Australia provides AUD4.5 million to Nepal through UNDP to support micro-enterprise development

05 Jun 2009

Australia provides AUD4.5 million to Nepal through UNDP to support micro-enterprise development

5 June 2009, Kathmandu — The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a AUD4.5m cost-sharing agreement to continue support for the Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) in Nepal.

The additional resources from AusAID will allow UNDP to support 20,000 more low income families to establish agro-based, forest-based, tourism-based and service-based micro- enterprises through its Microenterprise Development Programme (MEDEP), Phase III (April 2008- December 2010).

The programme aims to contribute to the Government's efforts to reduce poverty by creating economic opportunities especially for the poor, unemployed youths, women and those from socially marginalized groups. To ensure the sustainability of the program, MEDEP III will also support capacity building within the local bodies, non-government organizations and private sector. In the signing ceremony, Her Excellency, Ms Susan Grace, the Australian Ambassador to Nepal, said, "Australia's support for MEDEP supports the development and livelihood needs of the poorest and the most vulnerable. By addressing issues of exclusion, MEDEP is contributing to securing the peace in Nepal."

UNDP partnered with AusAID also in Phase I and Phase II of MEDEP (approximately AUD850,000). The Phase II funding supported the development of forest-based enterprises amongst the Community Forestry User Groups and the vulnerable groups from Sindhupalchowk and Kavrepalanchowk (central region) districts, where the concept of community forestry was pioneered through over 40 years of Australian assistance. This joint venture programme has proved that using natural resources in a sustainable manner can not only help the villagers to generate income and create employment opportunities, but also help the Government to generate additional revenue from the taxes imposed on the use of natural resources while reducing environmental degradation.

UNDP Country Director Ms. Anne-Isabelle Degryse-Blateau stated, "Employment, especially for the youth and women, is one of the top priorities for Nepal. AusAID's contribution is critical to help promote this agenda, and we very much look forward to this continued partnership."

MEDEP is a joint initiative of the Government of Nepal and UNDP since 1998 and the program is being implemented in 31 districts of Nepal. Since its inception, MEDEP has developed about 37,000 microentrepreneurs (67 per cent women, 21 per cent Dalits and 47 per cent youth) and created about 42,000 additional sustainable jobs for the poor and excluded groups. The average increase in the income of entrepreneurs has been 278 per cent.

Contact Information

For more information please contact sangita.khadka@undp.org
Development Communications Officer, UNDP Nepal, 00-977-1-5523200/1077