We will recruit, train and empower 50 women (living on less than US$1.50 a day) in Chitwan and Kailali districts in Nepal to lead their communities out of poverty. We will equip them with business skills and on-the-job training to run their own clean energy business allowing them to gain financial independence as well as confidence and respect at home and in the community. The products they will sell, such as solar lights, will save families time, money and lead to better health outcomes.
Women and girls in the poorest parts of Nepal faced deep-rooted patriarchal social norms leading to gender inequality, which exacerbates the impact of poverty. Many women are marginalised eg. indigenous, refugees, displaced or members of the Dalit (untouchable) caste, have limited education and are sometimes married as young as fifteen. Expectation on these women is to be household managers, raise children and do domestic duties at the expense of their own financial independence and wellbeing.
Our program was designed by a woman entrepreneur from rural Nepal, Sita Adhikari, who witnessed the barriers women in her community faced. Now CEO of Kalpavrisksha Sita says "Entrepreneurship is the only way to move women's rights forward. It gives women an income and an individual identity, giving them decision-making power and agency in their own lives, which leads to community respect."
We have already reached more than 500 women in Nepal and will develop 50 more women to reach more families with life-improving products. These women will earn respect and a meaningful income like Chhaya Devkota who lives in Kailali. Chhaya joined as an entrepreneur after seeing how much women suffered from energy poverty and how life changing a solar product could be. Chhaya not only distributed clean energy herself but empowered other women to do the same. She is now CEO of her own business.