The Karnali Employment Programme (KEP) was launched by the Government of Nepal in 2006 with the slogan of ‘ek ghar ek rojgar’ (one household, one job). The aim was to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment to households living in extreme poverty without any other source of income in five districts of Karnali zone. A further objective was also to create local public assets that would contribute to enhancing local livelihoods in the longer term.
This note examines the KEP programme’s potential to achieve women’s economic empowerment that generates a ‘double boon’ – paid work that empowers women and provides more support for their unpaid care work responsibilities. The research was conducted in two sites in Jumla – Chandannath and Depalgaon. In both sites, the main source of livelihood for low-income households was subsistence agriculture and non-agricultural wage work, especially related to masonry and construction related work. Women from poor households are also engaged in multiple low-income paid work such as agricultural labour, breaking stones and vegetable farming. The research highlights factors that affect “what works for a ‘double boon’” and also “what hinders a ‘double boon’”.