Female Leadership Academy Report 2022/2023

Background

A group of ten Nepali women successfully scaled Mt Everest in the year 2008. Members of the group then became the first female team in the world to climb the highest mountain in each continent.

‘Seven Summits Women Team’ has been using its experience and success in mountaineering to empower the most vulnerable and marginalized young women in Nepal.

In 2014, we started mentoring a small group of young survivors of sex trafficking helping them become licensed trekking guides. Following the success of two pilot batches, we launched the “Female Leadership Academy” in September 2022.

Female Leadership Academy- Introduction

Female Leadership Academy is a two-year program focusing on creating sustainable livelihoods, dignified careers, and empowered lives.

Phase I of the program is called Foundation Training which focuses on the foundation skills required to build any career, including English language lessons, computer skills, public speaking, confidence building, and high altitude training.

Phase II of the program is Career Training. Trainees are mentored to build professional careers in the outdoor industry during this year.  Participants willing to develop careers in other industries will be mentored in partnership with related organizations.

The Beneficiaries

Around 150 trainees benefitted from Foundation Training during 2022-2023.

The training was conducted at seven different centers in Kathmandu and Sindhupalchok districts.

In Kathmandu, we conducted training for survivors of sex trafficking and other abuses at two shelter homes. Here the trainee numbers fluctuate as they go through various phases of recovery. Roughly around fifty girls and women were provided with English and computer classes. We started classes in one shelter home in the beginning. The sessions were so impactful that we were requested to run the classes at additional shelter homes as well.

In Sindhupalchok, we tied up with five different schools. Female students in the 11th and 12th grades were enrolled in the program. Sindhupalchok district has been infamous as a hub of girl trafficking for several decades. Therefore, we work in this region so that we can empower young women to help prevent trafficking. All of our trainees come from humble backgrounds, most of them from marginalized backgrounds.

Phase I- Foundation Training 2022/2023

Six full-time teachers were hired to provide regular classes on the following topics at all seven centers.

  1. English language
  2. Computer skills
  3. Public speaking and interaction

 

High Altitude Mountain Training

Besides the regular training, 109 trainees participated in high-altitude local guide training. The program was conducted in collaboration with the National Association of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM) where internationally certified mountain guides provided 8 days of training from Feb 25 – March 2, 2023. The curriculum, developed by technical experts in trekking, mountaineering, and tourism, was modular and competency-based, designed to equip participants with essential skills, knowledge, and attitudes for guiding roles.

The program covered theoretical and practical classes, allowing trainees hands-on experiences with tools, materials, and equipment relevant to the field. Upon completion, participants received certificates, and the training included a trek to the Ne-pemesal region in northern Sindhupalchowk. This experience aimed to inspire participants to pursue careers as trekking guides or in the tourism industry. The trek provided insights into the tourism potential of the area, fostering an appreciation for its positive impact on local communities and economies. In addition to technical mountaineering topics, the trainees were oriented on mountain culture and sound environmental practices as well. (Watch video at the top of the page.)

Phase II- Career Training 2023/2024

Over 40 trainees from the first phase have been selected for the second phase of the program where they are receiving training and mentoring to develop careers in the tourism sector. Among them, 22 participants recently earned their trekking guide certificates! . In addition, the Career Training includes the following components-

  1. English language
  2. Computer skills
  3. Public speaking and interaction
  4. Job recommendation and placement

 

The Future- Foundation Training 2024

Over 200 girls have already enrolled in the Foundation Training for 2023/2024.

We aspire to scale the program to include more rural schools as well as shelter homes for survivor sisters.

Testimonials

Female Leadership Academy has been the most empowering and promising experience of my life. My family wanted me to stop going to school after 10th grade. But the Seven Summits Women Team supported me in attending a good school. On top of that, I joined their training. I am learning important skills to build a career as a guide. More importantly, I now believe that nature is our biggest university. I am thrilled to pursue a career that involves leading other people in nature.

Man Maya Tamang

Trainee

I have improved so much in the last year. I used to be a shy, timid girl. I would get nervous about communicating simple things. People used to tell me that they couldn’t even hear my voice. I now feel confident in expressing myself. I am learning a lot about leadership. I am also clearer about my future. There is so much more to learn and grow. And I am excited about that. 

Samari Tamang

Trainee

I feel like I am climbing a mountain in my real life. I have come a long way from where I was. But there is a long way to go as well. My family could not support my education. Seven Summits Women Team provided me with two opportunities. They supported my education and I am also training with them. Last year I went to a high altitude mountain training. Right now I am about to earn my trekking guide license. I have also been accepted into a good college to study Bachelor of Computer Applications. Seven Summits Sisters are supporting my undergraduate education as well. One day I hope to be able to bring the skills of two sectors together to promote Nepal and help young village girls like me who have no other support system. 

Nandita Bhattarai

Trainee