Individuals served in FY19: 14,720
- Through new construction –4,695
- Through incremental building –1,110
- Through repairs –325
- Through market development –8,590
Volunteers engaged in FY19: 3,875
- Population: 30.3 million
- Life expectancy: 71.8 years
- Unemployment rate: 3%
- 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 Nepal works, most families live on insecure day wages from working as farm or construction laborers.
The low-income marginalized ethnic groups in Provinces 1 and 2 live in huts with walls of untreated bamboo thatch plastered with mud and cow dung. The roofing tends to be made of mud tiles, hay, or plastic sheets. Due to the mud flooring, dampness and mold set in during the monsoon season, affecting families’ health and the huts’ lifespan. Rats, snakes and insects that get in also endanger safety and health. About half of the houses in Nepal are built with perishable materials or do not meet technical standards for safe housing, according to the 2011 national census.
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.
Housing for the vulnerable
Habitat Nepal partners with the Government of Nepal to unlock multiple government housing funds for low-income families and marginalized 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.
Access to affordable housing
Habitat Nepal collaborates with microfinance institutions to strengthen their housing microfinance portfolios. This enables many low-income rural families who are underserved by existing financial markets to access housing credit more easily..
Promoting women’s land rights
Many women in Nepal do not have secure rights to their own homes. 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 remains unclear unless her name is registered in the title. To protect married women from being evicted from their marital property 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 titles or 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 training and capacity-building, Habitat Nepal encourages families to adopt affordable and environmentally sustainable building materials such as bamboo, compressed stabilized earth bricks and in-home constructed stone-crete instead of burnt bricks. Habitat Nepal’s housing designs are also featured on the Nepal government’s list as being suitable for earthquake-and flood-prone areas in the country. Habitat’s projects typically include vocational training to increase masons’ knowledge and capacity for building disaster-resilient homes.