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EmpowHER 2016 formally inaugurates in town

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Kathmandu, May 28, 2016: EmpowHER, a platform that aspires to increase the number of young women in leadership and decision making roles in Nepal, in its second year, was formally inaugurated amid a function organized in the capital today.

Pragyan Pradhan, Chairman of Ujyalo Foundation giving his welcome speech to all the 16 passionate and cheerful participants in the competition, said that the 3-months long competitive session is the one of the most comprehensive women-focused leadership programme in the nation. “There still exists a big gulf between males and females in leadership roles. EmpowHER is in place to prepare charismatic leaders and hence tackle the gap,” he mentioned. It will give the participants with the fundamentals of leadership. He explained the OCP formula for leadership and success. “You need to be open minded to listen to anybody around you. You need to develop the habit of making compromises and taking the middle ground while making decisions. Similarly, you also need to be persistent in whatever you do. You need to continue till the end after you start. Never stop learning,” he requested all the participants.

Sharing her experiences, Ms. Sharon Adhikari, a participant from EmpowHER 2015 session said that being a part of the competition was really a wonderful experience. “I got to interact and involve with students and professionals from diverse backgrounds like Business, IT, Social Science, Medicine among others. We all got to know what network building is and how to network along with working in professional settings, developed work ethics and many other aspects that are very essential to be a successful person in the present day,” she recalled. “Every Saturday morning, I woke up imagining and thrillingly waiting how the day’s session will unfold and what new thing I would learn from the workshop. And, after returning home, I used to reflect the day feeling like ‘WOW! That’s quite a learning today!’ ”

Shraddha Shrestha, one of the participants in the competition, shared that at the end of the whole duration of the programme, she wants to become a change-maker. “I especially want to develop decisiveness, independence and time-management skills. And, I’m sure that learning from workshops on various topics conducted by professionals from different sectors will surely benefit me in the long run,” said she.

Speaking on the necessity of such programmes, Anil Keshary Shah said that our society typecasts by gender a lot. “Gender-based discriminations are highly prevalent in Nepal. From a young age, girls are expected to have a role as a mother, a sister, a homemaker, etc.,” he said sharing about the notion of the society. “This programme will teach the young women to look at themselves first before doing all the roles in their life, and take up the roles that they really want to do and put their best efforts on that. Programmes like this will empower these young women and will have lasting impact in their life.”

Talking about the programme, Amuda Mishra, Executive Director of Ujyalo Foundation, shared that the event will make the young ladies to take better decisions on their career and their life. She further said that the programme will empower them and groom them as the change makers in the society.

Kripa Basnet, one of the members in the advisory committee, explaining on why she came to be part of the programme, shared that, EmpowHER is to mentor and empower young women, which is very lacking in the context of Nepal. “It provides them with exposures that are unknown to them yet. At the end of the session, I want to see them as the responsible leader and apply whatever they have learned from the session in their respective fields as a capable women leaders and even empowering others and creating a ripple effect,” she explained.

The programme has a panel of mentors to help successfully conduct all the sessions in the three month duration of the project.

The advisory committee of the programme includes Anil Keshary Shah, CEO at Mega bank, Charu Chada, Chief Editor of WOW Magazine, Ms. Haushala Thapa, founder of Children and Youths First, Ms. Kripa Basnet, Executive Director at Hamro Chahana Nepal, Niraj Khanal, CEO at Antarprerana and Ms. Samridhi Rana Thapa, Project Manager at Bihani Social Ventures.

Ishani Shrestha, Miss Nepal 2013 will be the spokesperson for the event.

The three month-long programme will follow a well-designed curriculum that includes workshops on every Saturday, mentoring with wonderful lectures and fieldworks.

The programme was able groom a cohort of 13 girls last year and the top three projects viz. ‘Girls in Technology’, ‘Tyo Purano Ghar’ and ‘Upgrading the life of street children’ were declared the winners and awarded with seed fund money of 1 lakh to implement their ‘Impact Service Idea’.

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The 14 different sessions in the duration of three-months will groom innovative ideas, build the leadership network in the participants and grow the essence of sisterhood in them along with making them aware of gender based violences and preparing them to be change makers, ultimately creating self-reliant women leaders needed in various sectors.

The programme will conclude with the Grand Finale to be held on 10th of September, 2016.

By Basanta Kumar Dhakal