Individuals served in 2017: 10,865
- Population: Over 29.3 million
- Urbanization: 19.4 percent live in cities
- Life expectancy: 71 years
- Unemployment rate: 3.3 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 25.2 percent
Source: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in Nepal
Habitat for Humanity began working in Nepal in 1997. By 2005, Habitat Nepal helped 830 families directly build homes. In a strategic decision to increase the number of households served, Habitat Nepal began to work in partnership with non-government organisations, particularly microfinance institutions and village savings groups to provide housing loans to low-income families. By June 2011, Habitat Nepal celebrated its 10,000th family served and by April 2015 when the earthquake hit, more than 54,000 Nepali families had been helped to address their shelter needs.
The housing need in Nepal
According to government data unveiled in 2017, 391,000 people — about 23 percent of Nepal’s population — live below the poverty line. Based on the last government census conducted in 2011, 49 percent of the population lives in substandard housing. The housing need was compounded by the 2015 earthquakes that affected more than 30 districts and the flooding in August 2017 that caused devastation in 35 districts. As of May 2018, only about 20 percent of the nearly 800,000 houses damaged or destroyed by the earthquakes have been repaired or rebuilt while the reconstruction of more than 190,000 homes affected by the flood is yet to begin.
How Habitat addresses the need in Nepal
Following natural disasters, Habitat Nepal’s goal is to help families not only rebuild durable homes but also to return to schools, jobs and communities that can help them create a pathway to permanence. Since its earthquake response began in 2015, Habitat Nepal has helped more than 45,800 affected families through a wide variety of shelter assistance and training. In April 2018, to mark the third anniversary of the 2015 earthquakes, Habitat Nepal publicly reaffirmed its commitment to working with affected communities and government institutions to step-up housing reconstruction among the most vulnerable families. In districts affected by 2017’s widespread flooding, Habitat has built over 1,300 temporary shelters by January 2018. Habitat is also raising more funds to build permanent shelters for thousands of flood-affected families in the East and West.
In January 2017, Habitat Nepal launched a new five-year program with the approval of the Government of Nepal. The Chhana Program (“chhana” in Nepal means “roof”) is implemented in 10 districts, and consists of four pillars of integrated activities:
Through training in the Participatory Approach to Safe Shelter Awareness, Habitat Nepal enables community members to identify and mitigate their shelter-related risks.
By customizing training for local builders and homeowners, Habitat increases their knowledge of safer construction techniques and greater compliance with Nepal’s building code.
Such assistance is provided in the form of small grants, goods-in-kind or volunteer labor, to households or community-identified projects based on the level of need, availability of funding, government guidelines and the local community’s recommendation.
Working with market actors
Habitat Nepal works with market actors to increase the supply of sustainable, low-cost building materials such as bamboo and compressed stabilized earth blocks while creating livelihoods for those who produce such materials in affected communities.