Nepal: Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women

Sovereign Project | 34306-013


The goal of the Project is to reduce poverty in rural Nepal by empowering poor rural women and members of other disadvantaged groups, such as ethnic and low-caste women. The objective is to improve the socioeconomic conditions of poor rural women through a process of economic, social, legal, and political empowerment by (i) strengthening their individual capabilities to improve their access to and control over assets; (ii) building group support for individual and collective action to influence and hold institutions accountable; and (iii) reforming Government institutions and processes to become gender-responsive and include previously marginalized women into development opportunities. The project components comprise (i) economic empowerment, (ii) legal empowerment, (iii) social empowerment, and (iv) institutional strengthening and project management. The components are mutually supporting to promote a virtuous circle of socioeconomic improvement among poor rural women.

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Project Name Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women
Project Number 34306-013
Country Nepal
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan 2143-NEP: Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women
Asian Development Fund US$ 10.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Agriculture, natural resources and rural development - Agricultural policy, institutional and capacity development

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Gender equity
Description The goal of the Project is to reduce poverty in rural Nepal by empowering poor rural women and members of other disadvantaged groups, such as ethnic and low-caste women. The objective is to improve the socioeconomic conditions of poor rural women through a process of economic, social, legal, and political empowerment by (i) strengthening their individual capabilities to improve their access to and control over assets; (ii) building group support for individual and collective action to influence and hold institutions accountable; and (iii) reforming Government institutions and processes to become gender-responsive and include previously marginalized women into development opportunities. The project components comprise (i) economic empowerment, (ii) legal empowerment, (iii) social empowerment, and (iv) institutional strengthening and project management. The components are mutually supporting to promote a virtuous circle of socioeconomic improvement among poor rural women.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The low status of women in Nepal can be traced to economic, legal, sociocultural and political/institutional factors, which are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. Women's poverty is exacerbated by caste- and ethnicity-based discrimination, as the caste system defines access to resources and opportunities leaving women more disadvantaged than men at each level in the caste system. Women have unequal access to food, education, and health care. Despite constitutional guarantees of equal treatment, poor rural women have limited opportunities to earn incomes, limited access to productive resources, and few effective legal rights. Women are discriminated against and are further disadvantaged by the lack of awareness of their legal rights and opportunities. The double burden of both productive and reproductive roles leaves women not only cash but also time poor. Despite legislative mandates to include women in political parties and in local bodies, women continue to be poorly represented in the government and civil service at all levels. Moreover, women's low self-esteem inhibits their participation, while their low social status leaves them vulnerable to abuse within their households and communities. Given that the causes of poverty and low status of rural women are multiple and interrelated, a holistic approach is needed to improve women's well-being. A cross-sectoral approach has the potential to fully address the multiple constraints and deprivations of poor rural women in Nepal.

The Government is cognizant of the social and economic inequity of the Nepalese system. The Project is in line with the 10th National Plan and the decentralization strategy of the Government, which seeks to address gender, ethnic, and caste-related disparities. ADB?s country strategy and program (CSP) for Nepal and poverty reduction partnership agreement with the Government recognize that the stark gender disparities and low participation of women in decision making are barriers to both poverty reduction and sustainable development. The CSP's gender strategy follows ADB?s policy on gender and development, and recommends that gender inequities should be addressed through strategic, broad-based, multifaceted solutions at the policy, institutional, and sector/program and project levels.

Impact Reduced poverty of rural women, including low-caste and ethnic groups, and their households in selected areas of rural Nepal.
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Poor rural women, including low caste and ethnic groups, empowered economically, socially, and politically.
Progress Toward Outcome

Impact by Economic Empowerment:

" Promoted crop diversification and cash crop practices- ginger, turmeric, chilly, broad bean, nursery bed raising, off/season vegetables, kitchen garden, fruit, apiculture, etc by trained farmers. Reduced the malnutrition problem of the children in the program areas .

" Agriculture has been adopted as income generation and towards commercialization by increasing the inclusion of dalit women in the project activities.

" Dalit women led to income generation and mobilize of money, and then they improve quality of food, good health, clothes, etc of the families, children and others. They have been capable to visit health post for the delivery

" Schooling of both daughter and son of the poor dalit women family .

" Due to the project, women employed in Supervisors, Chief Women Workers, Guard, Office Assistant, etc.

" Some of the dalit women have been changed general stove into gas stove and support money to marriage of daughters, buy land and buffalo.

" Dalit women have been able to demand the allocated budget for the dalit/women in the VDC. Improved peace and happy in the family and community too.

Impact by Legal Empowerment:

" Women exposure with various societies and able to express their views through legal awareness in the community, and encourage to marriage/ birth registration, citizenship , etc.

" Control of jhari partha , polygamy, child marriage, women violence, disputes, etc.

