ICCO in Nepal

  • GPO Box 25757, Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan,
    Ward No – 2, Jhamsikhel, Kathmandu, Nepal

  • +977-01-5533550/ 01-5553505
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ICCO in Nepal

Almost a decade since the end of the civil war, Nepal continues to struggle as its politics tries to get a firmer footing. The 2015 earthquake wiped out 17.3% of the productive sector adding more woe to the population of one of nine Least Developed Countries (LDC) in Asia.

ICCO’s work in Nepal over the past two decades has been geared towards poverty reduction and social inclusion through governance, food security, and economic empowerment.

Post earthquake, ICCO has extensively worked on livelihoods recovery, market restoration and resilient agri-food systems in earthquake affected districts in Central and Western Nepal.

What we do

Economic empowerment is the guiding thematic direction of ICCO in Nepal, supported by lobby and policy work from local to national level and is integrated with food and nutrition security and water, sanitation & hygiene.

Economic Empowerment

In Nepal, ICCO focused on production improvement, primary cooperative development, sales in local markets and imparting basic business skills to farmers. Based on the developments at target group level, the analysis of similar programmes in the Far and Mid-West Nepal and the experiences in multi-stakeholder partnerships, ICCO is taking on a more comprehensive intervention combining food and nutrition security and inclusive market development.

In the geo focus areas, nutrition and hygiene form integral elements and indicators of an improved livelihood. In addition, social perceptions on food habits and nutrition, hygiene practices are closely linked with dignity of these people. Although remote, even in these districts access to markets opportunities and aspirations arise.

ICCO Cooperation is assessing and developing food security, entrepreneurship and access to markets opportunities in a do-no-harm and conflict sensitive approach. Moreover, the focus on entrepreneurship and access to markets aligns with inclusion of marginal groups, improving their access to resources, promoting women leadership.

Gender and Disability Inclusion

Inclusiveness is important for ICCO Cooperation and therefore specific marginal target groups are a focus at all levels of intervention. The target groups include Dalits, women, people with disability and landless. The lobby agenda will focus on specific issues of land rights, access to basic services and entitlements. In the hills and mountain districts, marginalized people like Dalits and ethnic minorities are either landless or land-poor and the problem is exacerbated by fragmentation of arable land. Women in general do not have a decision making role in access to resources such as forest and water (so female Dalit’s face double exclusion Absentee landlordism and redistribution of land is a larger problem in the lower districts. A specific and targeted effort is taken up regarding disability mainstreaming in programmes and key partners. This activity is undertaken with Mission East and ICCO Cooperation member, Light for the World.

Impact Investment & Business Incubation

The primary focus of business incubation and impact investments is to support and invest in start-up companies in the SME category where capital, plus access to technology and skills, will unlock growth in industries, which will stimulate a positive social or environmental outcome. Business incubation initiatives will be taken in order to make the potential cases investible. For impact investment, ICCO aims to focus on agriculture and renewable energy (small scale hydro, solar production, off grid solutions).

Community Governance & Mobilization

Evidence based lobby and policy work on access to land and natural resources for Dalit’s, landless and other marginal groups is intrinsically part of ICCO’s programme planning and implementation in Nepal. This is done at the national level and joined with a practical implementation approach at local level. Even though the focus shifts towards economic empowerment, the alignment and integration with improving access to economic empowerment opportunities is crucial. It is applied at the national level for lobby and policy work and at the local level as the evidence base.

Our Expertise in Nepal

Value Chain Development (VCD)

At ICCO, we emphasize on empowering people so that they can connect with viable and sustainable value chains, generate income and produce sufficient quantities of quality food for a balanced diet. We apply programmatic approaches with a broad range of value chain actors, including NGOs, producer organizations, local small and medium enterprises, international companies and financial institutions. Programmatic cooperation around value chains by a diversity of actors results in more outreach and sustainability.

ICCO improves productivity and works toward fair price and living wages for small producers. Actors working together on value chain issues are also better able to define lobby issues to their government for a better enabling environment, as they have a united and stronger voice to demand their rights.

Livelihoods Recovery

On 25 April, 2015, a massive 7.6 magnitude earthquake with its epicenter in Barpak, Gorkha hit Nepal. Subsequent frequent aftershocks and a major aftershock of 7.3 magnitude with its epicenter near Namche Bazaar added to Nepal’s woe. Over 8,790 human casualties and 22,300 injuries were reported with an estimated eight million people assumed to be affected by the quake. Apart from a severe impact on civilians, the private sector sustained 3.3 times the loss as compared to the public sector.

