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MinoritiesIn countries all around the world, rates of poverty among minorities are distressingly high. There are many different types of minorities: racial and ethnic, national and linguistic, cultural and tribal, political and religious, gender and sexual. There are immigrants and refugees. People with disabilities and mental health disorders.

Poverty, unemployment and incarceration rates are typically much higher among these populations than among majorities. Physical and mental health is poorer. Educational attainment is lower.

Examples of Poverty Among Minorites

  1. Ethnic minorities account for only 15 percent of Vietnam’s population, but 70 percent of the population living in extreme poverty. There are great discrepancies in educational attainment as well: 18.8 percent of ethnic majorities have completed university or upper-secondary education, compared to 8.5 percent of ethnic minorities.
  2. In the United States, Latinos and Hispanics are incarcerated at 1.4 times the rate of white Americans, and African Americans at an average of 5.1 times white Americans. Though the unemployment rates for Hispanics and blacks have been declining since 2010, they are still higher than that of white Americans: the unemployment rate of blacks is nearly double that of whites.
  3. LGBT+ individuals are severely persecuted in many nations. In Turkey, 78 percent of people say that society should not accept homosexuality. Same-sex marriage is unrecognized, same-sex adoptions are prohibited and LGBT+ individuals face severe discrimination in obtaining employment and housing. Violence against these people is widespread and often goes unpunished.
  4. Indigenous people are among the most discriminated-against people in the world, and many populations experience high rates of poverty and health problems. For example, the diabetes prevalence rate among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, indigenous people in Australia, is six times that of the national average. The suicide rates among the Inuit in Canada is 11 times the national average and one of the highest in the world.
  5. In many countries where a vast majority of the population belongs to a certain religion, those who practice a different faith experience strong discrimination and high rates of poverty. In Nepal, the poverty rate among Muslims, a minority in the mainly Hindu country (approximately 81 percent of Nepali are Hindu) is 41 percent, about 10 percent higher than the national average. In Bangladesh, where 89 percent of the population is Muslim, Hindus face serious barriers in obtaining education and employment and are often subject to displacement and arbitrary seizure of their property.

High Rates of Poverty Among Minorities

Why do these disparities in poverty, prison, education and employment exist? Why do minorities tend to have poorer health and experience more violence? Prejudice, discrimination, social exclusion and marginalization are major factors.

Institutional discrimination in governments, corporations and education systems, exists in countries around the world. This discrimination breeds inequality, and inequality restricts people’s ability to obtain jobs and education, to access housing and healthcare, or to enjoy judicial and legal protections.

Sociological and psychological research has demonstrated that discrimination and social exclusion can contribute to poor mental and physical health, which impact an individual’s ability to work and earn an income. All of these factors contribute to the high levels of poverty among minorities.

How We Can Solve this Problem

Eliminating institutional discrimination and individual prejudices can reduce poverty among minorities. Though not an easy task, it is vital to the pursuit of a world without poverty. Governments, educational institutions, corporations and the media, which often use prejudicial rhetoric and discriminatory practices, must be held to a higher standard.

Education should highlight instead of hiding the discrimination that exists around the world. It should teach the importance of human rights and promote equality and respect of others.

Various social movements and nonprofit organizations attempt to do this. They strive to raise awareness of discrimination and inequality and eliminate these from society. The Black Lives Matter, MeToo, Sanctuary Campus, feminist and LGBT+ movements serve as examples. The Human Rights Campaign, Equal Rights Advocates, Race Forward and Global Rights are just a few of the many organizations that fight for equality for different minorities.

All of these movements and organizations and the many others that exist are crucial to the elimination of discrimination as well as reduction of global poverty. And so are individuals.

Individuals have a prominent role to play in the fight for equality. Every person has the ability to make a difference. You can help reduce poverty among minorities by supporting movements and organizations that advocate for minorities. You can speak up when you see discriminatory actions or hear prejudicial remarks. As Nelson Mandela said, “as long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest”.