" Dalit women and others have been empowered in legal aspects, and we feeling among the Para-legal Committee members and preparedness to take roles and responsibilities.

" Leadership development to dialogue, delegate, demand and coordination with DICC.

" Exposed the women violence and registered in the legal forums/Offices. The cases to police office have been decreased which has been managed by Para-legal Committee.

" Decreased the blame of witch to single (widow) women in project districts of hill but similar progress have not been found in project districts of Tarai.

" Inter-caste marriage (love marriage) has been accepted in hill project districts but similar progress has not found in Tarai.

" Dalit women have been happy by making citizenship certificate, marriage registration.

" Marriage registration and birth registration (identity of child, child record and proof of relation) to claim wealth rights.

Impact by Social Empowerment:

" Dalit women have been realized of important of education/literacy. Regular schooling both daughter and son but Tarai is behind.

" Dalit women empowered to hold in executive committee, meeting, and put women agendas.

" Increased income by dalit women, ethnic minority, poor, and Improve saving habit.

" Now a days so called high caste community have been served milk, curd, ghee, etc to dalit.

" Improved women health by using improved smokeless stove, water mill and toilet.

" Adequate amount of loan trusted to the dalit women, ethnic minority and other poor by the cooperative for MEs. SCC has properly been regulated the interest rate, annual general meeting, renew and repayment from their labor wages, production, etc.

" Dalit women, ethnic minority and other poor have been modernized the living status of family by modern agriculture and commercialization by using of sprayers, pumping set for irrigation, etc.

" Increased identity of dalit women through continues meetings of WG, SCC, and User Committee.

" Building new houses, renovate houses, buying land, improve food, clothes, clean room in menstruation period (chhaupadi-partha is in decreasing trend), etc in hill districts. The WG members are able to earn fast, wear good cloths and better off- living .

" Increased access of village foot trail, easy to walk, clean foot trail without stool and mud, access market to sell ginger, turmeric, buffalo, before the foot trail, there was not possible to sell buffalo and compulsion to sell in cheap rate . Village foot trail and motor able road extended in inner part of the villages. Fast communication by motor able road, culvert, hum pipe, wooden bridge and it makes easily communication for children schooling, time save, post offices, VDC offices, main road, transport production inputs and products sell at market centre.

" Decreased women's workload, time saved and the time use for User Committee meeting, training, workshops and other productive works due to improved smokeless stove, rice mill, water mill, etc.

" Near to home, time save, clean water, wash clothes and utensils, easy to bathing by using the community drinking water tap in hill and community STW in Tarai. After the community drinking water tap and community STW the untouchable has been reduced in hill whereas in Tarai still it is exist.

" Dalit women safe from snake, time save, clean, stool/urine in time (without block stool/urine for long period because of women has problem to walk outside). Radiation effects of the toilet program have been found other families to build toilet in their home.

" Meeting, workshop, marriage, women group meeting, community meeting, etc has been smoothly conducted in bas-ghara (community building/dalan) .

" Now a day's husband has been dropped and picked up wife from meeting for house.

" Loan has been taken in women leadership, women have been sold their products in hat bazaar and economic mobilized by women. Daughter-in-laws have been exposure with community during group formation. Learnt ideas from exposure in training in district head quarter. Now a day's men have been also interested to learn from women groups.

" Signature instead to lapche (figure stamp), able to write own name, small mathematics, etc.

Impact by Institutional Strengthening:

" Leadership developed through the WG/ SCC and adequate loan access timely .

" Increased the local capacity to run the SCC for credit, O&M of the CIF .

" Established MIS system.

" Gender mainstreaming in district line agencies through DICC meetings.

" Technical support by conducting Joint Field Monitoring programs.

" Increase women knowledge to construct CIF.

" Trained leader women, dalit, ethnic minorities, others to decision making effectively.

" Capacity enhanced of the Department of Women and Children to smoothly function of the women empowerment and all-round development of the dalit, and ethnic minorities women.

" Empowered Women, dalit, ethnic, and poor households in terms of socio-economic aspects.

" Increased coordination with DICC and local line agencies, women/children police cell.

Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

1. Economic empowerment

Increased income, assets, and employment opportunities for beneficiaries

2. Legal Empowerment

Increased legal awareness and improved access to legal services amongst beneficiaries

3. Social Empowerment

Enhanced social welfare and capacity amongst beneficiaries

4. Institutional Strengthening and Project Management

Improved institutional capacity for promoting gender equality

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

A total 101376 households have been benefited from the project activities. Project has provided ME training to 12,187 women of the project districts. Of the total trainees 6300 have utilized their training knowledge into their business practice. Average percent of MEs households is 86 percent which is higher than impact study (68.9%). Of the total entrepreneurs 23% are dalit, 23 % janajati, 16% Madhisi and 31% others. Type and nature of MEs are seen varied from one district to another and one village to another. However, goat keeping and vegetable farming are seen very common type of MEs initiated by women.

