Sustainable development is only possible if there is peace. In Nepal, Switzerland supports the integrative social and democratic development of the state and promotes a transparent and effective administration. Swiss development cooperation is active especially in the areas of rural infrastructure, food security and income generation.

Map of Nepal


Despite progress since the end of a ten-year civil war (1996–2006), the country faces enormous socio-political challenges. Chief among these are deficits in the fields of human rights, the rule of law, transitional justice and social and economic inequalities among Nepal's more than 125 different ethnic groups.

The constitution, which was adopted in September 2015, did not fully meet the expectations and demands of disadvantaged groups. This dissatisfaction resulted in protests that lasted for months and an economic blockade at the border with India. The political events and the massive earthquake in 2015 have severely slowed down economic growth. As a result, many families have again been reduced to poverty.

Nepal ranks 145th out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme. In spite of progress in fighting poverty a quarter of the population is still living below the poverty line.

Following the signing of the peace agreement in 2006, in 2008 Nepal became a secular parliamentary federal republic.

State reforms, local governance and citizen participation

Switzerland is working in Nepal to help establish properly functioning and inclusive state structures at the national and local levels. By prioritising human security, the rule of law and the protection of human rights, Switzerland is helping to combat a culture of violence, discrimination and widespread impunity.

One of Switzerland's projects supports community members, especially women, in asserting their rights vis-à-vis the local government. At the same time, the accountability of the government is increased and enforced. Switzerland is also working to improve local administrations and public services. To date approximately 60 municipalities and 4,000 villages have been able to benefit from this project.

Advocacy and Good Governance

State and economic reforms

Gender equality – gender and women's rights

Rural development and food security

Switzerland aims to improve living conditions and increase food security especially for the rural population. It is supporting the sustainable use of natural resources, such as land, water and forests, as well as the construction of roads and bridges, thus facilitating access to markets and services for the groups concerned. In addition, Switzerland is promoting vocational education and training among young women and men to enable them to find work.

Thanks to the construction of properly functioning and reliable irrigation systems and transport routes, the food security of 353,000 households, 60% of which are from disadvantaged groups, has been improved on a sustainable basis. Marginalised smallholder farmers, including many households headed by women, are benefiting from better and more reliable access to resources and are improving their crop yields and opportunities to sell their produce.

Agriculture and food security

Approach and partners

Switzerland is using a coherent and comprehensive approach to work closely with local authorities, other donor countries and international organisations such as the World Bank. Switzerland's commitment benefits the United Nations' Local Governance and Community Development Programme and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development. All programmes integrate the principles of good governance, gender equality and equality for all social and ethnic groups.

Switzerland's key partners in Nepal are:

  • Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation and AF-ITECO AG
  • The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development
  • The Local Initiative for Biodiversity, Research and Development
  • Multilateral organisations: the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development

Current projects

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Nepal: An array of measures to tackle gender-based violence

Group photo of the participants from above

01.02.2016 - 30.06.2020

Gender-based violence is a widespread problem in Nepal, and an obstacle to sustainable development. The SDC and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched a 3-year prevention and response project at the beginning of 2016. Women and girls are learning about their rights and being encouraged to report assaults. Men and boys are being encouraged to change their behaviour towards women. And duty bearers are learning to respond more rapidly and effectively. The project is already delivering first encouraging results.

Country/region Period Budget

01.02.2016 - 30.06.2020

CHF 3'743'000

Thin lines that change lives

Women carrying baskets walk on a trail bridge.

01.08.2014 - 31.07.2019

In Nepal, trail bridges are vital for rural mobility. Almost 80 of them were severely damaged or destroyed during the earthquakes of 2015, jeopardizing access to education, health services and local markets for thousands of inhabitants in the mountainous regions. The SDC joined the reconstruction efforts, basing its intervention on the long-standing expertise it has in the country. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture and Food Security
Rural infrastructure
Agriculture value-chain development
Transport policy and administrative management
Rural development

01.08.2014 - 31.07.2019

CHF 10'998'000

A vocational education and training fund for disadvantaged people in Nepal

 Eine junge nepalesische Frau arbeitet an einem Sicherungskasten.

