Since 2006, our work in Nepal has focused on building inclusive and empowered communities where Nepalis are able to thrive with equitable economic and social opportunities. In 2019, our services reached over 1.7 million Nepali people.
Nestled between China and India, Nepal has a population of 29.3 million people. Nepal is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, extreme weather conditions, floods, droughts, and landslides, and is still recovering from a large earthquake in 2015. Landslides, which are common during or after an earthquake, account for 25 percent of Nepal’s natural disasters. Since 2005, over 7.8 million people have been affected by natural disasters and approximately 10,000 people have been killed.
Climate change is impacting Nepal disproportionately compared to its size and contribution of greenhouse gases. Nepal is largely a mountainous country and current indications are that the mountain regions are more vulnerable due to increased warming trends and extreme changes in altitude over small distances. These alarming trends not only make Nepal's major economic sectors, such as agriculture, tourism and energy more vulnerable, but also endanger the health, safety and wellbeing of Nepali people.
One in four Nepalese people are living in poverty and only one in three Nepalese adults have their own bank account, which is less than half of the average compared to adults across the world. Remittances, money that is sent in from family members working in other countries, make up almost one third of Nepal’s entire gross domestic product.
Basic items like food are increasingly expensive and inaccessible in certain regions of Nepal. In the mountain and hill regions, food can be marked up more than twice of what it would cost in other parts of the country.
Gender and social equality is another pressing issue in Nepal. Women have a significantly lower literacy rate than men -- 44 percent compared to 71 percent. Women are often barred from making financial decisions in the home and can be forced into early marriage and motherhood. Young girls are more likely to drop out of school compared to their male counterparts, citing the pressures of both household chores and social norms.
The people of Nepal are hopeful for a better, more stable future. The federalization of Nepal’s Government system increases the decision-making power of local governments and creates more opportunity for community participation in government decision-making. Our work helps them build that future by working with communities and their existing resources to create a better world.
Since we first arrived in 2006, we have been working in Nepal to increase economic development for adults, create safe spaces for youth, and build a better life for everyone. Here are our primary focus areas:
- Disaster risk reduction
- Agriculture and food security
- Youth engagement
- Financial inclusion
- Emergency response
- Gender equality
Disaster risk reduction
We work to support disaster preparedness, early warning systems, mitigation work, and response capacity. We also support emergency relief services where local response capacity is overwhelmed.
Currently, we’re implementing programs to develop a more sustainable disaster risk reduction approach in the far-west region of Nepal. We’re focused on addressing shocks and stresses from natural disasters and climate change, including the impact of slow-onset hazards such as drought, low soil fertility, pests and diseases, increasing temperatures and seasonal changes in precipitation.
Agriculture and food security
At the end of 2019, we successfully concluded a project that helped 80,822 households in the Far Western and Mid-Western region of Nepal cope with stresses and shocks such as seasonal flooding, landslides, low water availability and disease outbreaks. The project resulted in the near elimination of household hunger. And despite frequently occurring shocks, farmers have been able to double their income and 75,000 families eat healthier diets through increased nutrition knowledge and household gardening practices.
Our STEM II project (Supporting the Education of Marginalized Girls) aims to improve life opportunities and outcomes of adolescent girls, helping them stay in school and obtain higher levels of math and literacy.
We have been working on increasing access to loans and savings for marginalized people in remote areas of Nepal and providing financial knowledge so people, including youth, can plan and invest in their futures.
We’re on the ground during emergencies, empowering people to survive crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. We work quickly to meet the urgent needs of survivors and give people the resources they need to build back even stronger. After the 2015 earthquakes, Mercy Corps and its partners distributed 23,251 relief kits and 23,048 cash transfers to 23,362 households in four of the major earthquake affected districts, reaching an estimated 114,479 people. We also built latrines to improve sanitation, repaired municipal water systems to ensure access to clean water in the worst-affected communities, and then embarked on extensive recovery and rehabilitation activities.
We promote gender equality across all of our programs, reach the most marginalized and vulnerable communities and create awareness of the issue. We aim to uplift the livelihoods of the most vulnerable households and work to strengthen social capital across diverse communities, private sector stakeholders and government institutions.
The Nepal field team is made up of 42 members; 40 are native to Nepal and have an intimate understanding of the issues facing their home country. The team consists of technical experts and managers who are stationed across three different bases.