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UN-backed scheme targets inequality in Nepal’s rural communities

UN-backed scheme targets inequality in Nepal’s rural communities

The United Nations rural development arm announced today that it is providing $4 million towards a project that aims to tackle the exclusion of groups such as women, dalits and indigenous peoples in rural communities in Nepal.

The Poverty Alleviation Fund is a $113 million community-driven project partly financed by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and which focuses on groups that have been traditionally excluded, mainly for reasons of gender, ethnic origin, caste and location.

The pilot phase of the project began in 2004 in six of the poorest and most remote districts of Nepal. Once it took off and demand grew, it quickly expanded to its activities to 25 districts.

The grant agreement signed today in Rome by Lennart Båge, IFAD’s President, and Krishna Gyawali, Nepal’s Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance, will support the project’s second phase, which involves continuing the work from the pilot phase and expanding it to all 75 districts by the end of the year.

Among its many benefits, the project will build roads and bridges, improve water supplies, sanitation, schools and health services, and develop community infrastructure such as small-scale irrigation. It will also help create opportunities for the poorest and most excluded people to earn an income.

“The Poverty Alleviation Fund is seen as a model because of its successful track record in effectively reaching poor communities and marginalized groups within them,” said Kati Manner, IFAD’s country programme manager for Nepal.

The project brings to 12 the number of IFAD-supported programmes and projects in Nepal, with loans and grants worth $130.9 million.