Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Susceptibility to natural disasters, such as drought, earthquakes, floods, and landslides, vulnerability to fluctuations in global prices, civil unrest, and poor infrastructure drive food insecurity in the country. Disparities in wealth, education, and nutrition exacerbate vulnerabilities in marginalized communities, leaving them less likely to recover from shocks.
• Between 1995 and 2011, approximately 25 percent of households in Nepal fell into poverty, many as a result of unexpected shocks, according to the Overseas Development Institute.
• While food security in Nepal has improved in recent years, 20 percent of households remain mildly food-insecure, 22 percent remain moderately food-insecure, and 10 percent remain severely foodinsecure, according the 2016 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). Overall, households in rural areas of the country—where food prices tend to be higher—are more likely to be food-insecure than people living in urban areas, according to the survey.
• Malnutrition remains a concern in Nepal. More than 40 percent of Nepalese children younger than five years of age are stunted, according to the UN World Food Program (WFP). Additionally, approximately 30 percent of children are underweight and more than 10 percent suffer from wasting as a result of acute malnutrition, the UN agency reports. Many Nepalese also experience micronutrient deficiencies, including an estimated 48 percent of pregnant women who suffer from anemia, according to WFP.
• In Nepal, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) supports two nongovernmental organizations to manage development activities that improve food security and assist vulnerable communities to prepare for and respond to shocks and natural disasters.
• FFP partners with Mercy Corps in Nepal to implement multi-year, resilience-focused development activities in communities with high poverty rates and a high prevalence of malnutrition across 14 districts located in the hills of that Far and Mid-West regions. The activities improve the nutritional status of vulnerable households and increase the capacity of communities to prevent, mitigate, adapt to, and recover from sudden shocks or natural disasters.
• FFP also partners with Save the Children International to implement multi-year, multi-sectoral development activities across 11 districts in Nepal’s Central and Eastern regions. The activities build community resilience to shocks by strengthening and diversifying livelihoods, improving health and nutrition, and increasing household capacity to prevent, mitigate, adapt to, and recover from sudden shocks or natural disasters without resorting to negative coping strategies.