The earthquake in central Nepal and subsequent aftershocks in 2015 left around 9,000 people dead and more than 22,000 injured. Several strong jolts further destroyed houses, small businesses and common market facilities. Significant damage to enterprises, markets and livelihoods has occurred - up to 90% in the most affected areas, with significant loss of livelihood assets and infrastructure. The earthquake has threatened almost all livelihoods including small farms, agro products, artisanal products and jobs from local tourism services in the most affected areas.

Despite the devastating loss of property and capital for their livelihoods, the communities have a strong record of entrepreneurship and have the necessary skill sets, knowledge and experience to rebuild. They have established linkages to market and business services, which creates a good precondition for them to restart their businesses with targeted support.

What we are doing?

The Micro Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP), a joint poverty alleviation initiative of the government of Nepal and UNDP with financial support from Australian government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), has an established presence in 7 out of the 14 most affected districts. A total of 13,773 including 8517 women and 3510 men micro entrepreneurs (MEs) were supported in these districts (including those supported by Micro Enterprise Development for Poverty Alleviation (MEDPA) Programme of the Government of Nepal, to which MEDEP is providing technical backstopping and capacity building support to replicate MEDEP model.) The disaster had a devastating effect on these MEs. According to preliminary assessments, equipment and facilities of more than 12,000 MEs (i.e. 88% of total) were affected, of which 10,200 (75% of the total) are fully damaged, and 1800 (15%) – partially damaged. In addition, a large proportion of MEs lost their houses and property.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, MEDEP established help desks to provide counselling for enterprise recovery, collected data of enterprise losses and helped the affected MEs establish linkages with organizations providing rescue and relief support. In June 2015, DFAT donated an additional US$ 6.1 million to UNDP to implement the Rapid Enterprise and Livelihoods Recovery Project (RELRP).

The aim of RELRP is to provide quick enterprise recovery support to 12,059 earthquake affected micro entrepreneurs in seven severely affected MEDEP districts: Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk, Kavre, Dolakha, Ramechhap and Sindhuli. RELRP’s primary beneficiaries is socially excluded and economically poor community living below the poverty line comprising of women (70%), Dalits (30%), Indigenous Nationalities (40%), Unemployed Youths (60%) and Madheshi (40%). Additionally, to promote social cohesion 1,500 members of affected communities who have not benefitted from MEDEP/MEDPA programmes but live together with existing MEDEP/MEDPA MEs will be identified as potential MEs and they will be supported to start up new enterprises.

The proposed initiative is a rapid response to stabilize livelihoods through micro enterprise development. It provides special support measures to re-start micro-enterprises which were damaged or destroyed during the earthquake and business initiatives which benefit communities and promotes social cohesion.

Expected Results

  • At least 12,059 existing Micro Entrepreneurs will recover their enterprises.
  • At least 1,500 new micro entrepreneurs created
  • At least 16,000 new jobs created/recovered which will benefit 80,000 family members.
  • 123 existing Common Facility Centers (CFCs) repaired/rebuilt
  • 22 new CFCs/Productive infrastructures constructed.