Nepal: Improving livelihoods and welfare through the Rural Access programme (RAP)

Improving livelihoods and welfare with better rural access.

The Rural Access Programme has built more than 1,000 kilometres of rural roads in remote regions of Nepal, along with bridges and other vital rural infrastructure. These roads mean access to education, healthcare, markets, and basic goods such as rice and firewood.

RAP’s partner communities manage construction processes, and they receive the support needed to manage construction processes themselves and to maximise the social and economic opportunities provided by the roads.

RAP’s disaster-resilient, environmentally sound roads are built almost entirely by the most marginalised parts of society, while women make up nearly half the workforce.

RAP’s workers are encouraged to form groups for saving money, and given guidance how to manage them. These schemes help to develop savings habits among communities that have never before earned wages, helping families move from subsistence to diversified farming activities which enable them to plan for the future.

Not only does it [Rural Access Programme] build new roads, but also provides employment, additional infrastructure like irrigation canals and school buildings, training, income and savings for the poor to tide them over lean times.

– Alan Duncan, former Minister of State for Development


  • Build capacity for management of sustainable rural transport infrastructure in Nepal
  • Create employment for the poorest and most marginalised people in rural Nepal
  • Improve access to goods and services by developing a more resilient rural transport network
  • Improve access to economic opportunities through training, income generation activities, building economic infrastructure, and development of the private sector


  • 625,000 beneficiaries
  • 13.5 million labour days created
  • 220% average income increase in RAP areas
  • 200% average agricultural yield increase in RAP areas
  • 80% average increase in education enrolment


  • Winner, Institution of Civil Engineers Edmund Hambly Medal 2014
  • Winner, British Expertise Outstanding International Development Project 2014
  • Winner, ACE Centenary Engineering Excellence Awards 2013
  • Winner, International Road Federation 2009 Global Roads Achievement for Advocacy Award


Project Name

Rural Access Programme

project status

Ongoing, 2000-2019


UK Department for International Development (DFID)

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last updated

September 20, 2018