Home-based workers and entrepreneurs in Nepal take steps towards COVID-19 recovery
EU SWITCH-Asia PARYA Sampada
The Covid-19 pandemics has hit all countries hard, particularly low-income countries such as Nepal. This crisis has also exposed gaps in the system when it comes to responding to the needs of the most vulnerable sections of society, namely women, low-income families, marginalised communities, and other minority groups.
Women, a major portion of the informal workforce are still facing isolation and challenges when it comes to their livelihoods. However, they are taking action. Leveraging their sewing skills, home-based workers, beneficiaries of the EU SWITCH-Asia PARYA Sampada project, are playing an important role in COVID-19 response and recovery by producing personnel protection equipment and facemasks.
While the main objective of this project is to promote sustainable eco-tourism in the heritage settlement of Kathmandu Valley, priorities have shifted in response to the pandemics and have been redirected towards the empowerment of home-based workers in Nepal, through capacity building training programmes.
During the first wave of COVID-19, 36 women took part in an advanced stitching training, conduced by SABAH Nepal, one of the implementing partners of the project.
As a result, they were able to produce 25 sets of personal protection equipment, 50 litres of liquid soap, 60 litres of sanitiser, and 100 masks. These were handed to local representatives of the city of Bungamati in April 2020 in order to support the safety of frontlines health workers. Moreover, during the second wave, home-based workers produced 1,000 facemasks for healthcare professionals of the community of Bungamati.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, millions of workers are still unemployed or underemployed, thus creating of jobs and supporting small and medium enterprises are a prerequisite for recovery and building forward better.
Through its five-day Entrepreneurship Development Training programme implemented by SABAH Nepal, the SWITCH-Asia PARYA Sampada project has also successfully trained 330 youths and women in the settlements of Bungamati, Pilachhen, Chobar, Thankot, Balambu, Chapagaun, and Panga. The main aim of the training was to provide participants with the necessary entrepreneurial knowledge and skills to start their own businesses. Those who joined the programme had an interest in: agriculture, hospitality and restaurants, garments and tailoring, handicrafts, cosmetics and beauty, among others.
Sanish Maharjan, one of the graduates of the training, opened the Zyapuz Café in his community. "The training greatly boosted my confidence to start my own business. Previously, I was unaware of the know-hows of entrepreneurship and how to run a business. Now, I have prepared a solid business plan." says Sanish Maharjan.
Together with its partners, the SWITCH-Asia PARYA Sampada project will continue to support small enterprises and train 600 entrepreneurs, paving the way for new opportunities for income generation and improving livelihoods in Nepal.