Pro-Poor Micro Enterprise Development to Go Nationwide in Nepal

A woman entrepreneur is weaving allo thread. Hundreds of allo entrepreneurs have been supported by MEDEP to transform a dying handicraft into a flourishing business. Photo from MEDEP project factsheet, UNDP Nepal.

Unemployment is high in Nepal and income generating opportunities are particularly scarce for the eighty-three percent of the population who live in rural areas. Poverty and food insecurity have pushed many towards the capital or overseas in search of work so as to provide for their families.

Since mid 1998, Nepal has been implementing the Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP), now in its Phase III (2013.9), with the support of UNDP for the design of policies and for initiatives to expand income and employment opportunities through pro-poor Micro-Enterprise Development. 


  • Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) in Nepal has supported the establishment of thousands of micro-entrepreneurs in the poorest districts of rural Nepal
  • 73.1% of the beneficiary households have moved out of poverty
  • The Programme has ensured 70% women participation and reached 50% of the ultra-poor communities
  • At the request of the Government, a Capacity Development Roadmap and Strategy was designed, which is now an integral part of MEDEP's expanded application across the country

The project has already facilitated the establishment of many thousands of micro-entrepreneurs among the most vulnerable groups in the remotest and poorest districts of rural Nepal leading to new local employment opportunities. Nearly three fourth (73.1%) of the beneficiary households have moved out of poverty. The programme design is based on people’s own chosen line of business which is itself largely based on the availability of local resources, market demand and human capital. This has resulted in a wide range of benefits from increased selling spices from strawberry farming  to skills from established tailoring training centers. "There has been a sea change in my life. I was a poor daily wage worker. Now I employ three persons regularly and hire at least four persons for about six months a year¹.”  says Indra Man who, with the support of MEDEP, is now successfully farming strawberries.

Based on the programme’s further achievement of reaching 70% women participation and 50% of the so-called ultra-poor communities, the Government of Nepal (GoN) has adopted the MEDEP model and requested UNDP for support on nation-wide implementation through the Government’s system. A Capacity Development (CD) Roadmap and Strategy was designed with the MEDEP team and key stakeholders from Government. The CD Strategy highlighted key issues on ensuring continued success of the MEDEP model, including the need to strengthen Local Governments  and using performance-based Public Private Partnership (PPP) modalities for nation-wide implementation. The CD Strategy is now an integral part of the GoN’s Poverty Reduction Strategy for the application of MEDEP across both country and sectors, and for ensuring further organisational development at the local level.


Related links

MEDEP project information on UNDP Nepal

Indra Man's full story