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Nepal: women education unionists develop leadership skills in the union, schools, and society

The Women’s Department of the Nepal National Teachers' Association has organised a training of trainers for leadership development in the union, schools and society for women members, with the objective of providing them with a gender specific agenda.

Forty-five Nepal National Teachers' Association (NNTA) women leaders’ from 31 districts of Western Nepal gathered from 4-5 April in Bansgadhi, Bardiya District to participate in the training of trainers for leadership development in the union, schools and society. This event was organised as part of a NNTA programme encompassing three such workshops that will to be organised throughout 2019 and covering all of Nepal’s 77 districts.

During the April sessions, participants discussed current issues in education and their profession. The programme aimed to empower women leaders, equipping them with a gender specific agenda in the union, schools and in classrooms.

The training of teachers’ participants also followed sessions on: the history of NNTA and its achievements; the implementation of the International Labour Organisation/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, women’s policies and programmes; the NNTA Constitution; skills on social media use in the union; and the menstruation period and sanitary pads.

On the latest topic, NNTA has been campaigning for a few years against girls’ absenteeism during the menstruation period. The education union is helping developing women’s skills to make reusable sanitary pads out of local materials, as it is cheaper, safe and easy for school girls. Women teachers having acquired these skills in union seminars later share this knowledge and technology within their own schools.     

NNTA President Laxman Sharma explained that “women’s empowerment in education bears a higher value than in other sectors, and that “the union, following the teaching profession, is going towards ‘womanisation’”. He went on to welcome improved girls’ achievements in classrooms, stressing that “their learning changes the society”.

“Forty two per cent of school teachers in Nepal are woman,” and “we are committed to cover the whole country with this programme,” stressed the NNTA Vice-President in charge of women’s policy, Ila Malla Shahi.