OBJECTIVES: Description of experiences and results of training rural women in Nepal to recognize basic oral health problems and to perform basic oral health promotion activities. METHODS: Rural women from different districts of Nepal were trained in a 1-day course in oral health promotion as part of a 4-month vocational skills programme targeted at them. Their knowledge about preventive oral care, their recognition of basic oral health problems and their ability to perform basic oral health education were assessed qualitatively and quantitatively before and after the course. RESULTS: From 2006 to 2009, 141 women from 30 mostly rural districts were trained. Following the educational intervention, an overall trend towards improvement of their oral health awareness and their knowledge was documented. They proved to be competent in oral health promotion activities, in demonstrating oral hygiene techniques and in recognizing basic oral health problems. They were able to organize oral health awareness programmes in their villages and acted as advocates for the benefits of fluoridated toothpaste. After 3 years, they educated 2100 other community members, with at least 4000 children participating in their oral health awareness programmes. CONCLUSION: A community-oriented educational intervention programme for rural women in basic oral health promotion activities could be a successful culturally sensitive means to support access to oral health awareness programmes for Nepalese people in remote areas.