- Rural Access
- Skills Development & Education
- Governance & Peace
- Sustainable & Inclusive Economies
- Environment & Climate Change
- Emergency Response
Where we work
Helvetas started working in the field in 1956 in Nepal. A lot has changed since then in this landlocked country: over 7000 suspended footbridges attest today to the productive cooperation between Switzerland and Nepal. But building infrastructure is only one of Helvetas’s strengths in Nepal. Our water projects show local communities better ways to protect and make the most of their water resources, including everything from supplying clean drinking water to building latrines and simple but efficient irrigation methods. We plan and execute these works together with the local population. The skilled work involved is carried out by local craftsmen. So the projects create new jobs.
Most of the rural population still farm for a living. But there is a lack of investment and, in the dry season, a shortage of water. The harvest often only barely suffices for the family to pull through. With Helvetas' support, small farmers develop new methods of cultivation and soil conservation – methods which, in turn, increase their crop yields. The families can then sell some surplus at the market. One opportunity for the landless is to grow vegetables in seasonally dried-out riverbeds. Now that they’ve switched to organic farming, coffee growers are even tapping national and international markets.
Many young people in Nepal have learned no trade and can find no work as a result. Hundreds of thousands of laborers migrate to India, Malaysia and the Gulf States, where they are poorly paid and often discriminated against. By providing information about the risks and opportunities of migration, Helvetas prepares young people for going to work abroad. On the other hand, the organization also offers them an alternative at home in Nepal: in compact courses adapted to the demands of the current job market, they can learn skills that have a future. We support these young trainees in their entry into the labor market until they find a job or have their own micro-business up and running under their own steam.
Our recent efforts in Nepal also address the risks of natural disasters, such as the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015. Over 9000 people lost their lives and some 600,000 their homes. Helvetas provided emergency response in the immediate aftermath of the quake and has since been actively involved in rebuilding the country. Thousands of construction specialists receive training in quake-resistant building methods. Helvetas builds dwellings with toilets for families particularly hard hit by the disaster. We also work on restoring the water supply and rebuilding processing facilities and small-scale irrigation systems for coffee cooperatives and schools so that a kind of normal life can gradually resume in Nepal.
If you would like to know more about our work in Nepal, click on each project for details.