© Helvetas


It all started in Nepal: Helvetas went operational in 1956 in the Himalayas. What began as small-scale aid to dairy and alpine farming has since become a multifaceted program in Nepal, funded through a variety of sources. Helvetas is entrusted with providing technical assistance to different SDC projects, and works closely with Nepal’s federal, provincial and municipal governments in activities such as tourism trail development, skills training for young people, improving crop yields of smallholder farmers and enabling safer migration.
© Helvetas
  • Capital
  • Area
    147,181 km²
  • Poverty rate*
    15% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
    Rank: 143 out of 191
  • Population
  • People supported per year
  • Thematic focus
    Education and Vocational Skills
    WASH & Water Governance
    Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion
    Private Sector Development
    Gender & Social Equity
    Rural Access
    Climate & Disaster Resilience
* Source: UN Data

Helvetas started its operation in Nepal in 1956. A lot has changed since then in this landlocked country: over 8000 suspended footbridges attest today to the productive cooperation between Switzerland and Nepal. But providing technical advice on building bridges is only one of Helvetas’ 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 farmers managed irrigation systems. We plan and execute these works together with the local municipalities, locally available service providers and community groups in the socially, economically and geographically deprived population. The skilled work involved is carried out by local craftsmen. So the projects create new jobs.

New farming methods to increase productivity

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 and land poor is to grow vegetables in seasonally dried-out riverbeds. Our strategic focus in the plain area has been in commercial agriculture such as the cultivation and marketing of bananas and medicinal herbs;  organic coffee production by small farmers in marginal land in the mid hills; and nuts (mainly walnuts) in the high mountain regions so that farmers not only contribute to the aim of their self-sufficiency but also export their products in the international niche markets.

Vocational training for young people

Many young people in Nepal still have little confidence in business or trade and can find no jobs 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 as part of a SDC project. 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.

Enabling safer migration

Migration is a key dynamic in Nepali society. Four million Nepalis work abroad and send home more than CHF. 5.4 billion a year. These remittances constitute the equivalent of one-third of Nepal’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) and significantly contribute to reducing poverty in Nepal. But despite its possible benefits, migration still poses many risks. Migrants can be subject to very high recruitment fees, exploitation, and/or the confiscation of their identity documents. Women are particularly vulnerable, either when migrating or when left behind and being responsible for the running of the household. They often face prejudices and social stigma.The Safer Migration Project (SaMi) is an SDC project working on reducing the risks and maximizing the development impact of labour migration. Since its inception, it has been testing models for increased awareness and information on migration and supporting migrants and families with pre-departure skills trainings, financial literacy training, legal/paralegal support and psycho-social support.


Visit the website of Helvetas Nepal.

The country programme in Nepal is co-funded by the SDC programme contribution.

Our Projects in Nepal

 If you would like to know more about our work in Nepal, click on each project for details.

© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
Nepal Private Sector Development

Riverbed Vegetables

© Helvetas
Nepal WASH & Water Governance

A Fair Share of the Water

© Helvetas / Patrick Rohr
Nepal Climate & Disaster Resilience

Fresh Start after the Earthquake

© Helvetas
Nepal Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Making Labor Migration an Informed Choice

© Helvetas
Nepal Education and Vocational Skills

Safer Houses, and Skills for Future Employment

© Water for food
Global Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Tackling Corruption in the Water Sector

© Helvetas
Nepal Climate & Disaster Resilience

Green economic development in Nepal

Nepal Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Support for returning migrant workers

Multimedia stories from Nepal

Changing Perspectives

Exercising his profession for a week in another country and getting to know the everyday life of his colleagues: this dream came true for four young plumbers from Switzerland and Nepal.

Daulima is Building her Future

One year after the earthquake in Nepal, Daulima is fighting for a new home.

The Rise of the Shahi Family

The history of the Sahi family shows that real change is possible. Not overnight, but from generation to generation.

Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

In many countries where we work, men and women are unable to claim their rights and participate actively in decision-making processes.

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.

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.

Bakhundole, Lalitpur
Hasapota Marg
GPO 688 Kathmandu, Nepal

Phone:+977 1 542 49 26
E-Mail: co.np@helvetas.org