Twice a year during the trekking off-season, EWN offers an intensive four-week Female Trekking Guide Training Program. The average age of the participants is 20 and, for optimal results, the maximum group size is 40 trainees. The objective is to have participants from different regions of Nepal and especially disadvantaged women from rural areas (Karnali Region, Everest, and Langtang).
From 1999 to 2019 EWN trained over 2000 women from 52 districts of Nepal.
EWN’s 4 week intensive course includes:
• Trekking and Tourism
• Basic English Conversation
• Culture and Religion
• Map Reading
• Leadership and Team Building
• Cross-Cultural Communication
• Mountain Culture and People
• Conservation and the Environment
• Women’s Issues
• Women’s Human Rights
• Women’s Health
Trainees undergo an intensive four-week program on technical and conversational English, which also covers a broad range of topics including First Aid (HIV-AIDS, STD, women’s health issues), leadership, women’s rights, trekking information, environment, history, geography, and culture.
The training also emphasizes ecological awareness and conservation, including water sanitation and waste management. As participants develop into adventure tourism professionals, they communicate the ecologically sound practices they learn at EWN to their clients. For example they promote iodine purification methods, rather than relying on mineral water with its attendant plastic bottles which litter the Himalayas.
At the end of the initial training, EWN’s partner organization, 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking, provides a five month paid apprenticeship program where the girls acquire field experience by working as trainee guides. From their apprenticeship they gain immediate economic benefits by earning wages equivalent to experienced male porters, and they develop the skills needed to emerge as independent entrepreneurs. Over 100 guides are now employed by 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking each trekking season.
After they finish the training cycle, the majority of alumni find work in the adventure tourism industry; some become micro-entrepreneurs, some continue with higher education, some continue with EWN refresher courses, some leave for work abroad and some return to their villages and spread the word about the program to their friends and neighbors.