Project overview:
    Goal: Empowerment of women in political work Project components:
  • Coordination of the training¿s contents with both the women participating and the male representatives in the specific villages
  • Various groups from civil society (parties, women groups, etc.) select women for the training
  • Theoretic training content: political structure of Nepal, women¿s rights, voting rights
  • Practical training content: rhetoric, discussion techniques, implementation of cultural programs (theatre, etc.) for the diffusion of information
  • Establishment of women groups and microcredit schemes
  • Cultural programs to inform the village¿s inhabitants
  • Informational events for the entire village on subjects like the voting system, voting rights and the population¿s role in a democracy
  • Costs: 50.000 Euro over 3 years Results:
  • Education of 2400 women in small groups
  • In the project area, women of all political parties were elected
  • The women feel strong for the upcoming tasks
  • In the constituent assembly, the share of 30% women is reached Nepal-wide

Political education:
The role of women in terms of being the person of contact and being the responsible project manager becomes increasingly more important in the field of development cooperation. The inclusion of women in managerial and responsible positions is also codified in the Nepalese constitution. Already the constitution of 1990 aims at a female share of 30% in the parliament. Nevertheless, women are hardly represented (15/205 members of parliament). In year 2007, one third of all seats in the parliament were reserved for women during the election for the constituent assembly. Similar regulations were established for district- and village administration. However, a strong representation of women in the decision-making bodies cannot be equaled to an active and determined participation in the decision-making processes. In order to do so, it is necessary that potential candidates receive political education and training both in central and in peripheral decision-making bodies.
The Rural Development Foundation, a juristic NGO has devoted its commitment to this subject as a consultant to the government and to administrative structures in rural areas. The project took place in two under-privileged Nepalese districts: in Nuwakot, being located in the hills and Rautahat, being situated in the Terrai. Several events took place during the preparation for the elections, making the case for the election of women into responsible positions. This was welcomed by all parties and actively supported. At the same time, those women who were selected and sent by the parties got acquainted with their tasks as leaders. They were involved in projects of village development (water, toilets, health) and were supported by our project partners. Moreover, they organized a cultural event on a monthly basis that was also used to inform voters and to call for elections. By this means, the project succeeded in reaching about 30,000 women in the districts. After the election, the women received further support in their activities. In all of Nepal, more women participated in elections and the amount of elected parliamentary representatives increased in all parties. Also, the monetary means reserved for the promotion of women in the administrative structures were raised. Naturally, a direct consequence of the project is hardly measureable. Rather, some case studies of the project shall exemplify what has changed through the project.
Ms Amrita Saha, coordinator, women pressure group, Britiprastoka
Until 2 years ago, there was no project dedicated to the support of women. I attended school for 10 years but I did not know the importance of women being in a position to read and write and how much they profit from this ability. Many women die unnecessarily, they are beaten by their husbands. I could not intervene, I could only watch silently.
When the program started in 2007, I was charged with the assembly of all women. About 500 came. They asked for the establishment of a community so that their concerns and issues could get a hearing. I was selected as their leader. In the meantime, I am in 12th grade, we gave women a voice and even the poor request their participation in decision-making processes and political parties value our opinion. I am also the contact person to the District Development Office.
Ms Sita Khatiwada, coordinator, women pressure group, Taruka
I have been working for 12 years as a volunteer. In our village, women are completely dependent upon their husbands, they do not possess any own money. We started a microcredit program with RDF. Some women bought livestock, others invested in their working equipment. I bought some goats, which help me to earn 30,000-40,000 rupees per month so that I can pay off my debts. After others have seen my success, they want to participate in the project, too.
Ms Junu Mijar, member, pressure group, Suryamati
I am from a Dhalit community. I was often mistreated and discriminated in my village. I could not attend school, my father did not have any money. I saw the women gathering upon the arrival of RDF and carefully sat down on the periphery, but a coworker from RDF saw me and encouraged me to sit in the front. I was very shy, could hardly say my name. I was 22 years old. The woman asked me to participate in the group, I replied that I cannot read but eventually I joined the team. I learned about women¿s rights and elections and although I can neither read nor write, I feel stronger now. I received a credit amounting to 20,000 rupees and bought a sewing machine. Now I am working as a tailor. Even my husband began to respect me. I am very grateful to RDF.