Women LEAD is the first and only professional and leadership development organization for young women, led by young women, in Kathmandu. Since 2011, we’ve empowered over 750 female high school students to become leaders in their schools and communities. Young women’s opinions and voices are rarely valued in traditionally male-dominated Nepal. Our programs provide young women with intensive yearlong leadership training, skills building, mentoring, university preparation & a peer-support network.
Young women represent a strong force for change in Nepal. In 2006, 30% of Nepal’s population was youth under the age of 24. Young women in particular face specific challenges:
- Their voices are not being heard
- They rarely have power over their own lives
- They do not receive the same educational and professional opportunities as men do
Across the world, and in Nepal, adolescent girls are an underserved population. Less than 2¢ of every development dollar goes to girls and 9 of 10 youth programs are aimed at boys (TIME). There is a lack of leadership development organizations for young women despite women’s leadership remaining low across all sectors in Nepal.
Decisions are often made about critical issues affecting girls’ lives, such as early marriage and education, without the input of girls themselves. An increase in allocated leadership positions, such as a 33% quota for women in state structures, has given new opportunities to women but schools and civil society are failing to equip them with the tools to access and leverage these positions.
We empower female high school students through:
1) Our LEAD Program, an intensive yearlong youth leadership and activism after-school course:
--- A two-week Leadership Institute in July where 30 students gain critical knowledge & professional skills. They learn from Nepali leaders from different career fields & participate in skills-building workshops & service learning trips
---Mentorship with an alumna
---A choice between two yearlong Activism Tracks. LEADers receive a month long orientation & then are placed in either:
- School Leadership Training: LEADers are trained to co-lead weekly two hour leadership workshops for 300 students aged 14-15 in their schools or schools in their community
- Professional development (Internships): LEADers intern at a Nepali NGO for 100 hours throughout the year to build their professional skills & gain experience in their chosen field
2) Women LEAD community of alumni, peers & mentors. After graduation, LEADers receive one-on-one university preparation & counseling