Nepal | ActionAid UK


  • 100
    Eight million people were affected by the two earthquakes in 2015.
  • 57
    Only 57% of adults can read and write.1
  • 41
    41% of girls are married before their 18th birthday.2
  • 1. 'The State of the World's Children', UNICEF (2015)
  • 2. Nepal, Reliefweb (2014)

Women's rights in Nepal

Despite progress in recent years, women still face significant inequality in Nepal.

Just 45% of adult women are literate, compared with 72% of men,1 and girls commonly drop out of school due to the burden of household chores.

36% of women and girls have never attended school - twice as many as men and boys.2

Largely rural, Nepal has a tradition of migration for work, but it also has a serious trafficking problem. As many as 15,000 young women are taken every year to work in brothels in India.3

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Children's clubs in Nepal are supporting girls to stay in school

Children's clubs in Nepal are supporting girls to stay in school.

Photo: Sabin Shrestha/ActionAid

What we do in Nepal

Ending period poverty and period shaming

In parts of Western Nepal, women and girls are often sent away from their homes during their periods because it is believed that they will bring bad luck.

They are forced to live in remote huts, away from their family and friends. This practice is called “chhaupadi” and although it has been illegal in Nepal since 2005, it is still practised in many communities. 

ActionAid collaborates with local women’s groups in Western Nepal to raise awareness about the negative effects of chhaupadi and its illegal status. By working with community and religious leaders, as well as local police, we’re helping to bring an end to chhaupadi.

We also work to teach young girls about menstrual hygiene, and run trainings so women and girls learn how to make safe, reusable sanitary pads. 

When girls have access to sanitary products, and can use them safely, they are more likely to stay in school and get the education they deserve.

Supporting women's economic empowerment and ending violence

Research shows at least one in five women in Nepal have experienced gender-based violence,1 but more than two-thirds of those have not sought help, pointing to a lack of awareness about women's rights and/or a lack of sufficient help available.2 

That's why ActionAid supports Reflect Circles across Nepal - local women's groups providing training, safe places to discuss women's issues and learn about their rights.

Reflect Circles also help women develop skills so they can become economically independent, particularly in climate-resilient agricultural methods.

They are also an opportunity to share resources, through community seed banks, which allows entire communities to benefit.

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Disasters in Nepal

Coronavirus crisis

In Nepal, community volunteers in collaboration with ActionAid have set up a ‘Call the Doctor’ campaign to reach as many young people as possible to talk about coronavirus, dispel its myths and encourage people to connect directly with the doctors for authentic information.

We have distributed relief items, including food, to vulnerable daily wage labourers from 1,902 households within the Kathmandu Valley. We're also working with local partners to distribute PPE, including 56,186 masks

To raise awareness about the virus and its prevention, we have produced and circulated 12,000 Covid-19 information pamphlets, run broadcasts on local TV and coordinated a schools awareness programme.

But with monsoon season now approaching, the risk to Nepalese people is escalating. In communities surveyed, over half of the available flood evacuation sites do not have handwashing facilities, while 80% lack quarantine facilities

Read more about our Coronavirus Appeal, and how you can help

Nepal earthquakes in 2015

In April and May 2015 two devastating earthquakes struck Nepal, killing 9,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands of survivors homeless.

ActionAid reached at least 150,000 people in the aftermath, with a range of support: from tools to rebuild homes, to business skills training to help people rebuild their livelihoods.

When disasters strike, women and girls are often the hardest-hit, so we put the rights of women and girls at the heart of our approach. 

  • We established 16 permanent women-friendly spaces to support women and girls and help them rebuild their lives.
  • We distributed over 7,000 dignity kits, containing essentials like sanitary pads and underwear, so women could manage their periods safely, and with dignity.  
  • We established Children's Clubs - safe places for children to play, recover from their trauma, and continue to learn.

Learn more about the Nepal earthquakes


Top image: Malati Maskey, a women’s rights coordinator for ActionAid Nepal, with local women from Panga, in Kathmandu district. Srikanth Kolari/ActionAid