UNESCO safeguards the livelihoods of those vulnerable to COVID-19 through vocational skill training

As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, all aspects of human life have been affected. In Nepal, particularly the marginalized—migrants, informal workers including women, socially excluded and disadvantaged Dalit, Madhesi and Janjati communities—are among the most vulnerable. The impacts are already visible in loss of wages, job cuts, and closures of small enterprises, which can mean devastation to the country’s socio-economic settings.

Balaram Timalsina, Chief of Education Unit in UNESCO Kathmandu office said, “To protect the right to survival of vulnerable people, two fundamental interventions seem crucial at this moment: creating an opportunity for employment and income generation, and preparing an enabling environment to build back better socio-economic conditions of the country by preparing a skilled workforce.”

UNESCO, together with both government and non-government agencies, is carrying out Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) certified vocational skill training for 200 people targeting women (33%) and persons from disadvantaged communities (40%), in five provinces: Province 2, Bagmati Province, Gandaki Province, Province 5 and Sudurpaschim Province. This has been made possible thanks to financial assistance from the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF).

The training courses are selected as per local market assessment, the demand in the local community, and suggestions from the local government. Inclusive participant selection (44% women, 33% COVID-19 vulnerable families, and 23% from the Janajati and Dalit communities) has been done and the training courses began from the first week of August.

Upon various consultative meetings between the implementing partners and respective government bodies, the modality of the training courses has been finalized, ensuring adequate protective measures to avoid the risk of COVID-19 transmission. For the sustainability of the training, there will be skill testing and certification by CTEVT in the post-training phase, and at least 50% of the graduates will be ensured local employment in their field. The respective local governments are then expected to take ownership of the programme by linking the training graduates with local employment opportunities.

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