Perched atop the Himalayas, Nepal is the poorest nation in South Asia, and one that is prone to natural disasters. 

Nepal’s 28 million people live mostly in its rural mountains and valleys. They make their living from agriculture and by harvesting forest products such as medicinal and aromatic plants for cosmetics, essential oils and other purposes. Roughly one-quarter live below the poverty line. 
Relief International has been working in the home country of Mt. Everest since the 1970s, delivering programs in health, economic development, governance, forestry and disaster response.  

As an agrarian society, many people in Nepal live with their livestock. RI’s health programming takes an integrated approach to human, animal and environmental health, focusing on zoonotic diseases, or those passed from animals to humans. Our One Health initiative works with local partners such as the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB) to reduce outbreaks of zoonotic diseases and to promote behavior change. ANSAB has been RI’s affiliate since 1992.

Nepal’s mountains, forests and other natural resources also supply jobs to many. But slash-and-burn farming, overgrazing and over-harvesting threaten the landscape and these livelihoods. RI partners with ANSAB and communities to increase family income by promoting conservation and accessing international markets that value responsible practices. 

Emergency response is also a key component of RI’s activity in Nepal. During the most recent earthquakes in April and May 2015, RI provided shelter packages to remote communities and teamed with residents to construct shelters with locally sourced materials. 
RI’s work in Nepal: 

  • Partners with ANSAB to help communities win tracts of forest, develop forest management plans and create enterprises that use the forest products sustainably. These enterprises have been recognized by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network.
  • Supports 90,000 households with health, hygiene and zoonotic disease awareness.
  • Provides disaster relief. After the 2015 earthquakes, RI distributed shelter kits to 2,600 households in 65 communities
  • Works to combine governance, enterprise and conservation to increase incomes and reduce deforestation. RI has a public-private partnership with Aveda that supports local communities and conservation 

Learn more about our programs in Nepal below.