As a consequence, the productive sector had encompassed over 17.3 % loss and agriculture, irrigation and finance were among the worst affected areas in immediate need of a strong response to revitalize livelihoods.

ICCO till date has implemented seven projects funded by ECHO, ACT Alliance and Caritas aimed at empowering earthquake affected communities and individuals in Makwanpur, Sindhupalchowk, Dhading and Lamjung districts by strengthening income generation activities and the restoration of market linkages to create sustainable means for livelihood recovery. Interventions included restoration of irrigation and storage facilities, provision of agricultural inputs and insurance services, (re)establishment of disaster resilient market facilities, business relations and access to finance through local revolving financial grants and awareness raising on safety issues related to physical market infrastructure.

Lobby and Advocacy

In Nepal, ICCO’s lobby and advocacy work focuses on adequate implementation of the policies on right to land and other productive resources like water and forest. Through the National Coalition on Food and Water Security (NCFAW), ICCO has been undertaking evidence-based advocacy on the issues of land [mis]-use at the national level. At national level the coalition will be linked up with national networks such as FIAN Nepal, the National Network on the Right to Food and Nepal WASH Alliance. These networks also have their representatives at the local level. So, a closer cooperation will also be initiated at the grassroots.

Nepal general

From the mighty Himalayas in the north to the fertile plains of Terai in the south, this landlocked nation is topographically, biologically and culturally diverse. Nepal boasts eight out of the ten highest mountains in the world, making it the premier destination for trekking and mountaineering. The glacial lakes originating from the Himalayas feed the mighty river systems which is crucial to the primarily agrarian-based economy that employs 71.74 % of the population. It also means that there is great economic potential in the development of Hydro –electricity in Nepal. However socio-cultural and political failings have riddled Nepal’s path to development.

Significantly, in November 2006, a decade long civil war followed by an uneasy reconciliation with the Maoist insurgents, Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, led to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord. An interim constitution was announced in January 15, 2007, tasking the Constituent Assembly with the responsibility of promulgating a new constitution reflective of the values of the young secular republic.

After four years of repeated extensions, the First Constituent Assembly was dissolved in May 28, 2012 due to their failure to draft the constitution. New elections were held in November 19, 2013 to elect the Second Nepalese Constituent Assembly; ‘Nepal Constitution 2015’ was finally passed on September 16 by a CA meeting, ensuring Nepal as a federal democratic republican state and creating a federal state structure intended to decentralize power from Kathmandu to seven newly-created provinces and re-arranged local government units.

In 2017, local elections were held for the first time in 20 years electing local representatives to 753 local structures for a tenure of five years. This was followed by provincial and legislative elections which resulted in the swearing in of K.P.Oli of Communist Party of Nepal as the 38th Prime Minister of Nepal on 15 February 2018. With the formation of new federal and provincial parliaments, there are expectations that Nepal will finally get a stable government that will last for at least five years. This stability is hoped to contribute to improving the country’s fragile economy which is heavily dependent on remittances sent back to Nepal by its migrant workers.


Nepal Early Recovery and Rehabilitation Project (NERRP)

NERRP was part of ICCO's early recovery and rehabilitation effort targeting the most vulnerable households affected by the ...

Project started:
  • 2015
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Read more about Nepal Early Recovery and Rehabilitation Project (NERRP)

Opportunities for Nepalese Coffee Farmers

HAMRO COFFEE project is part of the larger Support for Trade and Economic Capacity Building: Trade and Private ...

Project started:
  • 2017
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Read more about Opportunities for Nepalese Coffee Farmers


HAMRO COFFEE is a two year project, supported by the EU, and implemented by ICCO in six coffee ...

Project started:
  • 2017
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Read more about HAMRO COFFEE

Project MILIP

This project is an example of a shift in intervention strategy of ICCO Nepal from a grants based ...

Project started:
  • 2014
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Read more about Project MILIP

Use of Digital Technology in Emergency Response

In order to successfully intervene in an emergency and recovery program, right data and reliable information is ...

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Read more about Use of Digital Technology in Emergency Response

The Rautahat Relief

Blog by Saugat Gautam, Information & Knowledge Management Officer from our Nepal Office, sharing his experience during ...

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Read more about The Rautahat Relief

As of 1st January 2021 ICCO has joined forces with Cordaid and continues as one organization under the name Cordaid.

ICCO’s international website will remain online for the time being and can be visited here or go to Cordaid: www.cordaid.org