Gandaki is located near the city of Pokhara, in central Nepal. About 510,000 people live in the city, making it the second largest city in Nepal after the capital Kathmandu. Pokhara is considered the tourism capital of the country and is located at the foot of the Himalayas.
However, poverty is still widespread, with 10% of the people in the province living in poverty. This leads to food insecurity for the population, and children in particular are at great risk. In addition, girls are still exposed to child marriage.
Since 1979, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Gandaki.
Nepal has the 16th highest rate of child marriages in the world. This means that 40% of women in Nepal were married before the age of 18.
Child marriage is a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the emotional damage a child suffers from a forced union is profound. There is also an increased risk of child pregnancy and domestic violence.
In the province of Gandaki specifically, 35% of girls were married as a child. The national target to end child marriage by 2030 will require a major push from the government.
Although Nepal has been recognized as a leader in decreasing malnutrition, food insecurity is still widespread in Nepal. Many people suffer from acute hunger. In Gandaki especially, parents struggle to provide enough nutritious food for their children. For this reason, 14% of the children are underweight.
To be more specific, 22% of children in Gandaki experience stunting (low height for age), a result from undernutrition. Furthermore, 8% of children experience wasting (low weight for height), which occurs when a child has not had food of adequate quality and quantity.