Laura Turner

Photo: Flickr

poverty in TibetDespite political tensions, Tibet has seen marked improvements in everyday life for its average citizens. The central government in Beijing and other nations may have ulterior motives behind their funding, but the result is the same: a more prosperous Tibet. Aid is flowing in from the Chinese government, the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) and Nepal, to name a few.

According to the regional authority, over the course of the past five years, over 530,000 people have escaped poverty in Tibet. It comes as no surprise that with a falling poverty rate, there is a rise in registered capital. Currently, the number stands at over $162 billion, a 39.4 percent increase from the previous year.

Tibetan Politics: A Delicate Situation

Tibet and China have been in a tense struggle over Tibet’s autonomy since the 1950s. Many Tibetans wish for independence, and in the past, the Chinese government has acted forcefully.

The most notable example of this is the situation with the current Dalai Lama who has been living in exile in India since the Tibetan Rebellion. Despite the Dalai Lama’s tension with Beijing, it seems even he believes that remaining with China is in Tibet’s best interest. Couple that with the many development projects China has enacted in Tibet, and it appears that their relationship is looking up.

China Tries to Tackle Poverty in Tibet

The government in Beijing gives the impression that its best path to quieting Tibetan independence talks is to tackle the region’s poverty problem. One such project that China has funded is in Amdo County, where once-nomadic herders who lived in adobe huts are now receiving homes paid for by the government with a market rate of approximately $47,000.

The Shopko family, one of the recipients of these homes, have gone on the record to express their heartfelt thanks for their new home. Their old hut sat at 16,000 feet with no heating or roads to connect them to the nearby villages.

To help with the move, the Chinese government is giving migrants jobs at local tourism centers, hotels and car washes. It follows up on this guarantee with monthly bonuses for locals who manage and protect the essential grasslands, as well as 5,000 yuan a year to residents who enroll in university.

While the Shopkos serve as an ideal for how the government attempts to tackle poverty in Tibet, the program has only reached 121 families so far, but in the previous five years, the government has spent more than $9 billion to try to alleviate poverty in Tibet. Seemingly, Beijing is looking for answers to its political issues.

Foreign Aid to Tibet

Foreign countries are investing in Tibet as well. The Nepalese government has been distancing itself from its neighbor, India, in favor of China. This political posturing could be for a host of reasons; however, the projects Nepal is planning in Tibet are apolitical for the Tibetan people.

Gobinda Karkee is a Nepalese diplomat who oversees development projects with China. The most famous of these is the Friendship Bridge, which was renovated in 2016. The plans are not all symbolic, though. By 2020, Nepal plans on finishing a rail network that will connect with Tibet and lessen its reliance on using Indian ports. The $226 million project is jointly funded by Nepal and China. Along this rail line will be multiple trading points and border checks. The two nations hope the plan will boost the local economy and help rebuild much of the infrastructure that was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake.

Poverty in Tibet has often gone unnoticed in the media because when the region is in the news, it is being celebrated for its rich culture and history. The UNDP sought to take advantage of this by building tourism infrastructure in rural areas, which in turn provides higher paying jobs for the impoverished people in the Tibetan Steppe.

Much like the Chinese government’s program, UNDP has put a heavy focus on preserving the local ecology and economy. The bulk of the project focuses on Old Lhasa City. The city is famous for its courtyards, which UNDP is mapping, landscaping and organizing the foundation of to make Lhasa a tourist destination. Old Lhasa has become an exemplary case of the economic and cultural benefits of the UNDP program.

Tibet rests in a political hotbed in South Asia, and the effects of the decisions made by its neighbors can have unintended consequences on the proud region. Throughout the religious and diplomatic dilemmas, poverty in Tibet has long been a debilitating issue. Thanks to organizations like the UNDP, this problem is now being dealt with and has already improved the lives of half a million people.

