Location and general information

Location Nepal, Lumbini Province
Start date 03/01/2024
End date 02/28/2025
Cost of the project €120,000
Foundation funding €25,000
Project identifier 20230020
Partners Atoot
Categories Access to Sport - Children with disabilities - Gender Equality - Personal development


In rural villages of southern Nepal, women and girls have no voice and are effectively excluded from life. Girls are isolated in their communities and given no decision-making power. From birth, they are expected to be nether seen nor heard, and to obey the boys and men. Their sole purpose is to become wives, mothers and homemakers.

There is an urgent need for safe, empowering spaces for these marginalised girls facing intergenerational inequalities, discrimination and injustice. The following problems in particular need addressing:

  • Child marriage: Kapilvastu district has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Nepal. 62% of girls get married between the ages of 10 and 19. The national average is 41% (Nepal Census, 2011).
  • Gender-based violence: Kapilvastu has one of the highest rates of gender discrimination and gender-based violence in the country (Nepal Census, 2011).
  • Early school dropouts: Girls’ need for education is systematically ignored and school dropouts are rampant among girls aged 11 to 14 (UNICEF). They work in servitude to their families, preparing to serve their future husband and his family.
  • Dowry system: Although it is illegal in Nepal, the dowry system is one of the most pressing issues facing girls in Kapilvastu. From birth, a girl child is seen as a burden and a liability due to the high price of dowries and, although unreported, female foeticide/infanticide is common.
  • Girls have no voice: Girls are isolated in their communities and given no decision-making power. They have no say in their own lives.

Project goals

  • Help girls break out of the vicious cycles that trap them, enabling them to make their own life choices
  • Provide multiple platforms for girls who have never had a voice to gain confidence and form empowering relationships
  • Create multiple safe spaces where girls can come together in a progressive environment to play, learn, and surround themselves with positive peers

Project content

  • Football sessions: Atoot conducts football sessions five times a week. These inclusive sessions give girls an opportunity to play sport and to meet, connect with and learn from their peers in a fun, encouraging and thought-provoking environment. The sessions focus not only on football skills but on a plethora of soft skills, offering an empowering safe space in which to be bold, take chances and gain mental, physical and emotional strength together. Girls learn about self-worth, leadership, conflict resolution, fair play, teamwork, time management, taking responsibility for themselves and their team-mates, and holistic, long-term capacity building.
  • Educational classes: Atoot organises extra classes in English, Nepali and arts & crafts five times a week to supplement the girls' studies at understaffed, often poorly taught public schools. The classes are specially designed to cater to children with different levels of literacy and continuous in-class assessments are conducted to help Atoot staff tailor the lessons to the girls’ needs. The educational classes and football sessions are intertwined, so that the girls can practise what they encounter in the classroom and on the pitch. They learn literacy, awareness, language skills, overall comprehension and alternative ways of thinking in a fun, caring and nurturing environment, increasing their educational capacity exponentially, which then encourages their families to give them more opportunities and keep them out of childhood marriage.
  • Life skills workshops: Atoot conducts life-skills workshops two to three times a week on various personal, cultural and societal issues directly affecting the project beneficiaries, as identified in discussions with the girls themselves. Topics include the girl child, gender-based violence, child marriage, human trafficking, savings, children’s rights, female empowerment, hygiene, environmental issues, etc. By broaching topics otherwise not discussed or taught in schools, families or the community, the girls bolster their capacity to break down norms ingrained in the local society.
  • Community engagement: Regular community engagement builds trust within communities and helps raise awareness and promote advocacy around the grave social and societal issues affecting the girls. We ensure that local voices are heard and opinions are valued, promoting greater acceptance in the community.


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