© 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. Every year, we help around 1,000,000 people get better access to markets, schools, and hospitals.

Why rural access matters

What comes to our mind when we think about supporting the poor? Helping them to grow crops, acquire education, build hospitals? Very often, however, the problem is not the absence of crops, schools, and medical facilities. It is the access to them that is the challenge.

Lack of bridges and roads means that children have to skip school, farmers lose crops to pests before they can access markets, and the sick visit a doctor when it’s too late. Rural communities either have to risk their lives crossing rivers and gorges, or are 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 Helvetas has helped over 5,000,000 people gain improved access to schools, hospitals, and markets thanks to bridges and roads.

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

Water

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.

Selected Projects: Rural Access