– David Jaques

Photo: Flickr


In 2017, the Inspirational Women Series sat down with an empowered young woman named Kanchan Amatya for an interview to discuss her impressive achievements. She was born in Nepal, and through her belief that everyone should have an equal chance in life she earned herself a scholarship to study abroad for an advanced education. By the age of 21, Amatya is now serving as a U.N. Women Global Champion for Women’s Economic Empowerment, is the founder of Sustainable Fish Farming Initiative (SSFI) and is an ambassador to Women Protection Center Nepal.

Sustainable Fish Farming Initiative 

SSFI is a female owned social enterprise focused on fighting food security problems and poverty in the rural Nepal region. The organization offers tools and education on sustainable aquaculture and works to continue women’s empowerment in Nepal by providing women with access to all the necessary resources. These include training, micro-credit, distribution and market facilitation to allow farmers to harvest their own fish and manage production on their own farm.

Due to global climate change and the current imbalanced social and economic institutions in Nepal, there is a need to implement methods to diversify livelihoods; this holds particularly true for women. The most common form of employment for women in rural areas is in their own household — an unpaid position that cannot provide independent income. In regard to employment outside of the household, women’s jobs appear in planting, weeding and harvesting — all roles where profits are meager.

However, women have proven themselves in these areas, and with programs like SSFI they are able to continue on the journey to self-empowerment and autonomy.

Women and Aquaculture Farming

A 2007 research study by the WorldFish Center, the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science and the Asian Institute of Technology analyzed the introduction of an aquaculture sub-system combined with mixed-crop livestock systems into the Nepalese population and their effects on food access and security, as well as women’s empowerment.

Women who were given the opportunity to own and control a portion of the aquaculture farming system increased their autonomy and ability to make self-decisions within their households and community. The aquaculture farming system is the manifestation of women’s empowerment in Nepal and so far, it is working rather well in improving female independence.

Overall, an introduction of programs such as the ones previously mentioned are powerful in limiting the social and economic burdens faced by women with access to such resources in Nepal. As an added bonus, the aquaculture industry ensures easier and more efficient access to healthy meals for women and their families. After all, challenges of the day are always easier to manage on a full stomach.

Women like Amatya, who grow up in less economically developed countries such as Nepal, grow up with a dream. In her case, this was a dream made of grand economic and social proportions. She is working every day to break down barriers for rural women and offer empowerment at every step.

The participants of this program now enjoy education, resource access and empowerment through the increase of income and expansion of knowledge. Amatya was originally just one fish swimming in the sea, but now her school of fish and community are growing. It will continue to do so for years to come, and women’s empowerment in Nepal will surface just like the fish they harvest.

– Caysi Simpson

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in NepalThe central Himalayan country Nepal, population 29.4 million, is finding help in combating the top common diseases ailing Nepalese citizens. The three most common diseases in Nepal are lung disease, coronary heart disease and stroke. Nepal is ranked third in the world for lung disease.

These common diseases are the health effects of smoking, but the rate of these diseases has the potential to drastically decrease as the number of smokers decline. Nearly 16 percent of Nepalese population (15–69 years) are currently smoking, and 85 percent of those individuals are daily smokers. Samriddha Raj Pant from Nepal speaks on the prevalence of smoking in his country: “I have grown up in a society that labeled smoking as fashionable. During my childhood there were lots of tobacco advertisements, with lots of contacts who smoked.”

In The Journal of Tobacco Induced Diseases, an assessment of nicotine dependence among smokers in Nepal presented that dependence is prevalent, killing more than 15,000 people annually of whom 60 percent are male. The assessment stated the median age for smoking initiation was 16 (13–20) years.

The Nepalese people are trying to quit. Half of the respondents in the assessment wanted to quit smoking. Again, Pant has seen the same trend: “they left smoking step by step once health statutory warnings popped up.” This motivated Pant to found Education Against Tobacco in Nepal.

