A landlocked nation, Nepal claims a distinctive natural and cultural climate with its ancient heritage and the Himalayas as an awe-inspiring backdrop. While it is rich in cultural and scenic splendour, Nepal remains one of the world's poorest countries. It is struggling to overcome a turbulent political and economic legacy and manage a peaceful transition to stability. It is also still in the process of rebuilding, after the devastating 2015 earthquake which struck the country.
Nepal is home to a population of 29 million people, with 25 percent of the population living in poverty. Adara has projects in three key areas in Nepal: the remote mountainous region of Humla, the capital city of Kathmandu, and Ghyangfedi, a small community in the Nuwakot district.
SETTING THE SCENE
Nepal has been under the sway of a hereditary monarchy ruled by members of the royal Shah and Rana families for most of its known history. It remained largely isolated from the rest of the world until it became a republic in 2008.
In 1996 a bitter civil war broke out between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists), who were demanding a communist republic, and the ruling monarchy backed by the Nepalese army. After 10 years of fighting, the war left more than 12,0001 people dead and between 100,000 and 150,000-plus displaced2. In 2006 peace talks and ceasefires were finally brokered between the King and the Maoists.
In 2008 Nepal held elections for a new constituent assembly. In a very historical election, the Maoists won in a surprising victory over the monarchy and Nepal was declared a republic. The size of the party's victory showed voters' disillusionment with the mainstream political parties and the desire for change in a country ridden with poverty.
Today, Nepal is relatively peaceful despite the country's struggle to recover from war and pull itself out of poverty. However, there are still 50,000 people3 displaced by the conflict and struggling to recover from the effects of war. A constitution was meant to be finalised by 28 May 2012. But this deadline lapsed and the country is set to face elections once again.
CHILD WELLBEING, HEALTH AND EDUCATION
The Nepali Government struggles to provide adequate healthcare and education to its people, especially those in remote regions such as Humla. Resources are limited, and the systems used to distribute those resources often struggle to keep up with demand. Health posts and schools in rural areas are often non-functioning or severely under-functioning, unless supported by non-government organisations. This is partially due to the sheer difficulty of reaching remote communities and supplying them with educated doctors and teachers.
In Nepal, 48 of every 1000 live births are malnourished. In many cases this leads to their death. Maternal mortality rates are high due to weak health systems, with limited access to emergency obstetric care, skilled attendance and the overall poor status of women, especially in remote areas.
Formal education is a privilege not widely shared by the population. Today, 24 percent of children do not complete formal primary education4. The literacy rate for men aged 15-24 is 87 percent. For women age 15-24 it drops to 78 percent. The adult population as a whole has a 60.3 percent rate5. In rural areas these numbers are much lower. In Humla, literacy rates are reported at 9 percent for women and 37 percent for men. The extended civil conflict has had a major impact on health, education and employment, with school closures and strikes.
THE DAY THE EARTH SHOOK - THE 2015 EARTHQUAKE
In 2015, a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. It was the worst quake to strike the region in more than 80 years.
The earthquake killed nearly 9,000 people and left entire communities devastated. Homes and schools crumbled, roads were damaged beyond repair, and thousands were left without shelter. Entire livelihoods were destroyed.
Immediately after the earthquake struck, disaster relief began across the country. People were offered temporary shelter, injuries were treated, and new schools began construction. Now, years later, the strain from the earthquake is still keenly felt by many. Rebuilding will continue on through the coming years.
81% of Nepal's population lives in rural areas
Nepal's population is 29 million
The average life expectancy in Nepal is 69.1 years old
17.3% of the total population in Nepal is urban
24.8% of Nepal's population is living in poverty
15.5% of Nepal's urban population live below poverty line
27.4% of the rural population in Nepal live below the national rural poverty line
The annual growth rate in Humla is 2.28%
The population of Humla is 50,858
The number of households in Humla is 9,479
The average size household in Humla is 5.37
The population density is Humla is 9 people per square kilometre
ABOUT WHERE WE WORK
HOVER THE MOUSE OVER THE HOUSES TO READ ABOUT WHERE WE WORK
Humla is a region in north-west Nepal, bordering the Tibet autonomous region. It is considered remote even by Nepalis and has no operational roads. Humla fares poorly - they have the nation's lowest literacy rate, higher than average maternal and infant mortality, and harsh winters which lead to food shortages for people who are snowed in for months. The region is accessible by two weeks' walk from the nearest road, or by light plane from the Indian border to Simikot, the 'capital' of Humla, at around 9800 feet. From there, villages are only accessible by foot or by horse.
Nepalgunj is a small town on the Indian Nepal border and the ‘gateway’ to Humla. From the Nepalgunj airport, tiny planes fly into the imposing Himalayas ferrying cargo, people and goats to Humla and other hard-to-reach towns in Nepal’s north-west. Many Humli people come to Nepalgunj to search out facilities not available in Humla, such as healthcare, education and trade facilities. ADARA has an office in Nepalgunj.
Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and the largest city in the valley beneath the mountains. It is a vibrant city with many working people, bright colours and busy markets. Though Kathmandu is a bustling metropolitan region, it is still rife with poverty. It is also a central point for traffickers bringing children from the mountainous regions to be kept in usually very poor conditions. Adara Development and the Adara Development (Nepal) have offices in Kathmandu.