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Helvetas Nepal Profile

Helvetas: Swiss Association for International Cooperation
Helvetas was founded in 1955 as the first private organization for development cooperation in Switzerland. It is a politically and confessionally independent association with 38,000 members, 40,000 supporters and 16 honorary regional groups in Switzerland.

Helvetas is working in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Together with local partners, Helvetas promotes sustainable development oriented towards the needs of the disadvantaged population. It is based on the solidarity among people across countries. For more details download the attached information sheet “Helvetas in figures 2006”.

Helvetas Nepal
Helvetas came to Nepal in 1956. The design of the current Country Programme follows the general principles of Helvetas as an international organization. These principles are shortly described in the Helvetas Cube.  




Helvetas has four Working Areas of expertise. In Nepal, Helvetas is working in all four of these with the major efforts as follows:

Infrastructure in Rural Areas

Pedestrian bridges; drinking water; rural roads; small-scale irrigation; community-based infrastructures

Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

Rural community support on local initiatives; community organization; food security; cash cropping and marketing; small livestock management; non-timber forest products; sustainable soil management; coffee promotion; biological control

Education and Culture

Vocational skill development; micro-enterprise promotion; rural-urban linkages; non-farm sector development; reflections on heritage and cultural change

Civil Society and the State

Decentralization and local governance strengthening; demand-responsive service providers; coherent local planning, monitoring and evaluation; local fund management

In Nepal, Helvetas is working in all four of these with the major investment in Infrastructure in Rural Areas. The increasing focus on supporting decentralized systems of governance has greatly increased resource investments into the area of Civil Society and the State. 

The five Working Approaches express the modalities of how the organization implements activities. The Country Programme in Nepal puts special emphasis on “Striving for equality between men and women” and “Acting with economic and social responsibility”. Efforts for “Preventing crises and building peace” are becoming a major element of work in conflict affected districts. 

The five Working Principles express Helvetas’ commitment to people, communities and partners. The “Basis” principles implies that development activities focus on the socially and economically most disadvantaged people in the social hierarchy. Helvetas Nepal implements this under its SLOWJ-approach* with socially inclusive monitoring or project activities. The “Self-Help” principle ensures that this is achieved through local initiatives. This implies for Helvetas Nepal, for example, participatory planning of activities and the development of demand-responsive service providers. The “Justice” principle expresses the commitment to and advocacy for equity and civil rights. This is done, for example, through supporting the emergence of dalit and women organizations which defend their rights at local level. The “Self-reliance” principle ensures that interventions can be locally sustained while the “Partnership” principle expresses the commitment to let local partners take the lead. The latter is, for example, addressed through supporting more than 100 local non-governmental organizations and through the establishment of demand-responsive Service Providers. (*SLOWJ: Small-scale farmers, Landless, Occupational castes, Women, Janjati)

The programmatic approach of Helvetas Nepal implies the challenge to promote the integration of all these dimensions in the cube at local level. 

Helvetas Nepal in figures (Year 2006)

Working districts

More than 60 of 75 districts of Nepal; priority in hill areas

Programmes under implementation

16 programmes: 4 under the Working Area of Infrastructure in Rural Areas, 7 under Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and 4 under Education and Culture

Cross-cutting vectors

Common cross-cutting vectors for all programmes: Poverty and Culture, Learning Through Monitoring, and Governance

Implementing partners

Through more than 150 local partner organizations in coordination with national and local bodies of government: Community-based Organizations. Non-governmental organizations, Private Service Providers

Staff working with Helvetas

More than 200 Nepali staff under project-wise Team Leaders and a national Programme Director; three expatriate staff provide support in various programmes.

Funding sources

The core of Helvetas funding as an independent and membership based organizations are membership fees and contributions made by Swiss families. Additionally, the Swiss Government contributes financial resources as programme or budget funding through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Department for International Development (DFID) provides funds under Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) with Helvetas Nepal. Helvetas may draw additional funds from other donors for programme implementation as long as these are in line with the principles of the organization.


Total budget for programme implementation in Nepal amounts to about NPR 556 million for 2006.

Status in Nepal

Helvetas operates in Nepal as an International Non-Governmental Organization under an Agreement with the Government of Nepal. Projects and programmes are implemented under sector-specific Agreements and are guided by national Steering Committees or Programme Authorities.

 Copyright © 2006 Helvetas Nepal.