© 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. Helvetas provides technical assistance to an SDC project that helps some 1,000,000 people every year to get better access to markets, schools, and hospitals in Nepal.

Why rural access matters

What comes to our mind when we think about supporting the poor? Helping them to acquire education, grow and market crops, build hospitals? Very often, however, the problem is not the absence of schools, markets, and medical facilities. It is the access to them that is the challenge. In Nepal, Helvetas has a long history of providing technical assistance for the construction of trail bridges under an SDC project, Trail Bridge Support Unit.

The construction of trail bridges means that children have a safe journey to school, farmers can access markets, and the sick can visit a doctor before it’s too late. Rural communities no longer have to risk their lives crossing rivers and gorges, or be stranded without access to vital resources and services.

© Helvetas/Flurina Rothenberger
«I get lots of business thanks to the bridge. But the most important thing to me is that my children now have a safe route to school.»

Amritha Bhandari, mother and owner of a snack bar by the Ranighat suspension bridge, Hariharpur, Nepal

Our work

Helvetas believes that efficient transport infrastructure is key to breaking the cycle of poverty. We improve the capacity of local communities to construct roads and bridges and empower local governments and other stakeholders to improve rural access.

In the past five years the collaboration between SDC, the government of Nepal and Helvetas has helped over 5,000,000 people gain improved access to schools, markets and hospitals thanks to trail bridges.

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

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