Women's empowerment : a case study on the Female Community Health Volunteer programme in Balkumari, Nepal : a research project presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Masters in International Development, Massey University, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
The Female Community Health Volunteer (FCHV) Programme in Nepal is considered the backbone of the national health system. With over 52,000 female volunteers trained across the country, they have gained the ability to provide intimate support to mothers and young children, acting as the interface between community and national health (MoHP, 2014, p. 23). As Nepal is a patriarchal nation, women’s and children’s health can often be not prioritised or dismissed. Prioritising women’s health is linked with women’s empowerment and a step towards addressing poverty. This study focuses on one NGO, the FCHV Programme that works towards women’s health, and aims at understanding in what areas the programme actively works towards women’s empowerment. The FCHV programme operates with female volunteers, whose responsibility is working with women that need health support. This study is framed within a gender and development context. It utilises a qualitative methodology and an empowerment framework to explore how the FCHV programme operates within a local Nepalese context, and in what ways the programme includes empowerment of women. The primary research method applied were semi-structured interviews throughout the seven-weeks of fieldwork in the village of Balkumari in Bardiya District. This study found that despite a lack of financial remuneration, the female volunteers in Balkumari have had some empowering experiences through the education they received. By sharing their education within the community, other women also benefited. In the process, the women experienced increased self-esteem and social status.
Research report for 131897