Livelihood options and pathways out of poverty in Nepal

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Helpdesk Query:

What does the existing literature say about the main livelihood options for households in different locations in Nepal, and the determinants of access to those options with a high return to poverty reduction? Where are there evidence gaps?

Summary:

This rapid review synthesises findings from rigorous academic, practitioner, and policy references published in the past 10 years that discuss livelihood options and pathways out of poverty for households in Nepal. The World Bank (2016) highlights that in 1991, circa 40% of the Nepali population were identified as poor. Further rounds of the Nepal Living Standard Surveys (NLSS) record a declining poverty headcount rate: 42% in 1995, 31% in 2003, and 25% in 2010 (World Bank, 2016: 3). Similarly, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI, 2018) report continuous progress has been made in reducing multidimensional poverty which has halved from 2006 to 2014.

While a number of potential pathways out of poverty are available, not all rural poor can access these due to specific social and market relations. The poor are not homogenous, and can be differentiated along geographic, caste, gender, ethnicity and asset-holdings lines. Households in different social positions and with different economic capabilities participate differently in the nonfarm markets and achieve different benefits. Individual agency also plays an important role. As a body of literature, the papers suggest that education, training, land holding, access to credit, proximity to infrastructure and markets, and agro-ecological location are the major influencing
factors in the adoption of higher returning livelihood strategies.

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