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Poor governance, stagnant economic growth, high malnutrition, vulnerability to disasters and climate change, and regressive caste and gender norms hinder development in Nepal. To address these challenges, USAID partners with Nepal on three U.S. presidential development initiatives: Feed the Future, Global Climate Change and Global Health. Across all sectors, USAID focuses on strengthening gender and social equality, reducing disaster risk, and working with the Government of Nepal to improve its institutional capacity, inclusiveness and accountability.
Food Security and Natural Resource Management
Although Nepal halved its extreme poverty rate over the last 15 years, it remains one of the 20 poorest countries in the world. USAID connects farmers with improved seeds and fertilizers, modern farming practices and markets to increase incomes. As a result of USAID assistance, 86,000 farm households have increased their annual vegetable yields by an average of 91 percent and their annual sales by an average of $862. USAID reduces threats to Nepal’s biodiversity through the sustainable management of forest and water resources and the conservation of select threatened species. USAID also supports the expansion of modern, high-quality hydropower services.
Health and Education
Despite major improvements in maternal and child mortality, one in 22 Nepali newborns dies before age one, and 41percent of children under-5 remain stunted. USAID supports healthy behaviors and improved health services, particularly for mothers and young children. In over half the country, USAID increased the prevalence of young children receiving a healthy diet from 23 percent to 59 percent. USAID also developed medical innovations that reduced newborn deaths by 23 percent. As primary school enrollment is high and reading skills are low, USAID partners with the Government of Nepal to support improved reading skills for one million students in grades 1 through 3 across 16 districts.
Democracy, Human Rights and Governance
Nepal enacted a new constitution in 2015. Strengthening this nascent democracy, USAID promotes citizen participation and government effectiveness and accountability. USAID’s combatting trafficking in persons efforts focus on prevention, protection and prosecution. USAID helped more than 1.7 million people–more than 10 percent of eligible voters, most of whom were women and members of marginalized groups–register to vote for the first time in the last election, which saw a record 75 percent voter turnout.
Nepal Country Profile (PDF)
Last updated: March 21, 2017