© Helvetas / Narendra Shrestha

South-South Cooperation Unit

© Helvetas / Narendra Shrestha

Context and brief history

Helvetas Nepal holds extensive experience and expertise, developed over more than fourty years, in building trail bridges in Nepal. Many countries showed their interest to learn from that experience and subsequently approached Helvetas Nepal. These included Bhutan, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mozambique, Tanzania, Laos, Vietnam and Indonesia. In order to respond to such requests Helvetas Nepal initiated south-south cooperation through an informal unit known as South-South Cooperation Unit (SSCU). Helvetas Nepal holds extensive experience and expertise, developed over more than forty years, in building trail bridges in Nepal. Many countries showed their interest to learn from that experience and subsequently approached Helvetas Nepal.

Implementation strategy

SSCU works through pre-defined terms of reference signed with partner countries. The scope of the support varies with the recipient country's need. The support rendered has varied from reconnaissance trips to designing of trail bridges, to capacity building of the partners, to establishing entire trail bridge programmes, to providing technical assistance during the entire life cycle phase.

Stakeholders and partners

SSCU works with any government, non-government and private organization. Few examples are International Labor Organization, Helvetas country offices, SNV, African Development Bank etc.


As a unit for technology transfer, SSCU can provide its service anywhere in the world as deemed necessary. Until now, the coverage includes Tanzania, Mozambiques, Ethiopia, Honduras, Guatemala, Switzerland, Laos, Vietnam, China (Tibet), Bhutan and Burundi. 

© Helvetas/Narendra Shrestha
Many children have a very dangerous way to school.... © Helvetas/Narendra Shrestha
© Helvetas / Narendra Shrestha
... but continually more and more trail bridges has been built and children go to school easy. © Helvetas / Narendra Shrestha
© Helvetas
Thanks to a trail bridge in a remote places in Nepal this woman has access to  the market for selling her products. © Helvetas
© Helvetas
Nepali in their beginnings of being trail bridge experts. © Helvetas
© Helvetas/ Hanspeter Bundi
Nepali engineer exchange his experiences  in trail bridge construction with his Ethiopian colleagues. © Helvetas/ Hanspeter Bundi
© Helvetas/Hanspeter Bundi
Ethiopian and Nepali engineer exchange about trail bridge construction © Helvetas/Hanspeter Bundi
© Helvetas/Flurina Rothenberger
Nepali children crossing thanks to a trail bridge safely a river.  © Helvetas/Flurina Rothenberger


SSCU aims to transfer knowledge and technology to the south nations in the areas where it excels. Though this initiative has been limited to trail bridges until now, the Helvetas Nepal has developed excellences in other areas such as Water Use Master Plan, Rapid Market Appraisal for Skills Development, Farmer-managed Irrigation Systems etc. that can be included under South-South Cooperation support packages based on the demand by partner countries and organisations.

Present status

SSCU provided support to the International Labor Organization in Indonesia for construction of bridges in Aceh. Continuous support has been rendered to Helvetas Ethiopia since 2008 in developing its trail bridge programme, implementing bridges and enhancing the local capacity. Technical support was also provided to Guatemala and Honduras on quality assessment of the constructed bridges and review of bridge building manuals. Ongoing engagements include a technical assistance to SNV/DFID through Nepal Market Development Programme (SAMARTH) and Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council (KCAMC) for construction of seven bridges along the Great Himalayan Trail in Eastern Nepal, technical and implementation support to construct seven trail bridges to Burundi funded by African Development Bank; Of the 7 bridges, 6 already completed and 1 is near to completion, and technical support has been rendered to Helvetas Laos for design training and designing tractorable bridges with technical assistance through-out the implementation phase to follow.

Further information

Ansu Tumbahangfe                                                          Director                                                                                    South South Cooperation Unit (SSCU) 

Bakhundole, Lalitpur
Hasapota Marg
GPO 688 Kathmandu, Nepal

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

© Helvetas / Christian Bobst
Etiopía Agricultura sostenible

Puentes colgantes: accesos al mundo

© Helvetas
Guatemala Agricultura sostenible

Proyecto A'jín - Puentes Peatonales

Bolivia Economías sostenibles inclusivas

Papas Nativas

© Helvetas/Simon B.Opladen
Burkina Faso Agricultura sostenible

Un camino para cambiar la vida del pueblo

© Helvetas / Narendra Shrestha

Economías sostenibles e inclusivas

El crecimiento económico no siempre beneficia a los pobres y la pobreza impide el crecimiento. Debemos esforzarnos de manera proactiva para detener este círculo vicioso.

How we work

We support our partners to become organized and train local authorities to assume responsibilities. That ensures continuity of successful project interventions.

Partenariados y desarrollo de capacidades

El cambio sostenible debe estar en manos de actores nacionales. El partenariado es un principio fundamental del trabajo de Helvetas.