© Helvetas / Meinrad Schade

Our Expertise and Services: Rural Access

© Helvetas / Meinrad Schade

We help build and maintain rural roads and trail bridges that improve access to markets, schools and health centers. Roads and bridges connect people from different places and across rivers and deep valleys. They create opportunities.

Why roads and bridges matter

One billion people do not have access to an all-season road. Roads are fundamental to economic growth and access to basic services. Rural transport infrastructure and services are key to achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals in the area of energy, food security, health, infrastructure, urban development and climate change.

What we do

Helvetas strengthens the rural transport sector in many countries. This includes the development of cost-effective engineering design, financing and maintenance mechanisms, capacity building, and devising technical school and university curricula. We develop capacities of the private sector and standards, norms and policies for the rural transport sector.

We generate jobs, particularly for disadvantaged groups and women, by promoting labor-intensive methods.

Helvetas created the South-South Cooperation Unit (SSCU) to share its know-how on trail bridges. Nepali experts provide training of trainers in Ethiopia in the field of trail bridge technology. The SSCU has also implemented mandates for organizations such as the African Development Bank and the International Labour Organization.

Helvetas helps create local platforms that facilitate exchange and innovation around the effective use of drainage water (road water harvesting) and road borders. We promote gender equity in the transport sector.

© Helvetas
Nepal © Helvetas
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© Helvetas / Narendra Shrestha
Nepal © Helvetas / Narendra Shrestha
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© Helvetas / Christian Bobst
Ethiopia © Helvetas / Christian Bobst
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© Helvetas / Pia Zanetti
Ethiopia © Helvetas / Pia Zanetti
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© Helvetas / Hanspeter Bundi
South-South Aid, Ethiopia © Helvetas / Hanspeter Bundi
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© Helvetas
Road construction, Burkina Faso © Helvetas
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© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
Completed Road, Burkina Faso © Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
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What we offer

  • 50 years of experience in the trail bridge sector, from designing bridges to developing a sector-wide approach
  • A global trail bridge expert team based in our partner countries provides training, technical assistance and oversees implementation
  • Extensive experience in labor-intensive rural road construction including budgeting guidance, construction, management and maintenance of rural roads, as well as strengthening governance

Contact our Team

Our South-South Cooperation Unit provides technical assistance on the construction and maintenance of trail bridges. The team coaches local actors in developing trail bridge sector skills and policies.

Contact our experts for rural access
Programme Development Coordinator
South-South Cooperation Unit
Trail Bridge Expert
South-South Cooperation Unit
Business Development Manager
South-South Cooperation Unit
Manager Labour-Intensive Infrastructure Programme
South-South Cooperation Unit

Selected projects

Helvetas develops and guides projects. To be sustainable, they must be locally embedded. We support our partners in effectively organizing projects and processes and assist local authorities to better assume their responsibilities.

Further information

Download and read our publications on different rural access related topics.

Partnerships, alliances and networks

Other topics that might interest you

Climate & Disaster Resilience

Every year, we support over 1,000,000 people in adapting to climate change, reducing the risks of disasters, sustainably managing natural resources, and conserving nature.

WASH & Water Governance

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.

Education and Vocational Skills

Lack of education perpetuates inequality because poor countries cannot compete economically without a skilled workforce.