With a population of almost 30 million, Nepal is one of the world’s 40 least developed countries, ranked 157th out of 187 in the 2011 UN Human Development Index. An estimated 55% of the Nepalese population live below the poverty line with 37% considered to be living in severe poverty.
We work to reduce poverty in Nepal and improve the well-being of vulnerable people by strengthening their participation in development and governance processes, and pushing for economic, social, institutional, and policy change.
Poverty in Nepal
Dominated by the Himalayas, with 9 of the world’s 14 highest mountains, Nepal is a land of more than 60 ethnic groups speaking over 110 dialects. The main drivers of poverty and vulnerability are:
- Discrimination and exclusion of women and minority groups.
- The slow progress in improving essential services and livelihoods for the poorest and most isolated.
- Weak governance and government institutions.
- High vulnerability to disasters.
Despite undergoing a political and constitutional transition, there have been considerable gains in Nepal’s development and there is now a greater recognition of Nepal’s needs with a commitment to a much more equitable and inclusive future. Women and minority groups are prioritized for representation in parliament and key policies place emphasis on the empowerment and voice at both national and local level.
Oxfam in Nepal
Oxfam has been working in Nepal since the 1980s, addressing the poverty and injustice faced by women and other socially excluded groups through a variety of projects. Since the restoration of democracy in 1990 it has become easier for civil society to work in the new political environment, and our work in Nepal has been able to increase substantially. Our focus now is on:
- Promoting gender justice and minority rights.
- Partnering with local civil society organizations and the government to promote rural livelihoods, and vulnerable communities’ resilience to climatic shocks and disasters.
- Empowering communities and people, especially women, to negotiate with people in power, influence decision making processes, claim rights and essential services.