Nepal | Home


Russell Pepe

country director

Christine de Guzman

program officer

Pact began working in Nepal in 1988 and has played a critical role in improving literacy, citizen engagement and the economic and social status of women and other marginalized groups in the country.

Nepal is the birthplace of Pact’s award-winning WORTH program, which brings women together in groups of 20 to 25 to learn how to save money and start small businesses. They use the savings to make loans to fellow members, and with credit and interest earnings, they grow their businesses and launch new ones. WORTH groups also receive literacy, numeracy and technical training, such as best farming practices. Since the program’s inception in 1999, more than 200,000 Nepalese women have taken part.

A pioneering WORTH member from the model's early days.


In 2012, Pact began implementing Sajhedari Bikaas, USAID's flagship integrated governance project, which is empowering communities to achieve inclusive and effective local development. Nepali for  “partnership for local development,” Sajhedari Bikaas began in six districts of Nepal’s mid and far western regions: Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Kailali, Kanchanpur and Surkhet. After earthquakes devastated Nepal in 2015, Pact responded by expanding Sajhedari to six recovery districts in the central and western regions: Dhading, Dolakha, Gorkha, Lamjung, Makwanpur and Ramechap. 

Villagers prime an irrigation pump, part of a Sajhedari infrastructure project.

Drawing on Sajhedari's integrated approach, Pact's post-earthquake work places communities at the center of recovery efforts, ensuring local ownership and sustainability of results. Pact’s approach is based on the premise that how the rebuilding in recovery districts takes place is as important as what is rebuilt. For instance, in rebuilding drinking water and irrigation systems, roads, trails, schools and other public infrastructure, Pact is keeping its focus on the governance systems and processes underlying the selection, implementation and maintenance of projects. We're supporting a range of local institutions and processes surrounding recovery, including facilitation of the post-disaster local planning process; capacity building of local government bodies; coordination of integrated service-delivery camps; citizen oversight and social accountability; and mitigation of grievances and disputes. 

Sajhedari Bikaas works with both national and local partners, including Nepalese nonprofits that engage women, youth and other marginalized groups in planning and implementing development programs. By providing technical assistance to build capacity among local organizations, Pact is making a lasting difference in Nepal. 

Pact’s accomplishments under Sajhedari Bikaas include:

  • Nearly 45,000 citizens trained on local governance and planning
  • More than 12,000 women participating in approximately 450 WORTH groups
  • Nearly 13,000 mediation cases successfully resolved
  • More than 3,900 community mediators trained
  • Approximately 1,700 youths trained and taking part in 115 youth groups
  • 154 small-scale infrastructure projects and 22 social initiatives completed, benefitting approximately 185,000 people
  • 18 Nepali radio stations broadcasting project messages
  • 23 local and national partner organizations strengthened

Members look on as an outgoing officer welcomes a new one at the start of a WORTH banking cycle.


Stories and Highlights

In Nepal, learning from mistakes means lasting roads, less environmental impact

November 2, 2017
Through a Pact-U.S. Forest Service partnership, Nepali engineers gain critical skills for building sustainable roads in unforgiving conditions.

Rebuilding Stronger: Putting Communities in Charge after Nepal’s Earthquakes

August 31, 2017
In 2012, Pact began implementing USAID’s Sajhedari Bikaas project in six southern districts of Nepal. The six-year effort is helping rural communities better direct their own, inclusive development,...

For Nepal’s pint-sized citizens, new kids’ taps deliver hydration, hygiene & fun

June 29, 2017
Kids are short, right? And they need water, just like grown-ups. So why are most water taps in Nepal built far above children’s reach?

After earthquakes in Nepal, rebuilding better

June 19, 2017
With a unique model that puts post-disaster communities in charge of their own recovery, Nepalis are building much more than water systems.

With vocational training, a beautiful new future in Nepal

January 31, 2017
Subhadra Rokka always wanted to open her own beauty shop. After joining a Pact-supported youth group, she did.

In rural Nepal, Pact is using integrated development to break poverty's grip

September 29, 2016
The Sajhedari Bikaas project is solving longstanding development challenges in one of the poorest parts of the world by combining interventions that tackle governance problems, economic insecurity,...

Sustainable development: Twenty years after their start, Pact’s first WORTH groups remain

July 14, 2016
Two decades after its founding, in a testament to the WORTH model’s sustainability, the Jyoti WORTH group in rural Nepal is still together, even though it’s been years since Pact’s assistance ended.

Through a youth group in Nepal, an activist finds her voice

May 25, 2016
Ask Laxmi Rokaya what she dreams of for her country, and the 19-year-old’s answer is modest. More opportunities for youth. The chance to go to school. Jobs. “Many young people here are unemployed,”...

Pact Pioneers Mobile Technology in Western Nepal

February 4, 2014
Collecting data just got simpler in rural areas of Nepal. Pact recently completed a survey of 7,500 rural residents using mobile data collection software and equipment to record responses to...

Learning to save money a stepping stone to women's empowerment

December 31, 2013
Founding member of Pact-sponsored savings group goes on to shape Nepal’s national politics as a member of parliament