Global Education

Teacher resources to encourage a global
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Nepal

Map for Nepal
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  • A woman sells strings of colorful flowers.
  • A holy man with beard and wears ochre-coloured scarf around his head and shawl.
  • Locals and tourists buy items at a market on a narrow ridge of a village in a in mountainous area.
  • A female health worker checks another woman's blood pressure.
  • Medical personnel provide care to a mother and child.
  • A close up of a girl writing in her book in a classroom.
  • A woman pumps water into a bucket outside her home.
  • A woman points to hand-drawn pictures on a wall showing the impact of open defecation.
  • Two women use sewing machines to make clothes.
  • Jangali Ram draws water from a tubewell in Bastipur, Nepal.
  • A young girl washes cooking utensils outside her home in Nepal.
  • Ganga Pun and her two daughters live in a single room in Pokhara, Nepal.
  • Two large circular solar cookers catch the sun outside a large building in snowy mountainous area.

Case studies

Maternal health in Nepal

A female health worker checks another woman's blood pressure.
A holistic and coordinated approach to maternal health in Nepal has drastically improved the lives of mothers and children.
Read more
Flag of Nepal

Population:

27,474,377

GNI per capita (PPP US$):

1,500

Population living on less than $1.25 per day:

25%

Adult literacy rates:

60%

Access to water:

88%
Did you know?

Nepal’s flag is based on two pennants from the Rana dynasty, which formerly ruled the country.

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Geography

Physical geography

Nepal occupies a landlocked area of 143,350 square kilometres along the southern slopes of the Himalayas in south Asia. It is divided into three natural east-west geographical zones. Along the southern border with India is the Terai/Ganges River plain. In the centre are hills, which rise to 2,700 metres, and fertile valleys, of which the Kathmandu Valley is the largest. In the north, the glaciated Himalayas contains eight of the world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest (Sagarmatha, Napali), the world's tallest at 8,850 metres. The Himalayas are cut by three principal river systems, the Karnali, Kosi and Gandak.

Climate

Nepal has a climate that ranges from subtropical with warm summers and mild winters in the southern lowlands, to alpine with cool summers and severe winters in the mountains. Most land above 3,300 metres is permanently frozen. The wet monsoonal season (June to September) affects the whole country, often flooding the southern plains. The average annual rainfall ranges from 1,778 millimetres in the east to 899 millimetres in the west. The average temperature ranges in the capital, Kathmandu, are from 2 to 20 °C in January to 20 to 29 °C in July.

Environment

The rich river valleys and plains of the southern and central areas are suffering from population pressures – depletion of forest cover for crops, fuel, and fodder, contributing to erosion and flooding. Small mineral deposits are present but the steep mountain terrain currently makes mining difficult.

Wildlife in Nepal includes the Bengal tiger, snow leopard, gaur, elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo and deer but these are threatened by habitat degeneration and poaching. There are over 6,500 species of trees, shrubs and wildflowers, including rhododendrons.

The Sagarmatha National Park, which includes Mount Everest and the Chitwan National Park, are both World Heritage listed areas.

Population

Nepal has a total population of 29,959,364, 82% of whom live in rural areas. Urbanisation, however, has increased the population density in the central hills and Kathmandu.

People

Culture and identity

The Nepalese are divided into about 40 ethnic groups and communities, some of which are further differentiated by caste. The Indo-Nepalese make up nearly 80% of the population and include the Pahari, Newar and Tharu. The Tibeto-Nepalese, including the Tamang, Rai and Gurung tribes, is the other major ethnic group.

The lives of the gods, saints and heroes, and the relationship of people to the universe, are represented in sculpture, painting, architecture and drama. In the Kathmandu Valley there are about 2,500 temples and shrines. Drums and wind instruments are common instruments, dating back to ancient times.

Health

Nepal faces many health challenges. Life expectancy at birth is currently 68 years. Access to a safe water source is 88% while sanitation is only 37%. Malnutrition is common among children, adolescents and women. The incidences of malaria and tuberculosis have been greatly reduced, but remain a concern.

Religion and beliefs

Hinduism is the dominant religion in Nepal. There are also Buddhist and Muslim communities. Common to all of these religions is the merging of religious expression with everyday life. They all involve codes for individual behaviour and daily rites of worship. In the morning, people gather at temples, sanctuaries or riverbanks to offer prayers and puja (offerings of rice, coins, flower petals, sweets, incense, fruits and placing red tikka powder over statues, stones, tree roots and other items representing forms of deities). Religious shrines, fluttering prayer flags and prayer wheels adorn the countryside.

Food and shelter

Nepal's food is diverse but the typical daily food for most people consists of a morning and evening meal of dal bhat, which includes rice (bhat), lentil soup (dal) and vegetables in curry (tarkari) and/or meat (masu) and a small amount of pickle (achar). Food may be served in a metal plate divided into separate compartments called thal. Nepali food is generally eaten by chunking everything together with the right hand.

Nepalese villages consist of loosely grouped homes surrounded by farmland. The villages are generally near rivers or springs. Houses are usually made of mudbrick, stone, bamboo or wood with thatch, slate or tin roofs. Most houses have porches and courtyards where people socialise.

Economy

Wealth and poverty

Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world. More than a third of the population live on or below the poverty line and there is high unemployment.

Education and work

Nepal is making good progress to achieving Millennium Development Goal 2 (achieve primary education for all). Education is free at the primary and lower secondary levels and the curriculum and teacher education have improved.

