since 2021. In total 34 schools, 197 teachers and 5612 young people will be reached with sexual and reproductive health education. 

The two-year project focuses particularly on improving the situation of young sexually mature girls and on health aspects such as menstrual hygiene. The menstrual cycle is still very much a taboo in the remote mountain regions. Presenting these connections and eliminating the tradition of menstrual exile for women (called Chhaupadhi), which is widespread in society, are focal points of the educational work. In order to prevent this exclusion, retreats for girls and sanitary facilities are built in the schools, which are financed by the local government.

All costs for education and training measures within the framework of these projects are borne by the Salzburg provincial government.

Empowerment of girls in Western Nepal

Thanks to a grant from the Province of Salzburg we were able to support the empowerment of girls in mountain villages in West-Nepal. In this project 280 girls from remote villages were given the opportunity to attend empowerment workshops dealing with the topics safety/protection from violence, health and education as well as empowerment. In particular, (sexualised) violence and cultural taboos regarding menstruation are an additional barrier for girls and women which affects their access to education and their life chances negatively. Knowledge, information, self-assuredness and confidence in their own abilities as well as mutual support and responsibility are important aspects of the  empowerment workshops.

The project will helped to ensure that girls and young women in the target region get access to knowledge, receive information, develop greater self-assuredness and confidence  in their own abilities and feel more competent to stand up for their own opinions.

Our partner organisation Phase Nepal  implemented the project. Phase Nepal has many years of experience in West-Nepal and a record of successful projects in the field of supporting women and girls.

The project was finalized successfully in November 2016.

Help us to help others - For a better future of girls and young women in Nepal:


EcoHimal Austria Gesellschaft für Zusammenarbeit Alpen-Himalaya
Hofhaymer Allee 11/17
5020 Salzburg
T: +43 662 829492
ZVR Zahl: 886266575

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