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Largest Women's Expedition Planned For Mt. Everest

Largest Women's Expedition Planned for Mt. Everest

Kathmandu, 14 February -- A group of 13 courageous women representing a range of Nepal's castes and ethnicities will attempt to climb Mt. Everest in the spring of 2008. Their aim will be to draw attention to the affects of climate change in the Himalayas, as well as encourage and empower women and mountaineering. This will be the largest female expedition team to date, organized exclusively by women, including the coordination executive, technical experts, kitchen staff and mule drivers. Their voyage will add a new chapter in the history of Mount Everest Expedition.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have together raised nearly one-quarter of the $ 200 ,000 needed to finance the expedition. The women's group, from the First Inclusive Women Sagarmatha Expedition 2008, are currently fundraising and hope to begin their ascent in early Spring. WFP and UNDP have contributed $40,000 and $10,000 respectively.

"We expect the team to bring back updated information of the major changes which have been observed in the past years, from the bottom to the top of Mt. Everest," says UNDP Country Director in Nepal, Anne-Isabelle Degryse-Blateau. "We hope that their observations will provide additional ideas on how to ecologically better manage and preserve this unique tourist and world heritage site."

"When they were younger, several of the expedition members received support from WFP feeding programmes and we are proud that they have grown into strong adults ready to take on one of the greatest challenges on earth, to climb Mount Everest," says WFP Country Representative Richard Ragan.

ENDS

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