01.01.2011 - 30.06.2020

The SDC established the Nepal Employment Fund together with the Government of Nepal and other partners to create training opportunities for young and disadvantaged people.  Training institutions fund the courses and the fund reimburses them if those receiving training find a job with a satisfactory income.  

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Vocational training and skills development
Labor market development
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development
Vocational training
Employment policy and administrative management
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development

01.01.2011 - 30.06.2020

CHF 5'996'665

Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response Project (GBV Project)

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2027

Gender-based violence is prevalent in Nepal because of patriarchal values, lack of rights awareness or support services and poor implementation of laws. In the first phase, the project will directly reach 50,000 households in three districts with GBV prevention activities involving women, girls, men and boys and will provide improved medical, psychosocial and legal services for a minimum of 1’000 GBV survivors. Subsequently, the coverage will be increased.

Planned project

Subnational Governance Program (SNGP)

16.07.2023 - 15.07.2030

The overall goal of the Program is to support the subnational governments to build sustainable, inclusive and democratic institutions that deliver services to the citizens, especially from disadvantaged groups, in an efficient and effective way and as per their constitutional mandate. The Program will be nationally coordinated government-led and implementation will mainly take place in all seven provinces and 753 local level governments of Nepal.

Planned project

Enhanced Skills for Sustainable and Reliable Employment (ENSSURE)

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2025

500’000 unskilled youths enter the Nepali labour market yearly but remain un- or underemployed as the market cannot absorb them. ENSSURE aims at enhancing gainful wage and self-employment mainly for youth of disadvantaged groups through short-/medium-term training, apprenticeship and business skills development. It will work through close public-private partnerships at national and district level of the vocational training and expand service provision to sectors of high productivity and employment.

She Leads – Women Leadership Programme

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

Federalism has created a historic opportunity for some 14’000 Nepalese women, over half of them from socially discriminated groups, to serve for the first time as elected representatives at local level. However, most elected women at local level remain excluded from political decision making due to discrimination based on patriarchal norms and values, and lack of resources and networks. The project promotes women leadership to support the peace process and to prevent future conflicts.

Planned project

State Support Programme (SSP)

01.10.2018 - 31.07.2030

Well-functioning State institutions and governance processes are key to success or failure of the new federal system in Nepal. States are a critical catalyst for identity, conflict resolution, regional development and the consolidation of the peace process. By promoting platforms for intergovern-mental cooperation and deliberative processes, and by fostering implementation capacities and the link with citizens in State 1, the program contributes to a successful federal transition in Nepal.

Migrant Rights and Decent Work (MiriDew)

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2021

Remittances sent home by over 3 million Nepali migrant workers have significantly reduced poverty. Nevertheless, the rights of migrants are regularly violated. The proposed project will enhance the Government of Nepal’s understanding of overseas labour market conditions and strengthen mechanisms to better protect the rights of Nepali workers at home and abroad through better consular support and a strong presence in the international policy dialogue.

Safer Migration (SaMI III) project

16.07.2018 - 15.07.2022

Labour migration is positively affecting Nepal’s socio-economic development with remittances significantly reducing poverty. Nevertheless, the rights of migrants are often violated. The Safer Migration project will empower migrants and their families and strengthen government protection mechanisms. The project will benefit about 600’000 men and women in three states of Nepal and enable about 60 local governments to run foreign employment services.

Motorable Local Roads Bridge Programme (MLRBP) – Phase III

01.03.2017 - 31.07.2020

MLRBP III will contribute directly to improved livelihoods of 1.2 million rural people through technical assistance in bridge building and facilitating improved access. Lack of access to services, markets and opportunities remains one of the reasons for high poverty. Bridges on local roads are critical for an all year round access for the rural poor, creating economic and social development opportunities for them, and reducing the huge economic costs they incur for travel, trade, health and farm inputs.

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