American Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) based in the Western Region of Nepal facilitated “Camp GLOW” (Girls Leading Our World) in Pokhara from July 9-14, 2014. This was the first Camp GLOW organized by Peace Corps Nepal, and more camps are expected to follow.
The five-day camp was organized by nine PCVs, who collaborated with a local organization, Empowering Women of Nepal, as well as the Asia Foundation. GLOW Camp participants belong to communities in which the nine PCVs serve and included 36 girls, aged 12 to 16, and nine accompanying adult female community members.
Camp GLOW covered the topics of girls’ empowerment, gender roles, health, life skills and volunteerism. Participants discussed challenges that Nepali girls are facing and learned strategies to combat them. Marvin Crespin-Gamez, a PCV living in Baglung, said that "Some of these girls have never been outside of their villages, so being part of a camp like this has exposed them to new things.”
Camp GLOW was designed to push participants outside of their comfort zone and provide a unique opportunity for participants to interact with girls from diverse regions, castes and economic backgrounds. "Working with people of different backgrounds has shown me a real example of unity in diversity," said Sanam Sharma, a young participant. According to a press release issued by Public Affairs Section, Embassy of The United States, the Peace Corps program in Nepal began operations in 1962, but the program suspended operations in 2004 due to safety concerns. At the invitation of the Government of Nepal, Peace Corps resumed operations in 2012. Volunteers in Nepal serve in a food security project supported by the Government of Nepal and USAID, and they also work on promoting gender equity and youth empowerment in Nepal.