Economic Empowerment

Seed Grant capital/Revolving Fund: The project provided a total of Rs. 78, 50,000 to 72 cooperatives as a revolving fund (March 2013). All SCCs received a seed grants in the sample VDCs. SCCs have received a total amount of seed grants Rs. 3,300,000.00 in the end of the March 2013. SCCs have invested the seed grants on the basis of the enterprise development plan and skills of the borrowers. The investment amount was anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 rupees. People were found using loans for genuinely new enterprises or expand the existing one. Income of households in general and women in particular has increased by two to three times after the project implementation. Income level of men and women headed households has increased by 87.5% and 41.4% respectively (Impact Study of GEEoW, 2012:13). The average income level of Dalits, Indigenous nationalities and Others HHs is NRs 46206, NRs 35366 and NRs 59868 respectively. In comparison to baseline figure on 2007/08, the increase in income is about 79.8%, 23.2% and 100.7% respectively for Dalits, Indigenous nationalities and others caste HHs.

Cooperatives: Eighty registered cooperatives and 2 ad-hoc committees have deposited a sum of Rs 4,20,76,381 and disbursed it loan to cooperative members a sum of Rs. 4,14,21,207. A total number of cooperative members have become 58007 during the project period. A total shareholder in the sample VDCs is 6736. Those could not hold share in cooperative are incorporated into regular saving scheme of the cooperative. Rate of share is 100 rupees in all observed SCCs.

The coverage of SCCs is higher in the hilly district than Tarai districts. The number of shareholders has increased after the completion of the WMB buildings. Monthly rate of deposit is varied from one person to another and one village to other. In general, they deposit in the range of 20 to 50 rupees per month. Institutional arrangement has been set up in all sample villages for monthly saving and investment.

Legal Empowerment

- Trend of taking citizenship, marriage certificate and birth certificate have increased after the GEEoW intervention. Major achievement of legal components:

(1) Legal awareness campaigns have been completed in all of the 82 VDCs with approximately 15, 000 men and women participating.

(2) curricula on gender and inclusive justice have been developed and 25 students have enrolled in the course of Tribhuvan University.

(3) 27 judges, 28 prosecutors, and 30 female police personnel (100% of the target) have been trained in women's legal rights issues

(4) 3677 women have registered their citizenship and 1735 women have registered their marriage as a result of the legal awareness raising training.

- In all sampled districts, there is a paralegal committee (which is known by Dispute Resolution Committee in local level) in Ward and VDC levels.

- A total 334 cases were registered to paralegal committee from 12 sample VDCs during the project period (from 2011 to February 2013). Of the total registered cases 312 were settled locally and 21 were referred to district police/attorney office.

- Nearly 76 percent female above 16 years have citizenship certificates. Number of citizenship holders has increased by more than 8 percent than baseline survey. Percent of marriage certificate holders has increased by nearly double (60 percent in Impact study and 34.6 percent in the baseline). Similarly, 71 percent of the people below 16 years have birth certificates (Impact Study 2012).

- There is a dispute resolution committee at district level. District level legal committee pleads on behalf of the victims. The process of library establishment in the project district is in initial stage.

Social Empowerment

- The project has conducted different activities to promote social empowerment of women. Field observation and various project reports have shown that most of the activities have completed.

- In the sample VDCs, total 10564 disadvantaged women have enriched their capacity through trainings and exposure.

Institutional Strengthening

- A total 57 training sessions with different type and scope were conducted in different fiscal years for the enhancement of the capacity of DPT, CPMT and beneficiaries. A total 1438 staff received different type of training on proposal writing, procurement management, financial management, cooperative account etc.

- WDO's role has been enhanced in planning processes as they are the member secretary of various inter-agency committees. Different stakeholders consulted WCO for gender mainstreaming their program.

- Inter-agency coordination has been emphasized and is improving through joint monitoring visits to projects areas by DICC and CICC members.

