Literacy for Women and Children in Nepal
Literacy and Survival are inextricably linked to improved health and survival rates for women, children, and families. Every Girl who attends school significantly delays child marriage, improves her own health through literacy and healthy behavior, and improves her chances of raising herself above the poverty level. Each child’s education is an investment in the future of herself, her family, and her country.
However, not all nations see the value in investing in education and the infrastructure that propels education’s impact exponentially. Initiatives such as the United Nations Literacy Decade, spearheaded by UNESCO, started in 2003 and ended in 2012.
What progress has been made and what is the status of child literacy in South Asia? (ref: UN Literacy Decade and the Asia Pacific, progress to date)
Our continued and shared goals:
- Support leadership at all levels of society;
- Support the voice of children’s views and ideas which can allow them to hold decision-makers accountable;
- Mobilize additional resources, particularly government expenditure for the well-being of children;
- Promote partnerships with the private and corporate sector to increase in Investments
- Build on partnerships with Among civil society, NGOs and multi-lateral and bilateral agencies.
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Though there are many causes to illiteracy, the two major underlying causes in South Asia continue to be extreme poverty and gender bias. According to UNESCO:
- Girls only receive 8 years of school while boys receive 10 years.
- 1 in 3 children never are able to attend school
- In rural areas, infrastructural barriers such as safe roads, reliable electricity, and health issues continue to access to education for children and families.
- In Nepali government funded schools, there are 10 teachers for every 1000 students.
Identifying and bringing together resources and partners to bridge the gap in need and service delivery through collaboration and reduction of duplication. Through a variety of resources currently being developed such as communications and collaborations tools, we hope that a consortium is developed of like-minded NGOs that are interested in working together for advocacy, coordination, and funding purposes.
Go-MCH is working to build a team of specialists and experts in the field of literacy, education, and health care delivery. Through the use of Scientific Advisory board members and NGO partners, we are aiming to bring capacity and energy to rural areas that have the most need, improving education accessibility to children, women, and families through the use of technology and innovative solutions.
Building Sustainable Solutions:
Go-MCH Partner: “Creating SMILES – building the Nation” (SMILES), is a rural based community development NGO whose main objective is to introduce and implement the combination of technology and socio-economical interventions that may lead to an increased living standard for people in the rural villages of Nepal and provide new resources to catalyze learning and literacy standards.
In September, 2009, solar panels were installed in two pilot different schools in the in Sindhuli district, Nepal. (chart below). In addition, computer labs were built with free support from the community: fathers, uncles, and teenage boys came together to provide the labor needed to build the school computer laboratories.
Once the room was finished, computers were provided. The technology resources provided profound results. Schools had electricity and adult literacy classes were run during the evenings. With these results, Smiles’ possibilities of development in this rural part of the country grew exponentially, and because of the project, people became optimistic toward new opportunities and potential for social, economic, and educational development.
- Binayak Lower Secondary School in the village Kalimati, Jhagajholi Ratamata VDC-5, Sindhuli District
- Chilaunekharka Primary School in Chilaunekharka, Jhagajholi Ratamata VDC-6, Sindhuli
- Shree Krishna Lower Secondary School Virpani-2, Ramechap
- Shree Himalaya Secondary School Sipali-5, Kavrepalanchowk
The SMILES team received positive community feedback and moved forward to the next phase, launched June, 2010. In this phase SMILES focused on providing access to computers, computer education, health and sanitation and solar electrification.
The literacy curriculum provided in the schools is one that is certified by Nepal’s Ministry of Education. The curriculum is added to every computer to enable access to all the students and adults in the community who use the computer lab after school hours. The teachers have a mini-laptop with projector (included in the cost list) to show the students how to use the curriculum, and lead them through the education plan.