Education Against Tobacco spans 13 counties, encouraging 70 participating medical schools to volunteer 1,500 medical students. Pant is focusing Education Against Tobacco in Nepal on “community schools (like the ones I grew up studying in), as the socio-economic backdrop of the students is relatively weaker than those in private schools.” The common diseases in Nepal are being treated at the source — smoking — by educating children and preventing a new generation of smokers.

Education Against Tobacco supplies schools with an interactive station, in which students upload photos of themselves to “simulate the fundamental harmful mechanisms of smoking that affect the body, as well as to provide age-relevant and relatable examples to strengthen their self-responsibility and self-awareness.”

With the global force of doctors supplying education, smoking in Nepal may decrease across growing generations. The effects of smoking, which are also the most common diseases in Nepal, will only become less prevalent as the population kicks the habit.

Yosef Mahmoud

Photo: Flickr

Monsoon Floods in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh
As monsoon floods sweep across South Asia, the lives of those in India, Bangladesh and Nepal are threatened. While these floods can prove fatal, often they displace people; so far, over 50,000 families have been displaced by these floods. Fortunately, UNICEF and other emergency response organizations are working to bring aid to those most vulnerable to the monsoon floods in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

The flooding in these regions has caused an onset of problems, from landslides and damaged crops to disease and famine. The most recent death toll across the region is at 800, with many still missing and 24 million directly affected. Furthermore, more than 40,000 homes have been completely submerged by flood waters.

As the flood waters recede, more problems arise as contaminated materials are deposited. This makes the risk of disease outbreak high, as people are exposed to polluted drinking water and unsanitary conditions. Some diseases that people are at risk for include typhoid, eczema, cholera, diarrheal illnesses and worm infections.

In order to combat this humanitarian crisis, UNICEF and other aid organizations are working to provide rescue and relief services to those affected by the monsoon floods in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. By identifying the most important needs of the affected population—food, water and shelter—UNICEF has been able to respond rapidly and meaningfully.

UNICEF’s relief efforts range from distributing immediate response kits to rescuing those stranded by floodwaters. The immediate response kits contain essentials: two towels, soaps, a comb, nail clippers, sanitary pads, toothbrushes, toothpaste and rope. So far, over 600 kits have been distributed among those affected, and lessons are being given on the importance of sanitation and clean water. In addition to providing relief kits, UNICEF has also led rescue missions using boats and helicopters to reach stranded individuals.

Despite UNICEF’s relief aid, South Asia is still facing troubling humanitarian crises. With the demand for emergency essentials so high, it is becoming difficult to fill all the needs of everyone affected. Many families will face difficulties ahead, as they will have to rebuild their homes with what little they have left; for the time being, however, the most important objective for humanitarian organizations is providing emergency relief.

Kelly Hayes

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in NepalOn April 25 and May 12 of 2015, two earthquakes of 7.8 and 7.3 magnitudes, respectively, severely damaged approximately 40 percent of Nepal. Currently, many people are continuing to suffer due to a humanitarian crisis, which has left nearly 824,000 homes destroyed and millions of people displaced. Despite such a large amount of devastation and a lack of aid, there is plenty of information regarding how to help people in Nepal.

  1. Spread the word
    Narayan Adhikari, the leader of Nepal’s Accountability Lab, told Aljazeera that the Nepali
    government’s reconstruction goals have not been met due to “poor coordination
    between government and donors, a lack of understanding of local concerns, and a dearth of civic engagement.”Social media is a great resource for people who wish to help aid disaster relief in Nepal, because various platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram drive civic engagement. In fact, one of the easiest ways to help people in Nepal is to spread the word about the slow reconstruction process following the devastating earthquakes.Social media platforms may be conveniently utilized in order to educate more people regarding Nepal’s humanitarian crisis, and then, an increased awareness and passion may spark a quicker reconstruction process.

