Individuals served in FY20: 109,170
- Through new construction –7,500
- Through incremental building –480
- Through repairs –240
- Through market development –100,950
Volunteers engaged in FY20: 823
- Population: nearly 30 million
- Life expectancy: 66.6 years
- Unemployment rate: 11.4%
- Population living below poverty line: 25.2%
Source: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in Nepal
Habitat Nepal, established in 1997, has served over 70,000 households and built a network of valued local partners through which it implements its housing programs. Since 2015, reconstruction has been the primary focus of Habitat Nepal, directing funding and technical support to the earthquake-affected central region, followed by shelter initiatives in the flood-devastated lowlands of the East and West. In line with its new strategic plan, Habitat Nepal will develop programs, build institutional capacity and raise funds with tithing Habitat affiliates in the U.S. to make the transition from a primarily disaster-reconstruction operation to a portfolio of projects that address Nepal’s shelter needs more comprehensively and sustainably.
The housing need in Nepal
Nepal is among the least developed countries in the world, with a quarter of its population living below the international poverty line. In the rural and peri-urban areas where Habitat for Humanity Nepal works, most families live on insecure day wages as farm or construction laborers.
The marginalized ethnic groups in Provinces 1 and 2 in the East and Province 7 in the West live in huts with walls of untreated bamboo thatch plastered with mud and cow dung. The roofing is typically made of mud tiles, hay, or plastic sheets. During the monsoon season, mud floors would become damp or moldy, affecting families’ health and the huts’ lifespan. Rats, snakes and insects that get in also endanger safety and health. A national census in 2011 showed half of the houses in Nepal were not durable or did not meet technical standards for safe housing.
How Habitat addresses the need in Nepal
Since 2005 Habitat Nepal has been implementing its programs through local partners who share the vision of safe, decent shelter for all Nepali families. These local nongovernmental organizations and microfinance institutions multiply Habitat’s impact through their broad outreach to marginalized communities, leveraged loan capital for housing, and holistic development approaches. Together with its partners, Habitat Nepal specializes in the following services:
• Promoting safe shelter designs and technologies.
• Researching and developing market-based housing solutions.
• Advocating with local and federal government entities to direct resources to address the shelter needs of highly vulnerable groups.
• Mobilizing international volunteers and local youth to raise awareness and support for housing needs in Nepal.
Unlocking government funds for housing
Habitat Nepal partners with the Government of Nepal to unlock multiple government housing funds for low-income families, marginalized groups and disaster-affected people. Habitat provides technical support, mobilizes partners and community members, and helps the most vulnerable through top-up financial support to reduce home construction costs.
Building affordable housing markets
Habitat Nepal collaborates with microfinance institutions to strengthen their housing loan portfolios. This enables many low-income rural families who are underserved by existing financial markets to access housing credit more easily. Habitat Nepal promotes affordable housing solutions utilizing locally available, environmentally friendly materials such as bamboo.
Promoting women’s land rights
Although the Government of Nepal has stepped up efforts in recent years to promote gender equality in its property laws, the rights of a married woman to claim her husband’s property remain unclear unless her name is registered in the title. To protect women from being evicted from their marital home in the event of separation, divorce or their husbands’ deaths, Habitat Nepal is promoting the joint registration of both husbands’ and wives’ names in property titlesor any occupancy rights documents issued by the government.
Appropriate construction materials and technology
The cost of building materials is among the obstacles to home ownership among low-income families. Through orientation and awareness raising events, Habitat Nepal encourages families to adopt affordable and environmentally sustainable building materials such as bamboo, stone-creteand rat-trap wall system. Habitat Nepal’s housing designs are also featured on the government’s list as being suitable for earthquake and flood-prone areas in the country. Habitat’s projects typically include vocational trainings, market research and market development for appropriate construction housing materials.