The term “development” is a vague and much misunderstood by people. The meaning ranges from strictly economic to broad socio-economic status of the country which in themselves are also open to interpretations and extrapolations defining what constitutes the well-being of a nation. On one hand, traditional economic development analytics emphasizes on GDP growth, inflation, employment and balance of trade whereas socio-economic models throws in inequality, gender inclusiveness, access to nutrition, education, life expectancy, political stability and other indicators for a more accurate definition of development or “well-being”. The following is one way to look at development of Nepal.

An isolated, agrarian society until the mid-20th century, Nepal entered the modern era in 1951 without schools, hospitals, roads, telecommunications, electric power, industry, or civil service. The country has, however, made progress toward sustainable economic growth since the 1950s and opened the country to economic liberalization leading to economic growth and improvement in living standards than compared to the past.

Nepal has used a series of five-year plans in an attempt to make progress in economic development. It completed its ninth economic development plan in 2002; its currency has been made convertible, and 17 state enterprises have been privatized. Foreign aid to Nepal accounts for more than half of the development budget. Nepal receives substantial amounts of external assistance from the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries. Several multilateral organizations such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, United Nations and scores of INGOs such as Save the Children and Oxfam also provide assistance.

Agriculture remains Nepal’s principal economic activity, employing about 65% of the population and providing 31.7% of GDP. Only about 20% of the total area is cultivable; another 40.7% is forested; most of the remaining is mountainous. Rice, wheat, corn, tea, spices are the main crops of Nepal. The lowland Terai region produces an agricultural surplus, part of which supplies the food-deficient hill areas.
Nepal’s primary exports are woolen carpets, polyester yarn, juices, tea, spices, textiles, jute goods and readymade garments mainly to India followed by US, Germany, China and the UK. Nepal’s primary imports are petroleum products, steel billets, gold, construction equipment, cement clinkers, rice, and telecommunications equipment mainly from India followed by China, UAE and Thailand. Today Nepal’s long-standing annual trade deficit of over $11 billion is no longer offset by migrant workers’ remittances, instead Nepal runs deficit in both current account and balance of payments.
Government priorities over the years have been the development of hydro-power, transportation, communications, education, agriculture and tourism. Nepal has substantial progress, more or less depending upon specific sectors but the rate and status of development is far from complete or satisfactory.
Nepal is highly vulnerable to natural disasters such as the 2015 earthquake and climate change such as the glacier melt-down which can push populations back into poverty, destroy infrastructure and undermine growth but Nepal has yet to develop a working disaster reduction and recovery system. Nepal has 83,000 MW of theoretical and 42,133 MW of technically/financially viable hydroelectric potential, however the total installed capacity, at present, is mere 1095 MW.
As per global tourism competitiveness index, Nepal ranks 103rd position, far behind China’s 15th and India’s 40th rank. Likewise, World Travel and Tourism Council puts the share of tourism sector in Nepal’s GDP at 5%, far behind 10% for India. Nepal has made impressive strides in reducing chronic under-nutrition nationally to 36 percent, infant mortality rate to 2. 5 % of live births and raising life expectancy to 71 years lately. The country’s pathetic response to the coronavirus pandemic openly indicate Nepal’s vulnerability and lack of systemic response protocols.

The net enrolment rate in primary schools has risen to 97 per cent and adult literacy to 68%, however issues of child labor, gender bias and sub-standard quality still haunts public education. Latest unemployment rate show 4.4 % for Nepal which is relatively good compared to most countries in the world but actual conditions are disguised by unaccounted rural family farming, labor migration and student study abroad. There are about 60,000 Nepali students enrolled overseas for higher education. More than 1,500 Nepalese migrate for work every day to countries such as the Gulf states, Malaysia and India.