Geographical Location The Project area covers 2 clusters comprising 15 core districts-8 in the Midwestern and Far Western regions and 7 in the Central Region-which represent the most disadvantaged areas of Nepal, and where gender discrimination is pervasive and deep.
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects The Government shall ensure that the design, extension, upgrading, renovation and operations of facilities under the project will follow the Government's environmental requirements, ADB's environmental guidelines for Selected Infrastructure Development Projects, and other relevant ADB guidelines on environment. Both in Community infrastructure and civil works for women's multi-purpose center guidelines, an environmental safeguard checklist has been included. The checklist was approved by the CICC.
Involuntary Resettlement Small-scale community infrastructure interventions include the construction and rehabilitation of trails and bridges, small-scale water supply and sanitation facilities, and community-based multi-purpose women's centers. The Government has agreed to an assurance that all facilities constructed, extended, or upgraded under the Project will be located on land owned by the Government and no displacement or resettlement will be involved. If involuntary resettlement is unavoidable, the Government will immediately inform ADB and prepare resettlement plans in accordance with the resettlement framework agreed upon at loan fact finding.
Indigenous Peoples

The project area comprises of about 19 groups in the Western cluster, and 51 groups in the Central cluster. The dalits are the most disadvantaged, with dalit women being worse off. Awareness and sensitization campaigns and appropriate mechanisms to minimize discrimination and ensure equitable distribution of benefits have been designed into the Project.

GEEoW's aim is to empower poor rural women, especially the disadvantaged women such as Janajati (ethnic) and Dalit (low caste) women. However, previous field study and independent consultant's study found that the disadvantaged are not adequately benefiting from the Project. The beneficiary selection and setting the terms and conditions of the loans are delegated to the women's savings and credit cooperatives (SCCs) committee members established in each VDC. Some poor women cannot afford to join the SCCs as they do not possess the financial ability to purchase the shares, cannot provide regular savings, and lack education. Hence there is a beneficiary selection bias. It is pointed out that lack of effective targeting stems from lack of adequate facilitation and monitoring. The EA has to strengthen its monitoring and facilitation through staffing of CPMT and DPTs, recruitment of SPs, placement of chief women workers in respective VDCs, and re-training SCC members.

Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services Consultants will be selected and engaged in accordance with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants and other arrangements satisfactory to ADB for engaging domestic consultants and SPs. Consulting services will support project management and technical aspects of institutional strengthening. The quality- and cost-based selection procedure will be used to procure 172 person-months of consulting services (22 international and 150 domestic). The services of different SPs will be required. To the extent possible, SPs, prequalified according to criteria agreed upon by the Government and ADB, will be contracted on the basis of competitive bidding procedures. In instances where the number of qualified SPs is limited, direct selection may be applied with the prior approval of ADB.
Procurement Goods and services financed by the ADB loan will be procured in accordance with ADB's Guidelines for Procurement. Civil works contracts will be small and therefore procured on the basis of local competitive bidding in accordance with the Government's procurement procedures acceptable to ADB. Civil works contracts awarded to community groups will be procured in accordance with ADB's Community Participation in Procurement Guidelines. Single procurement packages by community groups will be limited to $10,000. Supply contracts for equipment or materials estimated to cost over $500,000 or more are not expected, but if such a contract is required it will be awarded on the basis of international competitive bidding. Contracts costing less than the equivalent of $500,000 will be awarded on the basis of international shopping. Direct purchase procedures will apply to minor items valued at less than $50,000.
Responsible ADB Officer Suman Subba
Responsible ADB Department South Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Nepal Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Deptof Women Devt,Min.of Women,Children&SocialWelf
Mr. Divakar Devkota
Pulchowk, Lalitpur, Kathmandu
Concept Clearance 08 Mar 2001
Fact Finding 27 Jul 2003 to 19 Aug 2003
MRM 10 Oct 2003
Approval 16 Dec 2004
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 05 Feb 2007
Last PDS Update 30 Sep 2013

Loan 2143-NEP

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
16 Dec 2004 09 Jun 2006 28 Nov 2006 30 Jun 2010 30 Jun 2013 11 Dec 2013
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 15.50 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 10.00 16 Dec 2004 7.20 0.00 98%
Counterpart 5.50 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 16 Dec 2004 7.37 0.00 100%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory - Satisfactory
Title Document Type Document Date
Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Project: Project Completion Report Project/Program Completion Reports Sep 2015
Amendment to the Loan Agreement for 2143-NEP: Conversion of Payment Obligations under ADF Loans into SDR Loan Agreement (Special Operations) Jun 2008
Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Project Project/Program Administration Manual Nov 2006
Loan Agreement for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Project Loan Agreement (Special Operations) Jun 2006
Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Project Reports and Recommendations of the President Nov 2004

Safeguard Documents

See also: Safeguards

No documents found.

Evaluation Documents

See also: Independent Evaluation

No documents found.

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  • 30 Nov 2011 | Project Result / Case Study

    Empowering Women in Nepal through Livelihood Programs

    Dhobi, Nepal ─ In the eastern Nepal mountain village of Dhobi, Gopani Karki has spent much of her life struggling to make ends meet for herself and her four children. The remote village lies far from any commercial center and offers few livelihood choices. Karki's fortunes have turned around in recent years. After a women's cooperative organization was formed in the village, she was able to borrow money to purchase some goats to raise for sale to the local market.