Lack of transport infrastructure makes it virtually impossible for the poor to escape the poverty trap. Every year, we help around 1,000,000 people in various countries get better access to markets, schools, and hospitals.
Why rural access matters
Helping the poor grow crops, acquire education, and build hospitals are some of the things that come to mind when we think of supporting them. However, often the problem is not the absence of crops, schools, and medical facilities. Rather it is the access to them that poses the main challenge.
Lack of bridges and roads can imply that children skip school, farmers lose crops to pests before they can access markets, and that the sick can’t reach a medical facility or doctor before it’s too late. Those in rural communities either have to risk their lives crossing rivers and gorges or are stranded without access to vital resources and services.
Amritha Bhandari, mother and owner of a snack bar by the Ranighat suspension bridge, Hariharpur, Nepal
Helvetas believes that efficient transport infrastructure is key to breaking the poverty cycle. Hence, we improve the capacity of local communities to construct roads and bridges and empower local governments and other stakeholders to improve rural access.
In the past five years, from the collaboration of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the government of Nepal, and Helvetas, over 5,000,000 people gained improved access to schools, markets, and hospitals - all thanks to trail bridges.