Nepal’s economy is dominated by subsistence agriculture. Access to education, credit and energy mean expansion into industry and service industries is limited.

Industries and products

Industry revolves around the processing of agricultural produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco and grain. Remittances are estimated to make up 25–30% of Nepal’s GDP. The agriculture and construction, and financial and other services industries have been identified as areas of growth.

Trade

Nepal exports carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, pulses and grain mainly to India (94%) and Bangladesh (4%). It imports petroleum products, machinery and equipment and electrical goods from India (57%), China (11%), and the United Arab Emirates (9%).

Government

Nepal is currently undergoing a period of significant transition. In 2008, its monarchy was abolished after a long conflict with Maoist insurgents. With over 100 ethnic groups there are many challenges accommodating the diverse social, cultural, and ethnic priorities. Poor law and order is a growing concern in some parts of the country. The head of state is President Ram Baran Yadav who assumed office in July 2008. 120 political parties participated in the November 2013 election and the 30 parties were elected to serve in the Constituent Assembly

The rights of women and children in Nepal are a concern for human rights groups, as well as the lack of governance and legal capacities that come with the uncertainty of transition.

Achievements and challenges

There have been improvements in health, education and governance since the 1990s; poverty is the major issue facing Nepal today. Nepal is heavily dependent on overseas development assistance but prospects for foreign trade or investment remain poor because of the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, remoteness, landlocked geographic location, and susceptibility to natural disaster.

Despite the many changes and challenges it has faced, Nepal has made good progress towards a number of its Millennium Development Goal targets. Poverty has been reduced (MDG 1), education attendance has improved (MDG 2), maternal mortality has been halved in the past 10 years (MDG 5), and the spread of HIV/AIDS has halted (MDG 6).

Links with Australia

Australia and Nepal enjoy a warm and friendly relationship. The Australian Government’s current assistance to Nepal focuses on activities that support human development, strengthen and improve governance. Assistance is provided to improve access to basic education, and to support basic health outcomes, reduce poverty, and promote inclusive governance.

The 2011 census showed around 25,000 people of Nepalese ancestry living in Australia, predominantly in New South Wales. Approximately 18,000 Australian tourists visited Nepal in 2012. The number of private Nepalese students studying in Australia has been increasing.

The collaboration between the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Kathmandu and the Fred Hollows Foundation, which has been at the forefront of developing safe and cheap procedures for cataract surgery in the region, is an enduring partnership. The Fred Hollows Foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2012.

Offerings of flowers, food and incense are an important part of daily life for Hindus in Nepal.
Photo by Dirk Guinan
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Offerings of flowers, food and incense are an important part of daily life for Hindus in Nepal. Photo by Dirk Guinan
Holy men often wear ochre-coloured clothing to symbolise their focus on holy life and rejection of worldly pastimes.
Photo by Dirk Guinan
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Holy men often wear ochre-coloured clothing to symbolise their focus on holy life and rejection of worldly pastimes. Photo by Dirk Guinan
Namche Bazaar, in north-east Nepal, is a major trading centre for Nepalese and tourists trekking in the Himalayas.
Photo by Kogo/Wikimedia http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0/deed.en
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Namche Bazaar, in north-east Nepal, is a major trading centre for Nepalese and tourists trekking in the Himalayas. Photo by Kogo/Wikimedia http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0/deed.en
Devi Gurung has a health check at a new clinic in Pokhara, Nepal
Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
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Devi Gurung has a health check at a new clinic in Pokhara, Nepal Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
A mother brings her child to be vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella during one of her antenatal visits, Pokhara, Nepal
Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
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A mother brings her child to be vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella during one of her antenatal visits, Pokhara, Nepal Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
Students at Shree Dharmasthali Lower Secondary School, Pokhara, Nepal
Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
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Students at Shree Dharmasthali Lower Secondary School, Pokhara, Nepal Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
Jangali Ram draws water from a tubewell before carrying it back to her home, Bastipur, Nepal
Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
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Jangali Ram draws water from a tubewell before carrying it back to her home, Bastipur, Nepal Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
Aasu Ram explains her toilet mural highlighting the spread of disease in open defecation, Bastipur, Nepal
Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
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Aasu Ram explains her toilet mural highlighting the spread of disease in open defecation, Bastipur, Nepal Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
Nama Maya Gurung used finance and training from the Micro-enterprise Development Program to create a business employing and training women in needlework skills, Nepal
Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
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Nama Maya Gurung used finance and training from the Micro-enterprise Development Program to create a business employing and training women in needlework skills, Nepal Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
Jangali Ram draws water from a tubewell in Bastipur, Nepal.
Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
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Jangali Ram draws water from a tubewell in Bastipur, Nepal. Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
A young girl washes cooking utensils outside her home in Nepal.
Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT.
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A young girl washes cooking utensils outside her home in Nepal. Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT.
Ganga Pun and her two daughters live in a single room in Pokhara, Nepal.
Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
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Ganga Pun and her two daughters live in a single room in Pokhara, Nepal. Photo by Jim Holmes for DFAT
A solar cooker uses the energy of the sun to cook, reducing deforestation in remote areas of Nepal.
Grant Dixon / Lonely Planet Images
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A solar cooker uses the energy of the sun to cook, reducing deforestation in remote areas of Nepal. Grant Dixon / Lonely Planet Images