Women Skill Development Project in Tharu Community, Chitwan
The project, the Nepal China Women Friendship Society (NCWFS) organized three months basic sewing skill development training to 146 women in 6 Tharu village of Chitwan district with financial support from Embassy of Peoples Republic of China Kathmandu in 2017-2018 with the objectives of to promote skills, income generating activities and livelihood, education and job opportunity in the area. The NCWFS expected from Tharu community that they can play their role even in small size to build Chitwan as best economic destinations of Nepal. The NCWFS collaborate with ……Municipality and Municipality, schools, clubs, local party and persons to raise fund and mobilizing local resources. The women Mainaha, Kapia, Kathar, Paderia, Beldia/Dhamaura and Siswar villages were benefited from those trainings. In those six villages nine classes had been conducted by nine teachers. During the program various meetings, workshops were organized among the participants, local authorities, party leaders, journalists and various organizations. Through the project the NCWFS participated reached to more than thousand various level of people through participating events organized by indigenous people, clubs, religious organizations, schools, committees for promotion of Nepal China relation in grassroots level. It also creates opportunity business activities between Nepal and China in future.
Introduction of Tharu community:
Tharu people are an ethnic group, part of the indigenous community of Nepal and are mostly located in the southern part of the country. Based on the 2011 census, the Tharu population of Nepal was at 1,737,470 people and living in multiple villages and districts (Chitwan, Kailali, Kanchanpur, Surkhet, Dang, Deukhuri, Banke, Bardiya, Rupendehi, Nawalparasi, Kapilvastu, Sindhuli, Saptari, Bara, Parsa, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Udaypur, Saptari, Morang, etc.).This ethnic group is also referred to as “the people of the forest”' because they’ve been living in forests for centuries, cultivating fruit and vegetables, fishing and hunting. Among many other specialties, Tharu people are famous for the colorfully painted outer walls of their homes.They use building materials like clay, mud, dung and grass and also decorate their rice containers in very special ways. Tharu culture is rich in traditions and has many special festive seasons. In Chitwan there are 63,343 Tharu people are (Male 29789 and Female 33554) out of the 579,984.
Due to urbanization, globalization, deforestation and lack of income based modern agriculture, Tharu people are being isolated and challenged with new problems. Their traditional occupations are vanishing and the youths are migrating to bigger cities and abroad. As part of their traditions, Tharu women used to wear silver jewelry, but nowadays, due to the high pricing of silver, they are using aluminum ornaments plated with different colors. Because of the poor quality of the material used, these aluminum jewels are causing side effects like cancer and skin diseases. Recent news confirms that many Tharu people are suffering from a disease called “sickle cell”, creating greater risks of extinction of this community.
A long and immediate plan and policies should be implemented in order to restore their valued and well-preserved culture and improve their economic condition. Alternative management for their economic development should be prepared and all the political and social issues related to the Tharu community should be admired by the concerned people.
Concerning these issues, the NCWFS worked with Tharu communities in Chitwan district. In past days the society organized a health camp in Kathar village and distributed computers, sewing machines and furniture in Jwani village, aiming to build skills for Tharu women and help them gain access to income generation and technical knowledge.
Objectives of the project:
• The objectives of the project are to build skills of Tharu women in villages of Tharu communities in Chitwan district,
• Leadership building for community planning, gaining skills to build strategies for future programs,
• Build access to income generating activities and deepens and widen Nepal China Women’s Friendship at grassroots level.
Activities during the project:
• Organized group meeting and formation of village level women groups
The NCWFS organized groups meetings with women and local representatives for dissemination information about the grants and planning for the project implementation, project partnership
• Arrangement of local women coordinator, teachers for managing location and space, registration of participants, managing machine, equipments and furniture
• Conducted meetings for collaboration and division of responsibilities for the implementation of project among persons, schools, local authorities and local resource mobilization for space, teacher's salary and second hand clothes for practice.
• Organized 9 trainings in 6 location to 146 women.
• Participated events organized by local organization and localized NCWFS in village level
Outcomes of the project:
• Women were organized in the groups. It gave them platform to come together and discuss for their further development. For the NCWFS has also developed access to women in grassroots level. It helps for easy access for the future programs. These women groups can be developed as women entrepreneurs groups in future.
• 146 women received sewing training with the aim to be able to prepare their own dress and prevent expenses, to have job opportunity in shops, to generate income for their family, to start up small business and entrepreneurship. This skill may help women to break the traditional survival agriculture based economy and come to cash economy.
• Built networks with vocational teachers, provided opportunities to them to refresh their skill and generate income, shared ideas and plans for future activities.
• Developed a team work spirit while implementing the project. Such as the local authorities, schools, club, local political party, persons put contributions in cash or kind on this project.
• Localized NCWFS in village level, deepened relationship of Nepal and China at people level. Through this project the NCWFS has been recognized by the organizations and people. It reached more than thousand people through participating various programs.
• Raise awareness about the work doing by China through NCWFS through social media outreach
• Under this project nine classes were conducted in six locations at Beldia, Kapia, Kathar, Mainaha, Paderia and Siswar . Through the project 146 women participants from six locations benefited gaining sewing skills. The project gave opportunity to 146 women as participants and nine as teacher (male 1 female 8). They learned about their situation, problems and learned techniques to resolve the those problems
• Local authorities were also benefitted from this project. They had opportunity getting skill training to their own communities collaborating with the NCWFS
• Politicians were benefited to fulfill demand of their own voters
• The NCWFS was benefited as it had chance to reach people and recognition from various level. It helped to strengthen the friendship between Nepal and China
Monitor and evaluation (M&E):
To understand the impact of the project a field trip was conducted by the members of the executive board. They met participants, teachers, coordinators, representatives of local authorities and took interview from them, collected evaluation form from the participants. One hundred one participants responded to evaluation questionnaire in writing.
An evaluation meeting was conducted among the members of executive board and team members of field visit. On the base of monitor visit and evaluation form presented views on success, challenges and recommendations for the future progress.
• To form skill and women economic development focused groups in villages is not easy due to many NGOs are limiting their activities on advocacy, awareness raising, violence against women and they put a lot of demands to the government. The participants do not have experience of economic empowerment program
• Difficult to prevent registering participants more than capacity and difficult to let them wait for another session and due to local political pressure. 146 women joined the class however the NCWFS had capacity for 40 participants for one session. The plan was for 4 classes, but had to manage for 9 classes.
• Slow government budget allocating process.
• Participants have habit of compare to other organizations and over demand for everything.
• Need to continue the skill and economic development programs in marginalized communities
• Need to provide special course (at least for 6 months) among the best participants from basic three months course.
• Training center should be in the location with wide space, easily access to toilet and drinking water facilities
• Need to organize sewing machine maintenance training to sewing teachers and selected participants of sewing skill development training
• Conduct survey and network on business persons/institution, schools, colleges, cooperatives. Collaborate with them and initiate women entrepreneurship/business
• Continue lobby and advocacy activities should be arranged to promote women's small and large scale business.
• Conduct income based trainings such as cook, waiter, beautician, computer should be organize in future to uplift the marginalized people and let them contribute to economic development of nation.
Social media, radio, workshops, mass meetings played a big role to disseminate the program.