Friday 07 July 2017

Incepted in December  2014 the project aimed at combatting the discrimination of the Dalit population in Siraha and Gorkha districts and to promote their access to economic, social and political rights –Ensuring Rights through Skills and Voice project is at its conclusion phase.

 This European Union funded project was jointly implemented by the British Council Nepal, Association of Dalit Women Advancement of Nepal (ADWAN) and Nepal National Dalit Social Welfare Organization (NNDSWO).

 Direction of the project

The overall goal of the project was to contribute to combating the discrimination of the Dalit population and to promote their access to economic, social and political rights. Its specific objectives were:  to increase the participation of Dalit women (some disabled) in economic activities and to build the capacity of community groups, including Dalit Civil Society Organisations and Community Based Organisations and government organization working at a local level to actively promote the economic, social and political rights of Dalit Women in Gorkha and Siraha districts of Nepal.

The project had 2 major components (a) Access to Skills (b) Access to Voice

The project conducted trainings in four different categories

  1. Vocational skill training- Bamboo stool/rack making, seasonal/off-seasonal veg. farming, mushroom/flower/lapsi/grape/ginger production, poultry farming, goat rearing, bamboo handicraft, pickle/detergent powder/dalmoth/bhujiya/incense stick/candle/laha-churi making training)
  2.  Entrepreneurship skill development
  3. Social accountability tools-Public hearing, participatory planning and budgeting, community score card, right to information, legal treatment against caste discrimination
  4. Strategic planning workshop

 Impact of the project

Out of 1700 Dalit women who were given training on skills development, 62.31 percent of them have succeeded to earn approximately between NPR 1,000-30,000 monthly, in addition to what they had been making. This has enabled them further to improve their living standards by providing them better access to nutrition, education, health, clothing, homes and sanitary facilities. The project has helped women from the Dalit community to come together to voice against the social practices of untouchability and caste discrimination. As a result, such discriminatory behaviours in their society have lowered remarkably.

  • Dalits living in the catchment area of these two districts now have better access to the facilities they are entitled to by government and non-government organisations. Some of the examples to this are their access to their birth certificate, marriage certificate, fair treatment in health posts and old-age allowance.
  • From the training given to the officials of government and non-government organisations on the public hearing, tools of social accountability, budgeting and rights to information, their working style and atmosphere have now become more accountable and transparent.
  • There has been an improvement of participation and involvement of Dalit women in local politics, social and financial institutions such as ward citizen forum, citizen awareness centre and cooperatives, different user groups, community school management committee etc. 

 Lessons learnt

  • To improve the quality of life of marginalized community people through improvement of their economic, social and political status, the duration of this project was short and generally, the lifespan of this type of project should be at least 4 years.
  • Considering the economic state of the nation and mushrooming private sector in Nepal, it would be relatively more result-oriented to create opportunities for financially deprived and marginalized people in self-employment rather than wage employment. Various studies carried out in this field also support this learning.
  • To achieve high employability, skill training should be followed by entrepreneurship skills, business counselling and business start-up support. In absence of capital and entrepreneurship knowledge, individuals may be pushed back to poverty and unemployment.  The majority of financial institutions do not have access to the village and do not lend loans to the financially challenged people without collateral which is the major constraint to transfer skill/knowledge of beneficiary into micro-enterprise and employment.
  • The design of this project comprising of skills and rights components and focused on Dalit people were highly appreciated by the beneficiaries, stakeholders and evaluators.  The prime factor of making any project successful depends mainly on the design of the project based on target people’s needs and interests. 

About the British Council

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and Nepal. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and Nepal – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

British Council works with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year British Council reaches over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.

 Founded in 1934, British Council is a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of British Council’s income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisation. Eighteen per cent of British Council’s funding is received from the UK government.