Nepal is one of the poorest countries in Asia. About a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line. The vast majority of people earn their livelihood through agriculture. Many people from the Nepalese countryside move abroad for work, especially to India. This has resulted in a host of problems, including human trafficking.
Finn Church Aid’s (FCA) efforts in Nepal focus on strengthening the rights of poor and socially excluded women and children, improving their opportunities for earning a livelihood, and ensuring the realization of human rights. The work also includes improving preparedness for natural disasters. The development programme is implemented in cooperation with local NGOs and organised village communities.
Population: 29.7 million
Languages: Nepali (official), more than 120 listed mother languages
Religions: Hindu 81.3 %, Buddhist 9 %, Muslim 4.4 %, Kirant 3.1 %, Christian 1.4 %, other
FCA in Nepal: since 2013
people received a one-month supply of food and soap to alleviate the food shortage and health crisis caused by Covid-19.
people received assistance for starting up a business or keeping an existing business running.
events hosted with the objective of improving the rights of women and minorities.
Strenghtening the economic status of the most vulnerable
FCA continued the promotion of inclusive and sustainable economic development that provides people in vulnerable situations, particularly women and youth with increased opportunities for a decent living. Support for small-scale income generation to creation of enterprises and cooperatives, access to affordable finance for sustained business growth continued to be one of the cornerstones.
In 2020, several activities were conducted in FCA working districts contributing to the people in vulnerable situations to strengthen their economic status through inclusive and sustainable development approaches and programmes.
Linking Learning to Earning (LL2E) approach has proved to be an effective framework for ensuring employment and livelihood outcomes after vocational education. Entrepreneurship continued to gain importance in 2020 where Women’s Bank has been supporting women’s saving and credit cooperatives since 2009. While rural on-farm income diversification and farming as a business remained the mainstay, notable steps were taken in non-farm business creation and leading to improved earnings.
To ensure that marginalized students/children enjoy their right to education, FCA and partners supported to operate the Community Managed Coaching Classes (CMCC). 400 children from the marginalized communities participated in the CMCC and were able to continue with their education. The classes are being managed and overlooked by the women’s groups. After COVID-19 these classes could not operate.
Despite the difficult situation created by COVID-19 pandemic, FCA was able to reach 637 RHs through various short-term vocational/SIYB trainings, and 435 marginalised students with educational material support.
Raising awareness among the students on the social issue of Caste-Based Discrimination (CBD) and inclusion reached 2,150 students in 23 schools in 2020. These events have boosted morale of Dalits, thereby created enabling environment at schools.
Peace and meaningful participation
In 2020, a total of 123 events were conducted to address the issues concerning to women, Dalits, ex-bonded labourers and marginalised ethnic groups. These events resulted in some visible changes in the communities and policies positively affecting the target groups. Some outcomes of the events are: access to citizenship certificates, cash grants and land allotment, and commitments received from local and provincial governments and political leaders to reduce caste-based discrimination, rehabilitate of ex-bonded labourers, economic recovery of the returnee migrant labourers and reduce gender-based violence.
FCA also supported to provide space for meaningful participation and influence in decision-making in society for marginalised groups. Hence, our efforts are focused on improving economic status reducing Caste-Based Discrimination by restoring dignity and environment of non-discrimination, through improving effective participation and access to services and justice.
Gender equality, Climate Change and Adaptation, and Disability Inclusion are significantly prioritized throughout our programme implementation.
Covid-19 severely affected the most vulnerable
Nepal’s economy has been severely affected by covid-19 pandemic. Vulnerable groups such as women, children, marginalised ethnic groups and castes, people with disabilities have become increasingly vulnerable since the pandemic started. Many such groups are pushed further into poverty due to the vast economic impact covid-19 has had in Nepal related to the long lockdown, lack of tourism, and an almost complete shutdown of the hospitality sector.
Due to covid-19, children in many parts of Nepal have fallen behind in education, especially in the rural areas, and this is coupled with a higher risk of child marriages and child labour. In response, FCA Nepal Country Programme under Right to Education provided educational material support to the marginalized students in the target communities, which helped students continue their education even during the pandemic. In addition, various short-term vocational and Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) trainings were conducted targeting the marginalized target groups, which were made possible by using the virtual platforms.