Enabling communities to become more gender sensitive
  • Lamjung and Surkhet
  • 2014 - 2017
  • 400 girls and young women
khelau khelau

Why Sisters for Sisters?

In Nepal, girls are considerably more likely to drop out of school than boys. In fact, across the education system, there are around 30% more boys than girls. There are many reasons for this, such as early marriage, the financial cost, the need to look after younger siblings, the lack of appropriate sanitation facilities and social stigmatization. Sisters for Sisters (S4S) equips communities with the tools and resources to combat these problems, and to keep girls in school for as long as possible.

Empowering Older Girls

The key mechanism for delivering this change is by empowering older girls (‘big sisters’) who have completed secondary school to support four younger girls (‘little sisters’) who are at risk of dropping out school. They work with the girls, their families and their schools to ensure that they remain within formal education structures.

Working with VSO

S4S is a partnership with VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas) which is funded through the UK’s Department for International Development VSO volunteers – experts in education, gender and other fields – support, develop and upskill the project staff to ensure the long-term sustainability of the programme

Community Support

Community mobilisers also support and train the big sisters, working with them on maximising the impact of the programme. The team works directly with schools and all educational stakeholders (e.g. teachers, headteachers, school governors) to help them create a gender sensitive environment.

Building up Confidence

One of the main aims of the S4S programme is enable girls and young women to develop their self-confidence – for example by speaking in public, which many of them have never done before.

Changing Attitudes

This self-confidence is further developed – and key educational messages shared – through open theatre. The participants in the programme are enabled to write, produce, direct and act in their own plays, which deal with a range of societal issues. These plays are then performed in the communities. This is a powerful way of raising issues and bringing about changes in attitudes.

Big Sisters

Big Sisters also participate in workshops where they develop knowledge and understanding about subjects often considered taboo, such as menstruation. Not only are the programme participants encouraged to talk about these issues to understand them better, they are also given practical, tangible support. Here, for example, the little sisters are being taught how to make sanitary pads using locally available materials.

Promoting and Encouraging

Sport – again often a taboo area for young women in Nepal – is another area which GAN promotes and encourages, so that they can realise the physical, mental and emotional benefits which play can bring.

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