© Helvetas / Christian Bobst

Rural Access

Improving access to economic opportunities and public services by building rural roads and trail bridges is a core component of Helvetas’ strategy.
© Helvetas / Christian Bobst

Lack of transport infrastructure makes it virtually impossible for the poor to escape the poverty trap. Every year, we help around 492,000 people get better access to markets, schools, and hospitals.

Why rural access matters

Transport access plays a vital role in facilitating economic development. in Ethiopia 95% of the movement of people and goods are still carried out by road transport. Considering the very low road infrastructure development and the high construction costs of roads, especially in remote rural areas with very rugged terrain, the trail bridge technology has become an important complement to the country’s endeavours in providing basic infrastructure access to the rural community.

«The local people named the gorge and the thin rope pathway over Abay River ‘Nebse tal’ meaning blowing own soul. The river has succumbed many lives of pregnant women, infants, youngsters and the bread winner — men and women of many households for several years.»

A crossing over Abay River, Amhara Region,

Our work

The Trail Bridge Capacity Building Programme (TBCBP) has focused on bridge construction across the nation. Later, the project started focussing specifically on the institutional strengthening and capacity development of its various partners. This approach envisioned transforming TBCBP from “bridge builders” to “institutional capacity builders or trainers”. Main implementation modality of TBCBP is planning and implementation of trail bridge projects through public-private partnerships.

Our Expertise

Helvetas’ approach builds on 60 years of experience in the sector: from constructing a bridge to developing a sector-wide approach. Our multilingual Rural Access team provides advisory services both to Helvetas and external clients.

Learn more and contact us


The most vulnerable communities suffer from dirty and scarce water. Annually we help up to 500,000 people get new access to drinking water and basic sanitation.

Selected Projects

© Helvetas
Tajikistan Rural Access

Organic to Markets

Rasht Valley Tajikistan | © Helvetas
Tajikistan Gender and Social Equity

Improved Nutrition and Health for Rural Families

 Mother with daughter preparing food | © Patrick Rohr
Laos Environment and Climate Change

Connecting for Improved Nutrition