    For instance, according to the British Red Cross, Facebook draws the most traffic from Nepal’s
    Internet users, and specifically, the Nepal Red Cross Society page is extremely useful for disaster relief updates and information regarding how to help people in Nepal.

  2. Support nongovernmental organizations
    Mercy Corps reported that the earthquakes displaced roughly 2.8 million people. However, only
    a small percentage of those affected by the earthquakes have received funds due to the Nepali
    government’s slow disbursement process.There are many organizations that are dedicated to ensuring that the people of Nepal affected by the earthquakes receive the proper help necessary including Hands for Help Nepal and HELP NEPAL Network.
  3. Volunteer abroad
    Adhikari reported that destroyed roads and a lack of clean water and food due to the effects of the earthquakes are continuing to plague Nepali citizens. AmeriCorps and Habitat for Humanity are examples of national community service organizations that employ people in order to rebuild areas like Nepal that are in need of disaster relief.These organizations require a lot of commitment; however, they are great resources for people who want to dedicate their time to help people in Nepal.

All in all, the 2015 earthquakes devastated a great amount of Nepal’s land, roads, houses and
people. However, Nepal’s problems are by no means incurable. People can help people in
Nepal in a great variety of manners to ensure that the people there can return to lives of normalcy and prosperity as soon as possible.

Emily Santora

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Nepal
A landlocked nation approximately the size of Illinois, Nepal is the poorest country in the Southeast Asia with as many people enjoying life as those living in abject poverty.

With less than half of the population of 27 million having access to safe drinking water, poor water quality in Nepal and an inadequate supply of water has a dismal cost: about 45,000 children below the age of five in the country die each year due to water sanitation problems. Forty-two percent of the population lives below the poverty line and only 27 percent have improved access to sanitation.

The average life expectancy of about 68 years for men and 71 years for women is correlated with a lack of health care, access to clean water, and abject poverty in the country despite improving conditions.

For instance, it is estimated that child mortality can be reduced by 55 percent if water quality and sanitation issues are addressed to avert the public health risk.

Nepal has seen an increased number of floods, droughts, hailstorms, landslides, and crop diseases. This has mainly affected the subsistence and livelihood of the poor with no way to combat the effects of climate change.

Eighty percent of Nepalese have access to drinking water, yet the water provided or gathered is often polluted.

Though 92 percent of households in the country’s rural areas have access to a drinking water source, microbial contamination in these waters means that water is unsafe for consumption. An assessment in mid-western Nepal found that 70 to 80 percent of the taps do not deliver safe drinking water.

The Kathmandu Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has deteriorating surface and ground water due to natural and man-made contamination. Industry and domestic waste, the majority of which is produced from the capital city of Kathmandu, is commonly discharged into rivers and lakes. Water resources are also stressed due to a growing population and depleting natural water resources.

In 2016, doctors found an increasing number of waterborne diseases – such as diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, gastroenteritis and cholera – in Kathmandu due to water contamination and a lack of proper hygiene.

Baburam Marasini, chief of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under Department of Health Services, reported an “increase in the number of cases between 25 and 30 percent who [came] to visit hospitals suffering from diarrhea, typhoid and fever, mostly due to poor quality drinking water inside Kathmandu.”

Describing the unsafe conditions in rural areas, Marasini explained the causes for this increase. “The rains during the monsoon are responsible for outbreak of communicable water-borne diseases like cholera and diarrhoea in many rural villages,” he stated.

To improve the health and sanitation of the Nepalese, awareness programs are needed. The public has been said to lack awareness of the water sanitation issues, with some communities partaking in drinking contaminated water, failing to observe proper hygiene practices, and generally being unaware of waterborne diseases and their role in helping improve the water quality in Nepal.

Solar disinfection programs (SODIS) have been found to be an effective remedy to help improve water quality in Nepal. However, “heavy domestic and agricultural workloads, other cultural barriers, uncertainty about the necessity of treating the water, and lack of knowledge that untreated drinking water causes diarrhea” did not allow for a successful adoption of the SODIS program. Clearly, a more elementary awareness approach is needed.

