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Habitat for Humanity Nepal

Country Profile

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Habitat for Humanity started working in Nepal in 1997. In the eight years to 2005, Habitat for Humanity Nepal helped 830 families to build decent housing. In a strategic decision to increase its impact, HFH Nepal began to leverage on partnerships with non-government organizations, microfinance institutions, and village lending and savings groups. In June 2011, HFH Nepal celebrated its 10,000th family served and by mid-2014, more than 54,000 families have been helped. Learn more at

The housing need in Nepal

At least 40,000 urban housing units in Nepal are required annually between 2011 and 2021, according to a study done by UN-HABITAT at the request of the Nepali government. The 2010 study, “Nepal Urban Housing Sector Profile”, stated that soaring land prices and increasing rural-urban migration made it difficult for the poor to afford housing, especially in the fast-growing urban areas. About 10 percent of urban dwellers in Nepal are squatters and the number is set to rise.

How Habitat for Humanity works in Nepal

Habitat for Humanity Nepal works with various community level organizations in 35 districts to increase its impact by reaching out to poorer communities. The result is a cost-effective and environmental-friendly housing program delivered through partnerships with non-government organizations, microfinance institutions, and village lending and savings groups. HFH Nepal also aims to make a difference through partnerships with the government and celebrity ambassadors. Special events such as Habitat Youth BUILD, Everest Build, and Scouts Build help to raise awareness of the need for decent housing. Together with its partners, HFH Nepal is currently building 2.3 houses per hour.

Strengthening of female-headed households

This project is currently in the second phase and aims to help female-headed households to upgrade their houses, improve their water and sanitation facilities, and maintain good personal hygiene. Families also form savings groups and learn how to boost their incomes through livelihood training. A total of 478 female-headed households in Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Saptari and Siraha districts will benefit through HFH Nepal’s partnership with local microfinance institutions.

Empowering women through sustainable housing program
Locally available construction materials such as bamboo and sun-dried bricks are promoted in all the districts where HFH Nepal works. Women home partners are also built up through training in income-generating activities and leadership, and get to learn about health and safe sanitation.

Ex-Kamaiya project

HFH Nepal’s partner MFIs provide housing loans to ex-Kamaiya, or former bonded laborers, to improve or strengthen their homes against disasters, and to gain access to safe water and sanitation. The second phase of this project in Mahendranagar will also see 437 ex-Kamaiya households being trained in income-generating activities and receiving loans to start small businesses.

Disaster response

In highly rural and predominantly agricultural Nepal, disasters such as flooding and fires leave families vulnerable. HFH Nepal promotes the use of cost-effective materials such as bamboo and sun-dried bricks in building houses that are more disaster-resilient, easier to maintain and friendlier to the environment. In March 2014, HFH Nepal distributed more than 80 emergency shelter kits comprising bamboo poles and mats to families who lost their homes in a fire in Sunsari district.

Country Facts

Capital: Kathmandu

Population: 31 million (July 2014 est.)

Urbanization: 17 percent live in cities (2011)

Life expectancy: 67 years

Unemployment rate: 46 percent (2008)

Population living below poverty line: 25.2 percent (2011 est.)

Access to improved water sources: 88.1 percent (2012 est.)

Access to improved sanitation facilities: 36.7 percent (2012 est.)

Sources: World Factbook