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 in various countries 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.
Amritha Bhandari, mother and owner of a snack bar by the Ranighat suspension bridge, Hariharpur, Nepal
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 the collaboration between SDC, the government of Nepal and Helvetas has helped over 5,000,000 people gain improved access to schools, markets and hospitals thanks to trail bridges.
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.