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Nepal has achieved remarkable social, economic and democratic progress during 60-plus years of U.S. partnership. School enrollment has increased markedly and the maternal mortality rate has declined drastically. Yet significant challenges remain and threaten this young, fragile democracy's stability, including stagnant economic growth, high malnutrition among children, acute food shortages, substantial vulnerability to natural disasters and natural resource degradation exacerbated by climate change. The caste system and historically regressive gender norms have made women and marginalized groups worse off than others. Linked to all these challenges — and particularly critical as Nepal continues its democratic transition, most recently passing a new constitution in 2015 — is the issue of governance, one of the country's most pressing.
Working to address these challenges, USAID partners with Nepal on three of the U.S. Government's major development initiatives: the Feed the Future, Global Climate Change and Global Health initiatives. Across all sectors, USAID focuses on key cross-cutting issues, such as gender equality and disaster risk reduction, as well as on improving the Government of Nepal’s capacity to effectively and accountably deliver services to traditionally marginalized groups.
- USAID has trained more than 500 Nepalis as medical first responders and in collapsed structure search and rescue, which saved lives during the immediate aftermath of the disastrous April 2015 earthquake.
- With USAID assistance, Nepal completed its first nationally representative Early Grade Reading Assessment — the first step to improving literacy among the next generation.
- USAID strengthened the ability of nearly 800 justice sector officials to combat human trafficking, which led to an increase in prosecutions and convictions over the previous year.
Agriculture, Food Security, and Economic Growth
More than 75 percent of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihoods, but low productivity and limited market access negatively impact economic growth, fueling the outmigration of young men. Targeting one million vulnerable Nepali people, USAID improves agricultural productivity and increases incomes through expanded access to quality seeds, credit and other inputs, market linkages, and training on modern farming practices. Other efforts address agriculture policy reform and the trade and investment climate to improve Nepal’s business environment.
Health, Family Planning, and Education
USAID supports the Government of Nepal’s efforts to provide quality basic health services to its citizens. Our assistance takes interventions proven to reduce deaths of mothers and children and expands these practices across the country. USAID programs reach an estimated 7.1 million people with support in the areas of nutrition; family planning and reproductive health; maternal, neonatal and child health; water and sanitation; HIV and AIDS; and support for disabled people.
Following a history of achievements in early childhood education, USAID emphasizes improving early grade reading as the foundation for future learning. Working with the Ministry of Education, USAID’s new education project targets one million students in grades one through three to become better readers. After the April 2015 earthquake, USAID supports Nepal in resuming education services by establishing temporary and transitional learning centers and providing learning and recreational materials and gender-sensitive toilet facilities for school-age children in the most affected districts.
Biodiversity and Global Climate Change
USAID works to reduce threats to Nepal's great biodiversity in critical areas and to help the poorest and most vulnerable build the resilience they need to thrive in the face of a changing climate. In the past four years, USAID has enabled over 400,000 such people to adapt their livelihoods to the changing conditions and sustainably manage their natural resources.
Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance
USAID promotes good governance by helping key institutions, like the Election Commission, parliament and political parties, become more democratic, effective and inclusive. At the local level, USAID builds productive relationships between government, citizens and civil society by strengthening the local development planning process and improving government’s ability to respond to community demands. We provide anti-human trafficking support in the areas of prevention, prosecution and protection to civil society organizations and at all levels of government, including the justice sector. USAID also provides assistance to the world’s only government-led, post-conflict trust fund: the Nepal Peace Trust Fund, which supports conflict-affected people, transitional justice, reconciliation, security, elections and other peacebuilding initiatives.
Last updated: April 25, 2016