During a visit to Nepal this month, the UK Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Girls' Education, Helen Grant, met activists, advocates, and campaigners working on advancing women's and girls' rights in education with support from UK aid.
There are still too many young girls in Nepal who drop out of school to get married young. A married girl's likelihood of dropping out of school is eleven times greater than her unmarried peers, with marriage being the second most common cause of school abandonment for adolescent girls.
Investing in girls' education
Whilst on the visit, Helen Grant said: "Our Leave No Girl Behind campaign isn’t just a meme, a hashtag, or a vague aspiration. It’s a cast iron commitment."
"In Nepal, we’ll continue to work with all spheres of government, with civil society, and with others in the international community, until that commitment is met."
"If we want to make the world a better place, investing in girls' education is a great place to start, as it not only improves their capacity and self-empowerment, but also levels up society."
Training teachers on inclusive education
Grant visited Banke in Nepal's Lumbini province and met with incredible teachers, Deepa and Rama, who were both trained on how to teach using inclusive education methods by HI and partners.
Using sign language, they teach students who are deaf at a local mainstream school, which has an additional class to support children with hearing impairment, known as a “resource class”. However, at the school, both hearing and non-hearing children mix together with their peers. Grant also had the opportunity to learn how to sign ‘cow’ and ‘goat’... a fun experience!
Girls with hearing impairments teach Helen Grant MP how to sign the word "goat" in Nepali Sign Language. © Raj Bhakta Dangol/HI
During her visit to local authorities, Grant listened to how the ENGAGE project helped marginalised girls and boys continue their education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I found the presentation very interesting," said Grant, "especially the approach to addressing specific issues in relation to disability. In promoting mainstream education through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), we have a twin track approach, with the first track providing targeted support and the second track improving mainstream education. I'm glad to see similar approaches in this project.”
This project was funded with UK aid from the British people.