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Her Farm Offers Hope to Children and Women in Nepal
Women in Nepal own land and pursue new occupations. 
A small village in Nepal, Mankhu, has a unique program for women’s empowerment — Her Farm — where women are in a position to pursue their dreams, learn how to drive a motorbike, learn English, work in radio, study film and photography and so much more.

 

Women in Nepal

Even though the women in Nepal run the house, most women still depend on male family members for financial stability. This pattern often leaves many women unable to escape abusive circumstances and limits them from pursuing their passions.

A village program with a group of 30 people, mainly women and children, focuses on allowing women to own land and pursue their dream jobs outside of just traditionally female areas of occupation like handicrafts or food production.

The people come from very different backgrounds with some from the village, some escaping from abusive relationships and some coming from mental-health facilities or broken homes.

 

Violence and Gender Inequality

In a survey from the Ministry of Health and Population of Nepal in 2011, 28 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 said they had experienced violence from their partner at least once in their partnership; 14 percent had experienced it in the last year.

Women who do not have an occupation often have no choice but to stay in an abusive relationship.

The government of Nepal recognizes this problem has offered significant tax cuts if land is registered in a woman’s name, but little progress has resulted. Her Farm is responding to this issue by offering a safe place for women.

The country ranks 115th in the Gender Inequality Index by the United Nations Development Program, and child marriage also remains a problem. Her Farm provides education so all the children in the village can go to school every day.

 

Women Farmers

A joint program by U.N. Women and partners in Nepal has also improved women farmers’ agricultural production and income, as well as changed many of the gender-discriminatory attitudes of their male counterparts.

An irrigation system was built to bring fresh water closer to homes and water the crops through support from the Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment Joint Program and was implemented by U.N. Women, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme. Such developments are funded by a consortium of donors that focus on economic empowerment.

Rural women in Nepal lack recognition for their roles, making up a large proportion of the agricultural labor force and sustaining nearly 80 percent of the population.

 

Ending Discrimination

Women farmers face discrimination with unequal pay and lack of access to resources and markets. Fortunately, though, the narrative is changing as women’s agricultural production improves and the program increases their income, food security and independence.

As women in Nepal take up leadership positions, their children can follow their footsteps and have women to look up to as they change the climate for women in Nepal.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

Sustainable Agriculture in Nepal

Nepalese society faces challenges regarding agricultural disparity, a cultural problem rooted in the caste system. Sustainable agriculture in Nepal is essential to the growth and development of the Nepalese.

According to GlobalGiving, malnutrition and food insecurity are common obstacles that Nepalese society endures. Subsistence farming, a system in which farmers grow enough food to feed their own families, does not always provide adequate nutrients and is hindered by severe weather.

Educate the Children (ETC) aims to teach, provide resources such as agricultural tools and high-quality seeds and improve food security. Agriculture in Nepal is not providing enough security for families. Educate the Children’s Agricultural Development Program offers assistance to Nepalese women with practical farming skills to produce greater quantities of nutritious food. The ADP will provide sustainable agriculture in Nepal through organic cultivation that can decrease the use of chemicals.

ETC provides their women’s groups with seeds, tools and access to credit via group funds to rent land for enough produce to sell. Sustainable agriculture in Nepal is also being taught to young children, training them on planning, cultivating and harvesting gardens. The knowledge they learn is passed onto their families to demonstrate the importance of sustainable agriculture.

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) believes in the power of sustainable agriculture, noting that agriculture makes up one-third of Nepal’s GDP and is the main source of income for two-thirds of the population. Food security and adequate nutrition are important objectives for Nepal. Their solutions for establishing sustainable agriculture in Nepal include education and training for people of all ages, particularly women, who have an opportunity to improve nutrition and health.

The Sustainable Agriculture Development Program in Nepal (SADP) aims to improve the resources of Nepalese farmers and communities via an understanding of agricultural development and promoting sustainable farming techniques. Actions taken by SADP to promote sustainable agriculture include demonstrating various farming methods, teaching communities the necessary skills needed for food production and establishing resources for Nepalese communities that can be sustained.

Sustainable agriculture in Nepal is a work in progress with development and changes underway. This work will not only help create an environmentally friendly society, but also improve the lives of many throughout Nepal.

– Jennifer Serrato

Photo: Flickr