Water quality in Nepal can be improved by making safe drinking water more available and accessible. Institutional coordination, public-private partnerships, low-cost technology like SODIS, establishment of water resource or awareness centers and educating people at the community level can all make a difference in sustaining human lives through the provision of safe, good quality water through the maintenance of a healthy water ecosystem.

Mohammed Khalid

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in Nepal
In order to talk about common diseases in Nepal, one must first examine some of the facts and statistics that make the country prone to disease. Nepal, a Himalayan country with a population of nearly 29 million, is located in South Asia. It is home to some of the highest mountains in the world, such as the third tallest mountain, Kanchenjunga, situated on the border of Nepal and India, and the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest, located on its border with China. The birthplace of Gautama Buddha, Nepal is a favorite tourist destination for mountaineers and trekkers, while also attracting visitors for its rich cultural heritage, ancient temples and palaces.

Nepal was a monarchy for centuries until it was abolished in 2008 and the country was declared a republic. It is one of the poorest countries in Asia, and between 2010 and 2011 nearly 25 percent of its population was living on less than $1.25 a day. The mountainous and tectonically active terrain makes Nepal highly prone to natural disasters, which are some of the most common causes of death in the country, and obstruct its development. A devastating 2015 earthquake that killed nearly nine thousand people and injured thousands more remains one of the worst disasters in the country’s history.

Plagued with geological vulnerability, poverty and the associated issues of poor sanitation, air pollution and a lack of proper healthcare, Nepal is replete with both communicable and non-communicable diseases. According to data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and the World Health Organization (WHO), below is a list of common diseases in Nepal with some of the highest death rates.

 

Most Common Diseases in Nepal

 

  1. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – The term COPD encompasses a set of chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It is the leading cause of death in Nepal. COPD killed 17,200 people in the country in 2012, and there was a 22.1 percent increase in its death rate from 2005 to 2015. Long-term exposure to lung irritants causes this disease, and cigarette smoking, use of biomass fuels and air pollution are some of the key risk factors.
  2. Ischemic heart disease (IHD) – Also called coronary artery disease, IHD killed 17,100 people in Nepal in 2012 alone and is the second leading cause of death in the country. The major predisposing factors for this disease are high blood pressure, smoking, poor diet and diabetes. The country saw a surge in some of the conventional risk factors such as obesity and hypertension.
  3. Cerebrovascular disease – Cerebrovascular disease encompasses a set of disorders that affect blood vessels and alter blood supply to the brain, which can lead to a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), also known as a stroke. A leading cause of mortality in the world, strokes killed 15,300 people in Nepal in 2012. The country has seen a 25.7 percent increase in its death rate since 2005. Hypertension, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and diabetes are the main risk factors for strokes.
  4. Tuberculosis (TB) – An airborne bacterial infectious disease, TB is a major public health threat in Nepal. With several innovative programs run by the government in close partnership with collaborators, Nepal has achieved tremendous progress in controlling TB, and there has been a 19.1 percent decrease in TB related death rate from 2005 to 2015. Still, TB remains one of the major causes of death in the country.
  5. Lower respiratory infections – Lower respiratory infections are some of the most common infectious diseases and are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children and adults worldwide. They include conditions such as pneumonia, acute or chronic bronchitis and bronchiolitis. These diseases in Nepal were responsible for 13,100 deaths in 2012. As with TB, the last decade saw an impressive decrease (42.3 percent) in its death rate in the country.

According to the annual report of the Department of Health Services, Government of Nepal, for the years 2014 and 2015, combined efforts by the government and various national and international organizations toward the prevention and control of diseases in Nepal have achieved improved health outcomes over the years. These outcomes include higher life expectancy and reduced maternal and infant mortality rates. The report also identifies existing problems and challenges in the health sector and delineates possible actions for addressing these issues for continued progress.

