CAN’s work in Nepal began in response to a spontaneous request in 1989 to help improve conditions of labour in the Himalayan trekking industry.
A request soon followed to help improve village infrastructure in Ghunsa, near Salleri. As word spread, similar requests were received from other regions; slowly at first but with greater urgency as the civil war took hold throughout Nepal.
During these years of civil unrest (1996-2006) CAN, along with other charities, filled a gap as the Governments resources focussed on the civil war. It provided direct support to schools, health posts and other neglected community projects. In the years following the civil war, Government funding has been haphazard and unreliable and so CAN continued to provide funding and support to projects in the most sustainable and appropriate manner it could.
After 30 years, CAN has delivered or directly supported over 45 projects in Nepal, including:
20 health posts,
3 porter rescue shelters,
7 community buildings and other welfare / community related projects
Numerous livelihood and social welfare projects.
The charity is now moving into a new phase of existence. Following the rebuild after the earthquake, CAN’s structure and profile is greater than ever. It currently provides access to health care, education and porter protection to approximately 250,000 rural Nepalis.
CAN’s ethos is quite simple in its ultimate objective; to provide support where it is needed the most, straying off the beaten track to support communities who are driven to support themselves, and reduce donor dependency.
The key principles that form the ethos are:
CAN has only responded to requests for support after receiving a determined petition for help from communities in remote areas of Nepal.
CAN only provides support where it is needed and reasonably asked for.
CAN will only start a project when the community has formed a project committee with a Chairperson who is fully committed to CAN’s ethos.
CAN works to avoid donor dependency and only takes on a project where the villagers agree to contribute at least one third of the capital through volunteering.
REDUCING RURAL DEPOPULATION
CAN actively seeks to help improve the standard of living of the remote communities, and in doing so, help reverse depopulation in rural areas.
CAN has a policy of financial transparency for both the income and the expenditure of each project and will stop a project, or withdraw altogether, if there are unresolved financial irregularities.
CAN remains small enough that the operations team and trustees can stay fully informed and therefore able to quickly prevent any anomalies escalating out of control.
CAN encourages project committees to employ local craftsmen where possible. These committees are ultimately encouraged to take ownership of the running and maintenance of each project.
SERVING RURAL COMMUNITIES
CAN operates in remote northern areas, mainly near the border with Tibet, and will withdraw when communications and access have improved.
SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION
CAN actively seeks to work with other relevant charities wherever it is mutually beneficial, and the outcome benefits the community.
CAN complies with the rules and regulations governing charities operating in Nepal and, in particular, those set out by the Social Welfare Council.
CAN UK undertakes to work in Nepal as unobtrusively as possible.