Families served in 2016: 1449
- Population: Over 29 million
- Urbanization: 18.6 percent live in cities
- Life expectancy: 70.7 years
- Unemployment rate: 46 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 organizations, 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
Even before the 2015 earthquake which left more than 8,790 people dead and resulted in large scale damage to homes and properties the housing need of the country was acute and growing. A 2010 study by UN-Habitat showed that at least 40,000 urban housing units are required annually in Nepal. After the 2015 earthquakes, however, the housing need has grown significantly as more than 498,800 houses were destroyed and over 256,600 houses were damaged.
How Habitat addresses the need in Nepal
Following the 2015 earthquakes, Habitat Nepal has been focusing on helping families rebuild safer, permanent homes. A total of 87 houses are being built in Pipaltar, Kavrepalanchok district, that was severely affected by the earthquake. In June 2016, Habitat Nepal received approval from the National Reconstruction Authority to work with more earthquake-affected families to rebuild their homes in five wards in Panchkhaal, Kavrepalanchok district; nine wards in Salme and two wards in Tupche, both located in Nuwakot district.
Habitat Nepal works with local partners to train individuals, families and entire communities in the Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA). This empowers communities to make informed choices on house construction, water, sanitation and other shared resources, while promoting gender equality and social inclusion.
Through Housing Support Services Centers set up in select municipalities or villages, Habitat Nepal and its local partners help to facilitate quality construction of disaster-resilient homes. Engineers and site supervisors are on hand to advise families on construction standards. The Centers also disseminate information on reducing disaster risks and building safer homes with environmentally friendly materials. Habitat Nepal uses geographic information system mapping to monitor the construction process.
Habitat Nepal works with local partners to ensure that the families receive financial support to build, repair or maintain safe, adequate homes, based upon their level of financial need. Families typically contribute their own labor, savings and/or building materials. Habitat also provides support by sending international and local volunteers to build alongside families and communities.
Working with market actors
The Chhana Program supports initiatives aimed at increasing the supply of sustainable, low-cost building materials such as bamboo and compressed brick while creating livelihoods for those producing these materials. Habitat Nepal has been carrying out market surveys in its project areas to better understand the ability of households to access building materials, construction labor as well as housing finance.
Meet a Habitat family
Sakunti and her family of five were resigned to living in a shack with a leaky roof and crumbling mud walls until she was involved in the Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness. Habitat for Humanity Nepal’s partner, SOS Children’s Villages, conducted the training in Sunsari district in September 2016. Members of the local communities learned about disaster preparedness and local masons were trained to build disaster- resilient bamboo houses. After the training, she applied and was selected to receive a demonstration house made of bamboo. Sakunti, a daily wage laborer, and her husband Chattkan, a rickshaw puller, contributed 70,000 rupees (about US$700) to buy construction materials. The couple also worked alongside local masons and Habitat volunteers from New Zealand to build their own house. After moving into their house in September 2016, Sakunti and her family of five could finally look forward to building a better life for themselves.