Ranjna Madan-Lala

Photo: Flickr

Why Is Nepal Poor
Nepal has a long history as the poorest country in South Asia and the twelfth poorest in the world. Although progress was made to decrease poverty from 22 percent to 10 percent in urban areas and from 43 percent to 35 percent in rural areas, these numbers are still high and extremely damaging to Nepal.

Why is Nepal Poor?

Four out of five people in the Nepalese workforce live in rural areas and depend on subsistence farming. They often have little or no access to primary health care, education, clean drinking water or proper sanitation services.

Less than half of the population has access to safe drinking water, and half of all children under the age of five are underweight. These troubling health and safety statistics manifest themselves in the life expectancy of 54 years, compared to countries like Canada that have been able to achieve 80-year life expectancy because of greater infrastructure and development.

So why is Nepal poor? Cyclical poverty in Nepal is partly due to a history of limited education access. Before 1951 education was reserved for the ruling classes, and accessibility problems persisted even after it was opened to the general public.

The legacy of this educational restriction is that today, two-thirds of the country’s adult population cannot read or write. Women and girls are disproportionately uneducated and often sold into child labor or child marriages before they have a chance to contribute to the workforce.

Industrial stagnation also played a role in the country’s poverty, with 80 percent of the labor force still employed in agriculture despite lowered consumption levels in recent years. There is a huge need to move workers into industry and services to expand the economy. Because the government cannot subsidize large-scale development of infrastructure, it needs to allow private sector development to pay for things like roads.

Ways to Improve

Government policies also need to become more pro-business and create employment opportunities by encouraging new industries, eliminating curbs on foreign investment, lowering taxes on income, imports and production, and promoting free trade.

Nepal has a long way to go to strengthen both their educational system and foreign investment in the private sector, however steady progress is being made to industrialize and increase infrastructure build-up in rural areas of the country.

Saru Duckworth

Photo: Pixabay


Nepal is known for being a hub of outdoor excursions and adventurous vacations in South Asia. However, the area has been plagued with poverty and natural disasters that are limiting its economic growth. Here are some important facts and figures in Nepal that are key to understanding the region’s poverty.

  1. Nepal has experienced numerous natural disasters including avalanches and landslides over the past few years. There are now heavy financial burdens from cleanup and repairs as well as hardships with respect to agriculture.
  2. Overall, the landscape in Nepal is uneven and rocky. This makes it difficult to cultivate for farming. A combination of poor-quality soil and infrequent rainfall further contributes to low agricultural holdings in the region. Erosion and flooding in the area also result in low crop yields.
  3. With limited growth in the agricultural sector, the living standards in rural areas continue to decline. This is further exacerbated by a growing population.
  4. The majority of Nepal’s population lives in rural areas and greatly depends on subsistence farming. In these areas, more than 50 percent of the children under the age of five experience malnutrition.
  5. Approximately 25.2 percent of those living in Nepal live below the national poverty line. In addition, of those unemployed in the country, 12.5 percent earn less than $1.90 per day of purchasing power parity.
  6. The poverty rate increases to approximately 45 percent in the mid-western region of Nepal and about 46 percent in the far western region.
  7. Approximately 25 percent of children are engaged in family and/or wage labor.
  8. Approximately 2.9 percent of Nepalese infants perish before their first birthday. Facts and figures in Nepal show that infant mortality is typically higher for girls.
  9. According to a 2013 report from the United Nations on human development, Nepal has a Human Development Index of approximately 0.463. Nepal ranks 157th out of 187 countries.
  10. According to the national living standards survey conducted between 2010 and 2011, more than 30 percent of those living in Nepal have less than $14 per person to spend each month.

A general lack of economic opportunity has led to the country’s current impoverished state. These facts and figures in Nepal reveal that poverty is an ongoing problem.

Leah Potter

Photo: Flickr