Poverty rate*15% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
UN DEVELOPMENT INDEX*Rank: 143 out of 191
People supported per year1,104,012
Thematic focusEducation and Vocational Skills
WASH & Water Governance
Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion
Private Sector Development
Gender & Social Equity
Climate & Disaster Resilience
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.
Our Projects in Nepal
If you would like to know more about our work in Nepal, click on each project for details.