Nepal -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
HOME TO T H E MA J E S T I C Mount Everest, landlocked Nepal is also one of the poorest countries in the world. The majority of Nepalese live in villages and are dependent on agriculture, but severe floods, landslides and earthquakes threaten homes, fields and livestock.
A lack of employment and poverty has forced one in 10 of the rural population to migrate to the capital Kathmandu and other municipalities. A decade-long rebel insurgency has also driven people from villages to the cities in search of safety. Migration and urban growth have resulted in shortage of adequate housing in towns and cities, crowded living spaces and the growth of sub-standard housing. According to government data, nearly 430,000 families live in sub-standard housing.
Sub-standard housing frequently means structures with thatched roofs and straw walls, sometimes supported by pillars made of bamboo or old timber. Water is often unsanitary and few dwellings have toilets or electricity. These dilapidated houses are also a fire risk; nearly 10,000 families lose their homes to fire every year.
Habitat for Humanity began its work in 1997, but since mid-2005, activities have been organized as a branch of the Habitat for Humanity International.
Habitat’s work is focused mainly in eastern Nepal where it has partnerships with World Vision International and with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Samjhauta Nepal, which has a network of microfinance institutional partners, and Samuhik Hatemalo Sewa Samuha, a former Habitat affiliate that is now an independent NGO. Habitat’s other NGO partners in Nepal include the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, SOS Children’s Village and the Canadian Architects’ Legacy Fund, and Lumanti.
Habitat also partners microfinance institutions (MFI) to build houses using the Save & Build and Build in Stages housing microfinance models. MFI partners include co-operative bank Sahara Nepal, Nari Bikash Sangh, an NGO that is involved in the empowerment of rural poor and disadvantaged women, and village banks through Samjhauta Nepal’s links.
Each core house, 26 sq. m. in size, is constructed using cost-effective bamboo and “green” bricks. In Nepal, indigenous bamboo is suitable for use in house construction as it grows fast, is easy to use, environmentally friendly and durable. Bamboo can be used as poles, doors, windows, mats for wall and ceiling, and fence-posts. “Green” bricks are made of clay and unlike bricks burnt with firewood; they do not contribute to air pollution. The rural community can turn to growing and harvesting bamboo, and making “green” bricks as income-generating activities.
Each home partner family contributes sweat equity, or their own labor, in building their own house as well as those of others. Families also provide raw materials to reduce the loan they have to repay. The mortgage loan repayment period is less than three years and repayment averages US$7 per month.
Nepal has traditionally been a favorite destination for Global Village volunteer teams.
- In 2007, HFH Nepal initiated a program to assist 850 families in partnership with World Vision International.
- In a joint project with SOS Children’s Village, through NGO Samuhik Hatemalo Sewa Samuha, HFH Nepal is set to serve 100 houses through a family strengthening program in Ithari village, Sunsari district, in southeastern Nepal. This project is funded by the Canadian Architects’ Legacy Fund.
- Habitat signed a memorandum of understanding with Lumanti to upgrade 100 slum homes within Kathmandu.
- In November 2006, Habitat celebrated 1,500th house built with a dedication ceremony in the tea plantation town of Ilam district, eastern Nepal. Guests included representatives of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Nepal, US Embassy in Nepal, SOS Children’s Village and 12 representatives from the Canadian Architects’ Legacy Fund.
- Habitat completed 413 houses and is building 35 houses under construction in Jhapa, eastern Nepal, in partnership with Samjhauta Nepal.
- Partnering with the Adventist Development and Relief Aid Agency (ADRA), Habitat constructed 177 houses and is building another 29 houses in Kavre, close to Kathmandu Valley.
- In a tie-up with Samuhik Hatemalo Sewa Samuha, an NGO, Habitat completed 98 houses and is building another 45 houses in Jhapa district, eastern Nepal.
Population: 28.9 million (July 2007 est.)
Area: 147,181 sq. km
Ethnic groups: Chhettri 15.5%, Brahman-Hill 12.5%, Magar 7%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.5%, Newar 5.4%, Muslim 4.2%, Kami 3.9%, Yadav 3.9%, others 32.7%, unspecified 2.8% (2001 census)
Languages: Nepali 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census)
Religions: Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)
Updated June 2007