In cooperation with PHASE Nepal, PHASE Austria (with funding from City of Vienna) is supporting a focus programme on access to education for disadvantaged children in Maila, Melchham, and Jair VDCs in Humla district in Nepal’s Western Development Region.
In spite of theoretical obligatory schooling, Nepal is still far from reaching the goal of general primary school education; in particular disadvantaged groups (low caste, extreme poor) are strongly affected by non-inscription as well as school-leaving. Girls are, as often, disproportionately affected.
The initial phase is being implemented now and consists of a survey by an education development facilitator, Anita Acharya, to identify children not attending school, and to discuss and hone the envisaged solutions to the problem, in cooperation with local stakeholders (education authorities, teachers, community representatives). At the end of this 6 months study and planning phase, PHASE and local agents will together decide which measures to implement. Anita was trained by our education officers, Bikash and Sumi before heading out to Humla and starting the survey.
We envisage two possible models: one alternative education model (local evening classes for the children concerned) and an incentive model (material incentive for carers of the children, integration of the children into general school). Both models have their pros and cons, which is why the initial phase of study and discussion is decisive for the project’s success.
For approximately 120 children in the project area, some of whom have never attended school, some of whom have left school after a short time, due partly to their poverty, loss of parent(s), lack of awareness of the importance of education, etc., this project offers a chance of continuing their education and thus to realize their right to education, to have better chances in life, and to take a first step out of the circle of poverty and lack of education.
By developing, implementing and evaluating appropriate measures, we will in addition propose a best practice for this persistent problem, which may in the future also be applied in other regions.