Empowering vulnerable women from Humla and Mugu districts of Midwestern Nepal | Mission East

Empowering vulnerable women from Humla and Mugu districts of Midwestern Nepal

Project Status: 


Project Aims

To improve the socio- economic position of women in Humla and Mugu. To empower the most vulnerable women in Humla and Mugu districts, so that they can themselves combat discriminatory behaviours in the social, economic and cultural spheres and promote their full participation in local decision-making processes.


Project Action

This intervention aims to improve the situation of vulnerable women in remote areas of Nepal. The most vulnerable women of Humla and Mugu district, including those with disability, will be empowered through the strengthening of women's groups to combat social, economic and cultural discriminatory behaviours.

Women will have literacy and vocational training, gain access to revolving credit funds,  that will improve income and employment opportunities. Advocacy activities will promote their full participation in local decision making process.





Project Code




Humla and Mugu, Nepal





Project Background

The Karnali region, in the Mid-Western Development Region of Nepal, is made of 5 districts among the poorest of Nepal. According to the Poverty ranking statistics of Nepal, Mugu ranks 75 (out of 75 total districts in the country) and Humla 73.
The total population of Humla is 51.008 and Mugu 55.311 with a low population density of respectively 9 and 16 people per sq.km, due to remote and scattered settlement. The average literacy rate among women in hills and mountains is officially 63% (46% for Dalit women)  but Mission East conducted an assessment in 31 villages of south Humla to realise that average literacy rate was 30%.
It is then estimated, owing to the gender gap in literacy and considering the important exclusion for Dalit and/or single women, that they have a literacy rate not higher than 10%. According to the data of the Poverty Alleviation Fund, 73% of households can afford their living only for 3 months placing them below the poverty line. 
The main problem the project will deal with is the extreme vulnerability of women in the remote districts of Humla and Mugu. Women of such remote districts are confined within the 4-walls of their houses, with a heavy workload consisting of preparing food, looking after their children, ensuring proper sanitation, collecting water and wood (sometimes hours walking distance from the village) and taking care of the livestock.
Despite such heavy burden, they have almost no decision making power within their communities, and have no property after the demise of their husband. 
The principal causes of the women’s extreme vulnerability are illiteracy, no access to vocational training for income generating activities, dependency and lack of knowledge of their rights.  The high illiteracy rate, as families send first their sons to school, keeping girls at home for domestic work and in absence of any access to vocational training or capital assets or micro-credits, women cannot engage in prokductive and income generation activities that would contribute to more autonomy and independence.
Consequently, they need to spend their life under the control of men, even from their sons and daughters- in- law. When women find themselves being  single, after the loss of their husband, son, or due to polyandry system in the Lama community, they end up with no property, no house to stay in and no access to food, forcing them to mendacity and total dependence from charity and/or meager social safety net provided by the government.
When they have children from other men, such children are called illegal and are deprived from the love and respect from their “illegal” father and community. Their mothers have to work hard for the subsistence of their children.
Children are found engaged in work or cheated by brokers with good promises of education and economic opportunities at an early age, when they reach 7-8 years. This reflects the difficult condition of single women and their children taken away from them, which strongly impacts their personal situation, and significantly increases poverty and vulnerability among this population.