Dr Nepali Sah was one of the recipients of Australia Awards in 2002 to pursue a Master of Population Studies (MPS) from the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia. Dr Sah comes from a rural Terai district of Nepal. He feels that the Australia Award has changed his life by fulfilling his dreams of a postgraduate degree which seemed impossible during his early life. He is a role model and aspiration for many children and youth in the rural areas of Terai districts in Nepal.
Upon completion of his Masters studies, he returned to Nepal and started working as a Senior Research and Evaluation Officer with Save the Children Japan (SC Japan) – SC Japan had granted a year’s unpaid leave to pursue this course. With his undergraduate studies in the agriculture field (Bachelor of Science in Agriculture), Dr Sah worked in the field of education, maternal and child health and nutrition programs in Nepal where he served as a Community Development Worker initially and later as a Research and Evaluation Officer. With a social science background and an understanding of the importance of quantitative and qualitative research skill, Dr Sah decided to pursue a course suitable the MPS course. As a result, Dr Sah is equipped with knowledge and skills of qualitative and quantitative research skills as well as other important dimensions to analyse key aspects of Nepali society.
Following his excellent work in SC Japan, he was promoted to the position of Program Manager where he was involved in program planning, implementation and monitoring. The focus of the program had shifted to ‘Eradication of child labour through formal schooling’ which was implemented by two NGOs in three Terai districts. During the course of program implementation, it was evident that child marriage was a major cause of girls dropping out of school and this led him to further enhance his understanding of the phenomenon of early marriage. After serving two years as a Program Manager, he had the opportunity to work with another SC family (Save the Children Sweden) at a regional level where he served as Regional Program Coordinator for the Tsunami Response Program in India and Sri Lanka. He also managed partnership programs in India and Nepal. Dr Sah was looking for opportunities to further advance his studies, and was again selected for an Australia Award in 2007 to pursue his doctoral studies. With his strong interest and determination on the issue of child marriage, he decided to pursue his doctoral research on this issue.
Dr Sah started his PhD in 2007 at the Australian National University. His dissertation focused on the association between early marriage and dowry and how dowry influences early marriage. He was awarded his PhD in 2011. Currently, he is serving as an M&E Specialist with the Office of Millennium Challenge Nepal, a joint initiative of the Government of Nepal and Millennium Challenge Corporation, USA. Dr Sah’s role is to provide M&E related technical advice and support to the project development in the area of energy and transport in Nepal.
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