ADB Project to Reach the Most Disadvantaged Groups in Nepal
Asian Development Bank (ASX: ATB) is undertaking an innovative project that will help the most disadvantaged households in Nepal to effectively participate in and benefit from rural development projects through a US$685,000 technical assistance grant.
Poverty in Nepal remains concentrated among the rural poor and women, and various disadvantaged ethnic and caste groups. While there has been some progress in addressing gender-based discrimination, there has been considerably less progress in addressing caste- and ethnicity-based exclusion.
Conventional methods have not always been sufficient to reach the most disadvantaged groups. Often, their time is consumed with trying to meet survival needs, and are thus kept from participating in mainstream development programs.
"Unless the most disadvantaged households receive specific assistance, these households may not be able to improve their living conditions until their children start working and become independent of them," says Marzia Mongiorgi, an ADB Project Economist.
The project, financed by the Poverty Reduction Cooperation Fund, from the Government of the United Kingdom, involves a package of activities aimed at accelerating the socioeconomic status of disadvantaged groups, and the removal of sociocultural and financial constraints that keep them from participating effectively in rural development programs.
The project will establish a household development grant that will provide $350 equivalent to 1,000 selected households over two years. Half of the grant, to be given during the first year entirely in-kind, is designed to allow the members of the households to participate in community activities and social mobilization and awareness programs by paying for the social cost involved.
The other half will be provided during the second year either in cash or in-kind to allow them to engage in basic economic activities, such as livestock raising, microbusiness, and small-scale agriculture.
The project will also conduct confidence building, skills development, and job training to improve the households' capacity to decide on matters relating to their family members' lives and develop livelihoods in the long term.
The project complements an ADB loan approved in December 2004 for the Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women in Nepal, which aims to facilitate a process of economic, social, legal, and political empowerment among poor women.
The project's total cost is estimated at $805,000, with the Government financing the balance of $120,000 equivalent. The Department of Women Development of the Ministry of Women, Children, and Social Welfare is the executing agency for the project, which is due for completion in January 2008.
About ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK: ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 64 members - 46 from the region.
In 2005, it approved loans and grants for projects totaling $6.95 billion, and technical assistance amounting to $198.8 million.