Finland's development cooperation in Nepal
Nepal is a fragile state, and one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. In Finland’s support to Nepal the focus is on access to clean drinking water and sanitation, developing education, and improving the influence of women and other groups that are in a vulnerable position.
Country Strategy for Development Cooperation Nepal 2016-2019 (PDF, 54 pages)
In recent years Nepal has succeeded in significantly reducing extreme poverty. The new Constitution adopted by the Parliament of Nepal in autumn 2015 is an important step forward in democracy development.However, inequality among the citizens is still a serious problem that slows down the development.
As a consequence of the earthquake in spring 2015 more than one million people fell below the poverty line. In the same year the unofficial trade embargo on goods from India weakened the country’s economy considerably.
Finland plans to support Nepal by a total of EUR 51 million in 2016-2019. In addition to this, support is to be allocated via the Finnish civil society organisations.
In particular, Finland supports commercial cooperation of companies in the education and water sectors in Nepal. Experience and contacts obtained through development cooperation are to be utilised in the cooperation of companies relating to education and water. Finland also promotes the establishment of contacts between companies relating to forests and cleantech.
Efforts are made to strengthen the growing interest in commerce between Nepal and Finland by the Team Finland activity, both in Finland and Nepal. At the same time the companies are encouraged to using various commercial-economic instruments such as Finnpartnership. The Finnish-Nepalese Alumni Association functions as an important transmitter of information and creates contacts between Nepalese and Finnish companies.
Cooperation by civil society organisations
Several Finnish civil society organisations are active in Nepal, including the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission, FIDA, Finn Church Aid, Finnish Red Cross, Save the Children Finland and WWF. The budget for 2017 of the projects of the ten Finnish civil society organisation active in Nepal totalled EUR 1 million. In addition, foundations supporting development cooperation – Abilis, KIOS and Siemenpuu – support the local civil society organisations in Nepal.
The work of the civil society organisation is concerned with improving education, health, rights of the developmentally disabled and food security, as well as developing livelihoods and competence in various fields.
Finland has had development cooperation with Nepal since in 1985. Most of the Finnish projects are located in peripheral areas where there are few other helpers. Support is targeted especially to people who are in the weakest position.
- The first time when the same number of girls and boys had the chance to go to school was in 2013. Between 2009 and 2016 the access to basic education improved from 73% to 89%. Preschool has also become increasingly common: in 2009 only one out of three first graders had gone to preschool, while in 2016 two-thirds of them had a preschool background. In 2016 almost 70% of the pupils completed the basic education, which was 9% more than in 2013.
- Finland's bilateral water projects provided 55 000 people with access to clean drinking water in 2016. Over the years the water projects have contributed to organising a sustainable water supply to hundreds of thousands of Nepalese people, many of them living in very peripheral conditions. Walking to many isolated villages takes several days as there are no roads to follow.
- Sanitation has spread very effectively in Nepal, which is considered to be the best performer in South Asia in this sector. When communities become aware of the benefits of toilets, they start to build them in homes and schools using their own funding - without Finnish or Nepalese tax resources. Nearly 76% of Nepal was covered by sanitation in 2016 compared to 27% in 2001.
Operating in Nepal is highly sensitive to risks. The implementation of the new Constitution may lead to political unrest, as may the inequality between population groups. The implementation of the new federal state system and lack of competence at the local level complicate the implementation and governance of the programmes.
Natural disasters are a significant risk: floods and landslides occur on an annual basis and earthquakes are to be expected.
The risks of development cooperation are managed by means of systematic monitoring of projects and programmes, strengthening the competence of Nepal in the management of finances, and dialogue with the partners and the country’s administration. The aim is also to improve the citizens’ opportunities to influence the country’s development.
Finland continues the efforts to integrate contingency planning and work on disaster risk reduction (DRR) into all programmes and activities in Nepal. The importance of climate change adaptation is stressed especially in the Finnish water and sanitation projects.
Improving access to water and sanitation
Rural Village Water Resources Management Project RVWRMP III in the Far West, Finland’s support EUR 15 million in 2016–2021.
Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project in Western Nepal RWSSP-WN II, Finland’s support EUR 14.7 million in 2013–2019.
WASH Earthquake Recovery and Reconstruction Programme implemented by UNICEF, Finland’s support EUR 1 million in 2016.
Developing the education system
The School Sector Development Plan, Finland’s support EUR 20 million in 2016–2020. There are nine contributors to the School Sector Development Plan, with the state of Nepal covering 80% of the programme’s funding
Support to the Ministry of Education of Nepal for developing curricula and teaching materials, Finland’s support EUR 1.7 million in 2016–2019.
Strengthening equality and the rule of law
UN Women project Advancing Women's Economic Empowerment – Ensuring Nepal's Sustainable and Equitable Development, Finland’s support EUR 3.75 million in 2015–2017.
UNDP project Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights in Nepal, Finland’s support EUR 5.4 million in 2013–2017