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Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Training Nepalese women as trekking guides, leading to educational and employment opportunities never before known by rural Nepalese women.

About You
Contact Information


First name


Last name


Your job title


Name of your organization

3 Sisters Adventure Trekking

Organization type


Annual budget/currency

$60,000 US

Project Street Address

Lakeside - Khahare

Project City


Project Province/State

Kaski Gandaki

Project Postal/Zip Code


Project Country
Your idea
Choose your sport: (check all that apply)


If you chose "other" for Sport, please define in 1-2 words below


What approach does your initiative incorporate?

Capacity Building

Year the initiative began (yyyy)


If your project has a website, paste the web address here:
Plot your innovation within the discovery framework:

Social stigmas and prohibitions


Let girls lead

<p>This field has not been completed. (333 words or less)</p>

What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?

Training Nepalese women as trekking guides, leading to educational and employment opportunities never before known by rural Nepalese women.

How many people does your innovation serve or plan to serve? Exactly who will benefit?

We train 60-70 women per year, but there is a huge ripple effect. The trainees themselves benefit financially, socially, and in terms of their level of confidence. Their families benefit financially, and all of Nepalese society will indirectly benefit because this project is part of a movement for women's rights in Nepal. Nepal's adventure tourism industry will benefit, because after female trekkers have a more comfortable experience with us, they will keep returning and recommending us.

Do you have any existing partnerships? If so, please list and describe.

We actively partner with Empowering Women in Nepal, a local NGO whose goal is to improve the lives of disadvantaged women. That organization is closely involved in providing the trekking guide training for women. We also partner with similar NGO's in Jumla and Mugu. Also, we partner with Lending Promise, a U.S. NGO which provides micro-loans to women in West Nepal.

In which sector do these partners work? (Check all that apply)

Citizen sector (non profits, NGOs) .

How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?

Twice a year, women from remote rural areas embark on a journey that will change their lives. A free 6-month trekking guide apprenticeship program awaits them in Pokhara at the base of the Himalayas. The program starts with an intensive 4-week training course that teaches them technical and conversational English as well as essential skills and knowledge to work as trekking guides. In only a month, women who had no means of earning a living by themselves are started on the path to self-sufficiency. Women learn trekking skills such as map reading, trip planning and mountain first aid. They receive in depth courses on Nepal's flora, fauna, geography, culture and religion. At the end of this 4-week training course, the women start work in the apprenticeship program where they will be paid while acquiring field experience. This provides an immediate economic benefit to the women. During the quiet season for trekking, EWN offers additional training programs additional training programs.

Provide one sentence describing your impact/intended impact

To promote women's rights in Nepal by providing employment and education to Nepalese women, while creating an inspiring trekking experience.

What does impact/success look like? Please list any tangible measures of the impact of your innovation

Increases in: the number of enrollments and graduates each year, the numbers of Nepalese women going on from our program to higher education, the numbers of Nepalese women going on from our training to employment with other tourism companies, the numbers of Nepalese women being accepted into other non-traditional occupations in Nepal, the satisfaction of international female adventure tourists. The program has affected the economic and educational status of 600 women so far, and continues at an accelerating rate. As the women gain self-confidence and financial independence, they use the money earned to pay for university, family medical expenses, siblings’ education, starting businesses. Not only the women, but entire families and communities benefit and other women hear of the opportunities available.

Is there a chance that your project could change policy (within an institution or government)?

We are making gradual changes in the social system of the country simply by employing and empowering women, and making that more acceptable to more people. As for changes at the policy level, the political situation has been very unstable in Nepal for much of the time that Three Sisters has been in business. Because of this we have been unable to work on such things, but we hope to in the future. In the meantime, we hope to make changes in the social system from the ground up.

Aside from financial sustainability, how do you plan to grow the initiative or expand your intended impact?

We are expanding our training programs to raise awareness on tourism development/sanitation and health/protecting the environment. We are promoting new trekking routes in west Nepal-marketing emphasis on environmental/sustainable eco-tourism best practices. We will encourage other trekking agencies to operate treks in these undeveloped rural areas, employ trained women (not just men) and promote our example of buying supplies/hiring staff locally on treks, directly benefiting local communities.

How is your initiative financed (or how do you expect your initiative will be financed)?

Our trekking business is profitable/self-sustaining. Female Trekking Guide Training is fully funded by our revenue generation and individual private donations. New client business continues to grow with strong repeat business and “word of mouth”, showing that our “by women, for women” approach is extremely successful. More women staff/guides are employed each season, but there are still not enough female guides to meet demand. Tourist numbers visiting Nepal are increasing yearly, ensuring trekking guide training funding will continue as it now is.

Financing source
Annual budget

$60.000 U.S.

Annual revenue generated


Number of staff (full-time, part-time, volunteers)

100 during trekking season, 20 the rest of the year

What are the main barriers to financing your initiative, and how do you plan to address these barriers?

We no longer feel that we have any barriers. Since the political situation in Nepal has stabilised, the number of tourists are increasing each year so that the trekking business is doing well to support our female trekking training program. But the women are looking for the advance training like Rock and Ice climbing training. Therefore, we require huge fund and equipment to gather for this training program. Now we are finding donors and taking part on different competitions like this.

What are the major challenges with regards to partnerships?

To have right partners with ethical value who trust our (women) ability and support many women to be independent, self sufficient and decision making women.

The Story
What stage is your project?

Ongoing project .

What was the motivation or defining moment that led to create this innovation? Tell us the story.

In 1993 I and my sisters were running a restaurant and lodge in Pokhara. A group of young female trekkers from Australia and Denmark came to us and told us of difficulties with male guides—drunkenness, sexual advances, and an uncomfortable atmosphere. Later in the guesthouse I saw those guides pushing the young women to trek even though they were not feeling well. They went out anyway, under pressure from the guides, and later came back ill, crying, and frightened. I thought, how can this situation be changed? I had been trained in India as a mountaineer, so I had some idea of how the situation could be improved for those women. Years earlier, during a field visit to the far west, I had seen the harsh lifestyles of the women there. With their husbands and brothers gone to India, women were abandoned in the dry, uncultivated landscape of western Nepal. I dreamed of working to support them. It occurred to my sisters and me that training female guides would not only help the female trekkers, but provide employment for those Nepalese women.

Please tell us about the social innovator behind this initiative

Working for an NGO (1986-87), I was assigned to work in western Nepal and was shocked to see how miserable and destitute the rural women’s lives were. I longed to do something to support them. Later I attended the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute’s program which changed my life. Running a guesthouse in Pokhara with my sisters, solo women travelers complained of harassment from male guides and porters. They asked me to guide them in the Himalayas and 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking was born.

(Optional) To be eligible for an additional prize, please select age range

27 or older