Education for Income Generation in Nepal
Nepal is faced with a slow rate of economic growth, coupled with high unemployment and under-employment. A lack of equity in education and training divides those with and without access to income-generating opportunities. Many out-of-school youth, illiterate women, and those displaced by the country’s internal conflict can’t find jobs and are faced with a sense of hopelessness — making them more likely to join protests and engage in unrest. Addressing these issues, the Education for Income Generation (EIG) in Nepal project provided income generation training, supported by basic literacy training to the most under-served groups.
EIG also provided disadvantaged youth with relevant education, training and employment opportunities. The project worked only with internally displaced persons, low-caste groups, ethnic minorities and females between the ages of 16 and 35. This multifaceted program combined entrepreneurial literacy and life-skills education; mobile technical and vocational training linked to local employment; value-chain based training to increase agricultural productivity and raise rural incomes; and targeted scholarships for disadvantaged youth. The project worked in all 15 districts of the Mid-Western Development Region of Nepal.
An EIG impact study showed that 74,917 marginalized youth saw their incomes increased through the help of entrepreneurial literacy training, vocational education, agriculture production linked to markets, and scholarships for intermediate level professional degrees. For example, by providing training on raising off-season vegetables, and developing the input supply chain along with local market collection centers for farmers to sell their products, EIG, on average, increased annual incomes by $412 (those involved in agricultural productivity, specifically, earned a 254-percent increase in income). These increased incomes and improved food security have had a profound effect: families reported sending their children to school and re-investing in land to grow more food.
Also, graduates of vocational training opened their own shops, hiring and training neighbors to work in their newly formed enterprise. Skilled graduates in masonry, woodworking, tailoring, cellphone repair and motorcycle repair provided much-needed services for remote communities, and entrepreneurial literacy courses brought basic health and nutrition knowledge.