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Often perceived as a Himalayan getaway that is home to the tallest mountain peaks and the famous Sherpas who climb them, Nepal is also a landlocked country with diverse ecology and culture. It has a population of 29 million with half of its population living in the low lying southern terai plains, 43 percent in the middle hills, followed by 7 percent in the northern mountains.
UNICEF has a history of more than four decades of work in Nepal and has contributed towards many of the development strides the country has taken, from the provision of basic services and immunization in the 60s and 70s; early childhood rights, education and protection in the 80s; empowering communities, more so women, to be more self-sufficient in the 90s; and an emphasis on protection during the conflict period in the 2000s. What began as a programme to boost child survival and infrastructure for drinking water and sanitation, has widened to include women’s empowerment and self-sustainability; and social & child protection, and governance and emergency preparedness; and the direct participation of children and adolescents in the planning processes of government and civil society. The focus of UNICEF’s programme in Nepal has continuously changed over the years to meet the changing needs of Nepali children, adolescents and women.
UNICEF mainly focuses in the 15 lowest performing districts of Nepal but our impact is nationwide especially with our advocacy work with the Government of Nepal in developing legislations, plans, budgets, coordination and monitoring mechanisms that enable the survival, development, protection and participation of children, adolescents and women.
The current five-year programme (2013-2017) focuses on addressing the three main sets of inequity factors (policy, system and societal) so that all children, adolescents and women have access to basic and other services necessary to fulfil their rights to survival, development, protection and participation.