Nepal is the 16th poorest country in the world and the second poorest in Asia (after Afghanistan) in terms of per capita income. 23% of the population of 28 million people live on less than $1.25 a day. Currently, Nepal ranks 105th out of 157 countries in progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
Economic development in Nepal has been complicated and affected by the constant change in political scenarios which has emerged from abolition of monarchy, civil war, insurgency and a new federal constitution under multi-party system. The biggest challenges faced by the country in achieving higher economic development are the frequent changes in political leadership as well as corruption.

Each internship is individually customized, designed and organized with consultation with the Intern, taking into consideration of personal circumstances such as objectives, physical conditions and preferences on the following arrangements. International development may be focused in any of the wide-ranging sectors below,

Education, Health, Social Service, Women Empowerment, Environment, Urban Development, Industrial Development, Agriculture, Energy, Infrastructure, Banking & Finance, Tourism, Entrepreneurship, and Research.


  • Fall: September 2nd to November 30th – 90 days
  • Spring: January 17th to April 16th – 90 days
  • Summer: May 22nd to August 20th – 90 days

Select cities or towns or villages in Nepal upon consultations and recommendations.

Curriculum and Activities
Choices will be available in terms of the form of internship sought by the Interns such as focus sector, office or field experience. Based on consultations with the intern, host institution and locations shall be confirmed.

Institutional Hosting
Depending upon sector preferences, internship host may be selected that best fulfills the objectives of and interest of the Intern. Wide range of institutions and agencies such INGOs, NGOs, CSOs, schools and universities, hospitals, Nepal Government, development project implementing agencies and private companies may be considered as host of the internship. Some examples of institutional partners are suggested as follows

Restless Development, Daayitwa, Oxfam, ICIMOD, Helvetas, Nick Simmons Institute, Action Aid, Practical Action, Equal Access International, Niti Foundation, International Nepal Fellowship, Partnership for Sustainable Development, Kathmandu Municipality, Ghale Village Development Committee.

An expert in international development will be assigned to the intern as a mentor to advise and guide the internship in matters related to Nepal as well as the academic and professional substance of the internship.

Orientation Program – 7 days

  • Homestay – 1 week
  • Culture: “do-not” precautions / hygiene behavior / festivals / ethnic mapping / ethnic mapping
  • Language: basic conversational Nepali / gender gears / status protocols
  • Living logistics: getting around / shopping / electricity / internet / phone – mobile
  • Talk Series: economics and politics of development of Nepal
  • Consultations with internship mentor
1 Orientation to Nepal and Internship/ Introduction to Mentor
Local Homestay
2 Host Institution – Kathmandu, mentor consultation
Move to apartment accommodation
3 Host Institution – Kathmandu, mentor consultation
4 Travel Excursion
5 Travel Excursion
6 Field-work – Rural Location, On-site accommodation
7 Field-work – Rural Location
8 Field-work – Rural Location
9 Field-work – Rural Location
10 Host Institution – Job Shadowing, mentor consultation
Move into apartment accommodation
11 Host Institution – Job Shadowing, mentor consultation
12 Internship Report, mentor consultation
13 Personal Week


  • Urban Housing:
    Shared Catered Apartments – includes weekly cleaning and maintenance
    Facilities – bathroom, kitchen with stove and refrigerator, washing machine, basic furniture and bed mattress, fan or heating appliances,
    Utilities – electricity and water not included
  • Rural Housing – includes weekly cleaning and maintenance, cooking and laundry
    Facilities – bathroom, kitchen with stove, basic furniture and bed mattress, fan or heating appliances,
    Utilities – electricity and water included

A getaway trip which includes visit to another part of the country with some sort of culture exposures and outdoor adventures. Exact dates and destination to be planned upon consultations.

Internship Cost: Full Package – US$ 7200
The cost covers airfare from the nearest international airport, airport pick-up and drop-off, orientation session, accommodation, all inclusive two weeks excursion, mentoring and academic consultations. Cost quote to be firmed up individually for each internship customized to intern’s requirements.

Internship Cost: Without Airfare – US$ 5700
Internship Cost: Without Airfare and Excursion – US$ 3900