Nepal, nestled in the Himalayan mountains between India and China, is an important long-term partner for the US, and critical to regional stability and connectivity. USAID is Nepal’s oldest development partner. Our economic and social partnership not only builds a more equitable, prosperous, and democratic Nepal, but a more stable region as well.
Though Nepal has one of the slowest growing economies in Asia, the country continues to make steady progress in overcoming its development challenges. USAID partners with the Government of Nepal (GoN) and local organizations to boost food security, expand and broaden economic growth, sustainably manage natural resources, improve quality health care and education systems, bolster democratic governance, and strengthen its capacity to mitigate and respond to natural disasters. Three themes are at the core of USAID’s work, critical for Nepal’s development: supporting federalism; promoting inclusion; and strengthening institutions and resilience.
DEMOCRATIC AND FEDERAL SYSTEMS
After elections in 2008, Nepal enacted a new constitution in 2015, which included a federal structure of government designed to devolve power and authority to 753 local governments and seven provinces. To strengthen this nascent democracy, USAID promotes citizen participation and government effectiveness and accountability. USAID partners with the GoN, federal parliamentary legislative committees, political parties, civil society organizations, and the general public to strengthen democratic principles, protect and promote fundamental freedoms, and further Nepal’s transition to federalism. This includes mentoring local leaders in their new roles, supporting local organizations to promote citizen participation in decision-making; supporting free and fair elections; and building public financial systems that reduce corruption, and support victims of human trafficking.
INCLUSIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH
USAID’s goal is to unlock constraints to broad-based economic growth and spur increased trade, investment, and competitiveness, creating greater opportunity for all citizens. USAID focuses on improving the competitiveness of local businesses in new sectors. USAID also encourages the adoption of transparent economic policies that drive innovation and inclusive growth. Recognizing that GDP growth alone is not enough to create opportunities, especially for marginalized groups, USAID works to integrate underserved communities into markets and increase the likelihood for them to connect to, and benefit from new economic opportunities. In agriculture, USAID works with seed companies, farmers, and sellers to improve overall sector productivity, with the ultimate goal of ending food insecurity and significantly reducing poverty.
As one of the largest health sector donors, USAID has a strong and collaborative partnership with the GoN to improve the survival and quality of life of all Nepalis through equitable and well-governed health systems. USAID health programs employ an integrated approach to improving maternal, newborn, and child health, as well as nutrition, family planning, rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities, and HIV prevention and treatment. USAID worked closely with the GoN on the COVID-19 response - to stop the spread of the virus, save lives, and prevent the collapse of the health system, as well as to mitigate the secondary social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
USAID partners with the GoN to improve the quality of education, restore access to education for children disrupted by the 2015 earthquakes and the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide safe and relevant learning environments for adolescent girls and children with disabilities. USAID has taken a lead role in promoting early grade reading on the national education reform agenda and works closely with the GoN in rolling out a National Early Grade Reading Program.
NATURAL RESOURCES AND DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT
Long recognized by the U.S. Government as a priority country for biodiversity conservation, USAID is reducing the adverse impacts of climate change and threats to biodiversity in Nepal. USAID strengthens local community ownership and management of their resources according to international standards. Sustainably managed, Nepal’s natural resources can fuel a wide range of economic activities, which can lift Nepalis out of poverty. To counter climate change and natural disaster impacts, USAID promotes socially and environmentally responsible hydropower development, sustainable forest and water management, and wildlife conservation. USAID also works with the GoN to improve disaster preparedness, response, and mitigation capabilities - building a more sustainable natural resource base that drives inclusive economic growth for generations to come.