Happy holidays! We’re celebrating the end of the year and FIVE years of empowering women with the “12 Days of Women LEAD.”
This post was written by Bidhyalaxmi Maharjan, Women LEAD’s Communications Intern.
On the first day of Women LEAD, my true love gave to me…
1 Brand-New Training Room
Our brand new training room offers more space for Women LEAD to move forward stronger. Damaged by the 2015 Nepal Earthquakes, we rebuilt the previous structure from the ground up and doubled its size. With our new, well-furnished training room, we were able to run our two-week Leadership Institute on-site for the first time. The larger training room has enabled our LEADers to scale up their projects, from running the earthquake initiatives to anti-street harassment workshops. The training room will serve 5000+ youth in the next 5 years to develop the skills needed to enact change in their community.
In each School Leadership Program School 2 co-leaders teach girls and boys about developing leadership skills over 15 weekly sessions. They mentor 30 SLP students of ninth grade and teach them about how they can become leaders in their school and community. The SLP students also learn about different ways to solve social problems they are passionate about, to become a responsible citizen and how they can contribute to promote female leadership.
3 Fully-Funded Alumni-Run Projects
Women LEAD has funded 3 alumni-led projects. The first came in 2015 after 2012 Sujata Baskota initiated Earthquake Relief Project to raise funds to sponsor school uniforms, textbooks, stationery, and exam fees for students affected by Nepal’s devastating earthquakes that year. In a few weeks, she raised $240 and, in order to double her impact, Women LEAD matched every dollar she raised. Unfortunately, we Sujata this year due to health complications. But shortly after, Women LEAD created the Sujata Baskota Changemaker Grant to support alumni-led social change projects and keep her memory alive. Under the grant, two groups of alumni are leading two projects to address access to education and reproductive health among students respectively: Access Education Project and Empowering Young Minds.
4 Women-Led Startups
To date, Women LEAD has provided fiscal sponsorship to 4 up-and-coming, women-led nonprofits: Putali Nepal, Her Turn, VOW Media, Hollaback! KTM. As an organization’s fiscal sponsor, Women LEAd coaches these organizations and provides them with advice on how best to scale their impact in the first years of their nonprofit’s growth.
5 Years of Women LEAD
Women LEAD started off as a two-week Leadership Institute in 2010. The following year, Women LEAD turned a two-week program into a year-long program, providing our program participants, or LEADers, with the tools and skills they need to become leaders and changemakers in their community. In our first 5 years, we’ve empowered over 1200+ youth—and we have no plans to stop there.
In 2016, Women LEAD launched the “Trailblazers” program as a way to provide additional leadership support to 6 of our strongest program alumni. In the future, we hope to continue the program or create similar opportunities for more of our alumni.
7 Prestigious Awards
In our first 5 years as an organization, we have been humbled to receive 7 prestigious awards for our commitment and service to young women in Nepal. They include:
- Just one of 20 organizations around the world to receive a 2016 With and For Girls Award.
- We were selected into Points of Light’s 2015 CivicX Accelerator.
- One of the United Nations’ Girls’ Education Initiative’s Innovative Solutions of 2014
- Our co-founder Claire Naylor received the 2014 Youth Courage Award from the United Nations’ Girls’ Education Initiative
- One of Women Deliver’s Top 50 Solutions Delivering for Women and Girls in 2012
- Echoing Green Semi-Finalists in 2011 and 2013
- One of Dell Social Innovation Challenge’s 10 Most Promising Projects in 2014
8 Institutional Donors
Women LEAD’s work is supported by 8 institutional donors: Skees Family Foundation, Girls Rights Project, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Foundation for a Just Society, Girls Learn International, Stars Foundation, the Matt Haley Trust and Yahoo Employee Foundation. Girls Learn International, for example, specifically funds our School Leadership Program at AVM each year.
9 Alumni Interns
Through internships, Women LEAD provides our alumni with the opportunity to continue their professional development. As interns, they are given significant responsibility from running the entire recruitment process of the incoming LEAD Course to writing content for our website and blog. In 2016, 9 alumni came back to intern at Women LEAD this year: Bidhyalaxmi, Dipeeka, Tara, Sadikshya, Saniya, Menuka, Aishwarya, Rija. “After my internship I feel like there’s no limit to what I can do. It has taught me so many thing. Besides, I have become more responsible person than I was before,” said Rija.
In 10 years we’ll have reached our first decade. In the next 5 years we will have expanded our programs up to university students and across Nepal outside of Kathmandu, like our 2016 program in Chitwan, which was the first program conducted by Women LEAD outside of Kathmandu.
11 Programs Run in 2016
In 2016, Women LEAD ran 11 different programs with the aim to continue empowering women and girls in Nepal. Our new Mentor-Shaper program, for example, pairs our alumna (who mentor the current cohort) with professional “Shaper” mentors in the field they are interested in. Other programs include Trailblazers, NYDP, Sujata Baskota Award, LEAD Course, SLP, Advocacy, Women’s Day Fun Run, Alumni Workshops, TEDxWomen, Women LEAD Bloggers.
12 Days of the Leadership Institute
The 12-day long Leadership Institute marks the beginning of the LEAD Course. In the Leadership Institute, we encourage our LEADers to reexamine their leadership identity and introduce them to various tools and skills they can use to enhance their leadership skills.