Speak Up and Lead: Girls’ voices for girls’ education through community radio

School closures in Nepal are putting an estimated 4.46 million girls at risk of not completing their education, according to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics. This is in addition to those already out of school before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, on the International Day of the Girl, UNESCO, together with the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters Nepal (ACORAB), is organising a radio show entitled “Speak Up and Lead: Girls’ voices for girls’ education through community radio” to advocate for safeguarding girls’ education, ensuring girls’ learning continuity during the pandemic, and promoting girls’ safe return to school once these reopen.

Fifty-two adolescent girls and young women from five project districts of the Joint Programme (Achham, Bajura, Rauthat, Sarlahi and Sunsari) have interviewed local government officials including Deputy Mayors, Education Coordination Officers, and Women Development Officers. On the show, the girls shared their experiences and the challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, shedding light on the issues of child marriage, gender-based violence, gender discrimination, and the right to education. The discussions will be documented and submitted as a report to the respective local government bodies.

Parbati, a participant of the Joint Programme’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) training and later a female champion from Achham district, was one of the fifty-two girls who hosted the radio show for this event.

It was an amazing experience to sit together with the Deputy Mayor and discuss how we can solve the issues girls are facing. I am glad that my voice was heard to ensure we create a better future for girls.
Parbati Bista

Parbati and the other hosts of the radio show are among the many girls who have participated in the UNESCO-UNFPA-UN Women Joint Programme on “Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women through the Provision of CSE and a Safe Learning Environment in Nepal,” engaging in CSE trainings, female championship programmes, functional literacy classes and skills development trainings.

This event will mark the launch of a three-month community radio campaign by UNESCO and ACORAB entitled “Keeping girls in the picture”. Through radio dramas and interviews, the campaign aims to raise awareness on existing gender inequalities in education and the harmful practices that perpetuate gender discrimination. The weekly show will be broadcasted across 26 community radio stations in all five project districts. This campaign is supported by Global Education Coalition’s Gender Flagship.

About the UNESCO-UNFPA-UN Women Joint Programme

“Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women through the Provision of Comprehensive Sexuality Education and a Safe Learning Environment in Nepal” is a Joint Programme led by UNESCO, UNFPA and UN Women with support from KOICA aiming to empower girls and young women through an integrated approach to education, health, and gender equality. For more inquiries, contact the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu at kathmandu[a]

About the Global Education Coalition

Members of the Global Education Coalition are working together to address the gender dimensions of the school crisis caused by COVID-19 and to safeguard the progress made in this area over the past decades. If you are interested in supporting this initiative, contact the Gender Equality Flagship at Gender.ed[a]