British Council Nepal has partnered with VSO Nepal to implement English and Digital for Girls’ Education (EDGE) programme as a component in the latter’s wider Sister for Sisters’ Education II with aims to improve the life prospects of adolescent girls in socio-economically marginalized communities in Nepal. The programme focuses on enhancing participants’ English proficiency, digital skills and social/life skills; all key skill which have been identified as lacking in the labour market in South Asia. EDGE also focuses on improving girls’ awareness of social issues. As a result of skill development, they will be better able to make more informed and independent life choices, as is their right, in order to contribute more fully to the family, the economy and society. In addition, EDGE aims to improve the leadership skills of a smaller group of peer leaders drawn from the same communities of adolescent girls. 

Initial Training for Peer Group Leaders was conducted in Birendranagar, Surkhet during 24th to 28th May, 2018. Total 60 girls attended the training in 2 batches: 30 in each. 4 Master Trainers from British Council Nepal delivered training to each 30 cohort of girls in 2 venues. Before the training, field staff from Global Action Nepal (GAN) took consent from the parents/guardians of girls for their travel and training. 

The girls were selected from the cohort of Sisters for Sisters Education-II Big Sisters and Little Sisters who will then cascade the English, digital and social/life skills learning to the club members in EDGE clubs. Global Action Nepal (GAN) took the initiation in selecting PGLs using tools developed by the British Council. Out of 101 girls, 60 girls were selected by using selection criteria which measured their English and Digital tests scores, willingness and self-reflection, apart from their educational level.  

4 Master Trainers from British Council delivered 4 days intensive residential training to the girls where they were facilitated on learning different skills. The training was successful in terms of delivery. Majority of the girls mentioned about learning English, digital and developing communication skills, when asked about expectation of the training. The girls were acquainted with training schedule and were given different tasks to do based on the English and digital skills they were provided. The resources for the training were Peer Group Leader handbook, Peer Group Leader Workbook, EDGE Club Notebook, pen drives, English and bilingual dictionaries, story books, laptops and phablets.  

Comments from one of the EDGE Master trainers, Mr. Ishwor Prasad Kadel:

Girls’ involvement and participation is the training activities were commendable and 

“On the second day, my sessions were on "EDGE Pack" and "How to play games"; both sessions went well with good involvement of the participants. This time also I found that the participants needed more time to explore the PGLs Handbook and they needed more time than I managed to get introduced with the contents in phablet and computer. Yet, I am very much satisfied with the progress the PGLs have achieved by the second day of the training.

The participants enjoyed the other session" How to play games" , involved in two different games - head and shoulders , knees and toes.....and eyes eyes- mouth large groups.

They went through all the games in laptop and phablet, had group discussions and shared their understandings working with their PGLs pairs and the PGLs who will be running clubs in close areas”

A part of report from one of the Master Trainers, Ms. Upasana Shrestha is provided below. She mentioned how the girls cooperated in the training and how they scheduled the training: 

“We started the training at 9:00 which only was over at around 6:20 p.m. I initiated with welcome and outline of training which covered the introductory part of the participants and their expectation from the training program. I found the expectation quite related to the program. They were made clear on the aim of the training course. While sharing the training schedule, they were instructed to fill the workbook as per the schedule printed in the workbook. Then, the changed schedule was displayed and we made sure that we will cover all the sessions within 4 days”.

She also mentioned about the challenges of time management and how they coped up with it:

“Overall the content of training was covered as per the Trainers notes but we had to extend the time each day. The most amazing pat was the participants were not bored and seemed ready to stay longer. Completing 5 days session in 4 days was a big challenge as it was not only meant for completing but moreover making them able to apply all the techniques in their club. I can’t wait to see them running their clubs effectively.”

After the training, feedbacks from the girls were taken which showed that almost all girls were happy with the training and contents of the materials. They were also satisfied with the trainers and their training delivery. As many of the PGLs were using the laptops and phablets for the first time, they were nervous and excited as the same time. Most of them said ‘using laptops and phablets were the most exciting part of the training’.