By Tanya Lutvey, PROCASUR; firstname.lastname@example.org
Throughout the entire learning experience in Nepal in late 2014, the 20+ participants (or “routeros”) had the opportunity to engage with various host cases who are successfully promoting women’s empowerment. We met women who were vocal leaders in their communities, who were equally participating in the implementation of their household activities and actively working against negative gender stereotypes, inequalities and exclusion faced at household and village levels.
Parvati is only one of the many disadvantaged women we met, who had had had their life transformed by a women-led community based organization. Another example, being when participants visited Small Farmer Agriculture Cooperative Limited (SFACL), Khaireni Parsha, in Chitwan District allowing them another opportunity to witness how a women-led small farmer cooperative could also positively affect household dynamics. A little about SFACL Khaireni Parsha: the Agro Cooperative has a membership base of 1953 women. The female-only SFACL was established in 2004 and, operating out of its own building in Chitwan District, is currently engaging with micro-finance, banking, enterprises, youth employment, and income generating activities such as fish, piggeries, banana plantations, cow’s, organic farming, community forestry, bio-gas and community irrigation. In 2008 they even received a national award from the Small Farmers Development Bank as an example of excellent cooperative at national level.
During our visit, the members of the Khaireni Parsha cooperative highlighted key success factors, as well as the impacts and changes they have observed in the livelihood of its members thanks to the wide range of activities and opportunities made available by the cooperative within their community. One of the major changes is empowerment of women in the area, which has catalyzed various other positive changes. The opportunity to participate and benefit from profitable economic activities and training initiatives has increased women’s self-esteem, their capacity to speak in public, and their ability to share their knowledge and sensitize their family members, which has further enhanced their decision-making role at the household level and within the community.
PROCASUR/IFAD: Learning Route on Women’s Empowerment, New Businesses and Sustainable Natural Resource Management. Nepal, 6-13 December 2014. For more insights and learning route contents please visit: http://asia.procasur.org/women-empowerment-new-business-and-sustainable-nrm-in-nepal-2014/.