ELCA companions in Nepal
Who are our companions in Nepal?
Who is the United Mission Nepal and what are its ministries?
Women farmers at work
The United Mission Nepal (UMN)
is a Christian NGO working exclusively in Nepal since 1954. For many years, UMN, whose staff members were mostly expatriates, was the largest NGO in Nepal, providing much needed healthcare and community services in the country. As various UMN institutions and programs matured through the years, UMN assisted them to become independent NGOs under the leadership of Nepalese leaders.
To coincide with the law changes in Nepal that prohibit international NGOs from implementing projects directly, UMN underwent a major strategic review in 2002 and 2003. By 2008, UMN has ceased to be an implementer of programs but an “enabler” that provides technical support, as well as capacity-building training and coaching for institutions in five locations. The areas of service include: (1) Education, (2) Women and Children, (3) HIV/AIDS, (4) Food Security, (5) Enterprise Development, (6) Disaster Management, (7) Peace & Conflict Transformation and (8) Advocacy. What is the Centre for Community Development Nepal and what does it do?
Leader farmers using A-frame in the training
Centre for Community Development Nepal (CCDN) was once a unit of UMN. Due to law changes in Nepal, CCDN became an independent local NGO. The CCDN provides comprehensive healthcare service and development training for thousands of individuals, participating women and children in the Makwanpur District. This includes community organization to help development services function independently, women’s rights, food security and improve the local leadership, management and in technical areas.What is the Shanti Nepal and what are its ministries?Shanti Nepal
, formerly called Lalitapur Chapagaon Health Post, like CCDN, is a local NGO which was a project of UMN, with geographic focus in the Chapagaun VDC, Lalitpur District. This health post is important to the people of the area as access to health care is limited. In some places the ratio between doctors to people is one to 15,000. The primary health care Shanti Nepal provides to the community includes maternal/child care, family planning, family health care, and mental health care. Shanti Nepal also provides nursing and medical training. What is the Pratibaddha Milijuli Saving and Credit Cooperative and what are its ministries?
Pratibaddha Milijuli Saving and Credit Cooperative was started in 1999 by twenty-five women from the United Mission to Nepal. The purpose was to assist women in development saving habits, engage in social development activities and peace-building initiatives. The staff was taking loans from outside money dealers at the flat interest rate of 36%. The high rate encouraged the group to become registered to help women in need. In 2000 the cooperative was registered under the Cooperative Act of Nepal under the name “Pratibaddha Milijuli Saving and Credit Cooperative Ltd." Members do the entire financial and social development work voluntarily. At present there are ninety-five women members.
The members have committed themselves to work for adolescent girls and women to uplift their economic and social status. This organization focuses on women’s issues, peace initiatives and support for women in need. In addition, it also engages in research and capacity-building activities.How do the companions in Nepal and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America accompany one another in ministry?
Through the churchwide ELCA Global Mission unit, the ELCA relates to and is in bilateral relationship with over 80 companion churches and institutions. The ELCA Global Mission unit stewards a church-to-church relationship with the companions in Nepal.Churchwide funding
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by the companions. Walking with the most vulnerable population through food security, healthcare, development and micro-credit programs hand in hand with companions in Nepal is the main focus of ELCA engagement in Nepal.
The ELCA also funds significant work through the Lutheran World Federation and Lutheran World Relief.
The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is a global communion of 140 churches (including the ELCA) and 68 million people that is grounded in a common Lutheran faith. The LWF provides space for Lutherans from around the world to share joys, challenges, and expertise as they seek the healing of the world. ELCA World Hunger funds help support the Department for World Service (DWS), the LWF’s relief and development arm, and the Department for Mission and Development (DMD), which focuses on holistic ministries through which the church participated in God’s mission to all creation.
ELCA World Hunger funds help support LWF Department of World Service work in Nepal such as:
- Emergency Response and Disaster Risk Management
- Sustainable Livelihoods
- Peace, Reconciliation and Human Rights
The ELCA also works in Nepal through Lutheran World Relief (LWR). A ministry of the ELCA, LWR is a U.S.-based agency that works with community-based partners in 50 countries. ELCA World Hunger funds help support work that focuses on:
Nepal: the context where the companions in Nepal serve
- Working in rural villages to establish savings and credit groups to help participating families generate more income
Training local women to serve as community instructors, counseling families and teaching lessons on women’s health in order to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates
Instructing women and men in basic literacy skills sufficient to increase their awareness of preventative health practices and promote educational opportunities for their children
Training farmers in new agricultural technologies to increase their crop yields for additional food supplies, improved nutrition, and additional income from the sale of surplus crops
Foxtail Millet and Finger Millett, major food crops in Mugu
In 1951, the Nepalese monarch instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. A Maoist insurgency, launched in 1996, gained traction and threatened to bring down the regime. Since 2001, there has been a series of major violent upheavals and fierce power struggles between the monarchy, the parliamentary government and the Maoist insurgents. In 2006, the monarchy was dissolved and the parliamentary system of government was restored. In the 2007 election, the Maoist was swept into power as the ruling party of Nepal.
Nepal is among the poorest and the least developed countries in the world with almost one-third of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for three-fourths of the population and accounting for 38% of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. In the last decade, security concerns relating to the Maoist conflict have led to a decrease in tourism, which is a key source of foreign exchange. Nepal has considerable possibility for exploiting its potential in hydropower and tourism, areas of recent foreign investment interest. Prospects for foreign trade or investment in other sectors will remain poor, however, because of the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic location and its susceptibility to natural disaster. The newly gained stability in the country may bring positive developments in the future.
For more information on Nepal, type “Nepal" into an online search engine or visit: