Skill Up! Strengthening Skills Development, Creating Future Perspectives project in Nepal is a part of global program being funded by Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Germany and implemented in 8 countries of Asia and Africa by Welthungerhilfe (WHH), Germany.

In Nepal, it is being implemented by Center for Environmental and Agricultural Policy Research, Extension and development (CEAPRED) in partnership with WHH. Skill Up! program has been initiated to accelerate the inclusive economic development activities to the least developed Provinces (province 6 and 7) in Nepal which ensures economic growth (prosperity), environmental protection (planet) and inclusion of most vulnerable and marginalized population groups (people) in the developmental mainstream. It is a 42 months project started from 1st November 2019 to 30th April 2023.

The project is being implemented in Surkhet and Salyan districts of Karnali province and Kanchanpur district of Sudur Paschim Province. The intervention will promote the inter-province learning sharing and exchange as well as evidence fine-tuning for policy influence. The youths (gender balanced and inclusion of minority groups) are the primary target groups of the project and at least 2,994 (50% women) individuals will directly be benefitted from the skill transfer activities, including in-house courses (478 youths) and extension-based training approach/ farmer field schools (2,516 farmers). The project targets the marginalized population groups such as women, Dalit and tribal/ ethnic minority. The project also targets to establish at least 15 Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). CEAPRED will partner with field-based institutes such as technical schools/ colleges, private company and cooperatives to implement the program. The project will be affiliated with vocational training accreditation body such as Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) as intermediaries and will work with government bodies and civil society networks and associations for green economy policy advocacy.

Program Background

skillup nepal

There are currently 2.4 billion young people aged 15-35 in the world, of which around 87% live in developing countries (UNDESA, 2017). Over the next 15 years, about 1.6 billion people in low- and middle-income countries will reach the working age (World Bank, 2017). A large part of these young people will be living in rural areas, where most of them will seek their first job. They will however face great difficulties in finding decent and productive employment in rural areas because the employment opportunities that the current agrarian society/ system can offer are very limited. Rural areas are nevertheless full of resources, most of which remain untapped offering a large potential to generate economic opportunities in the agriculture and food sector. The effective utilization of those resources will help address the rural employment challenge.

With 71 million unemployed youth worldwide and more than 160 million young workers living in poverty, youth employment is a top concern (ILO, 2017). This is particularly urgent in rural areas, where the lack of productive and decent employment opportunities is a common cause of poverty, food insecurity, economic fragility and distress migration. Beyond unemployment, the main challenge faced by young people in rural areas is widespread underemployment and the low quality of jobs available. Most rural youth are typically employed on a casual or seasonal basis as contributing family workers, subsistence farmers or unskilled workers. Globally, around 46% of young people are rural, and in low-income countries. In South Asia, the number of rural youths has increased in the last decade. Agriculture employs 43% of the active population in South Asia. The development of skills provision, production support services and the post-harvest section of agricultural value chains, including processing, marketing and retailing, could create many jobs for rural youth. Farm and off-farm jobs can be created along agricultural value chains linked to agri-business development and related support services.

Poverty and malnutrition are two major developmental issues that Nepal is facing currently. The landlocked and mountainous country has its own limitation in terms of manufacturing industrialization and agriculture commercialization, yet huge green business and diversify production system opportunity exists which are yet to be tapped properly. There is a greater scope of SMEs development which primarily based on locally skills and human resources. Nepal has set a target of 7% fiscal growth rate for 2018/19, despite this the past learnings has suggested the economic growth has been unable to create jobs and self-employment opportunities in rural and semi-urban areas. The unemployment and poverty are much higher in western part of the country compared to the eastern and central regions. The rapidly growing demand for food in in Nepal due to growing population, urbanization and rising incomes will offer new employment opportunities. The development of agri-food systems in the country can create new on-farm and off-farm jobs in both upstream and downstream of agricultural value chains and enhance the attractiveness of farm work for the younger generations. Additional jobs can be created in input supply, service provision, aggregation, processing, distribution, and marketing. It is therefore essential to support young people to integrate into agricultural value chains, by facilitating their skill enhancement and access to markets, finance, land and other productive resources and services, as well as helping them develop the necessary skills.

To mainstream/ streamline the skill transfers to youth, Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) was established in Nepal, in 1989, which is a national autonomous apex body of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector committed to produce technical and skillful human resources required to the nation. It mainly involves in policy formulation, quality control, preparation of competency-based curriculum, developing skill standards of various occupations and testing the skills of the people, conduct various research studies and training needs assessment etc. Nepal government has provided a target to CTEVT for providing vocational training of 3 months to 42,000 youths in 2018/19 fiscal year. In agriculture sector, CTEVT produce the skill human resources through following courses:

  • 3 years course (33 months theory + 3 months on-the-job training) for Technical Agriculture
  • 3 years course (33 months theory + 3 months on-the-job training) for Animal Health Worker
  • 1.5 years course (12 months theory + 6 months on-the-job training) for Junior Technical Agriculture
  • 3 months vocational training on Community Livestock Assistant, Community Agriculture Assistant, Mushroom cultivation, off-season vegetables, etc.

Program Structure

The problem/situation analysis of overall green economic development in the country and at targeted areas are discussed under following three headings which also reflect the project’s proposed three output areas –

  1. The concept of business incubation (of promising youth entrepreneurs) is emerging globally and in Nepal as well. However, there is not a single incubation service provider in the country which provides incubation and business development services for circular economy, including green skills and green SMEs business strategy/ plan development. Hence, in coordination and collaboration with stakeholders, government and other likeminded organization; there is a high need of green incubation centre in the country that provides trainings, manage green business information system, produce standardized green skill curriculum, standard operating procedure of green skills service providers, and to facilitate market access to entrepreneurs. Such institutes can also play a vita role in green skills and green economy advocacy process and can provide the evidence for policy formulation.

    There is a strong need to impart skills on self-employment by supporting the existing skill development institutions at every level of their skill development activity right from the trainee mobilization to the post-skill trainee handholding support. Some of the gaps in current skill development ecosystems are information management system and knowledge management, standardize course curricula which is market & scientifically vetted, quality & participatory based training material, quality trainers, post-training support like trainee business planning & mentoring, establishment of credit & market linkages, and convergence with other agencies. To bridges these gaps, there is a need of an incubation centre established based on multi-stakeholder convergence framework, which effectively delivers the multiple services. The need of such institute is much higher than any time before to facilitate following non-exhaustive services:

    • Entrepreneurship Development Support/ service
    • Research and Public Policy Advocacy
    • Learning Development Support
    • Institutional Development Support

    And, there are good practice example already exists at international level. The learnings of green college projects in India led to the establishment of multi-purpose green incubation institute to create a one door systems of service provision for consistency, efficacy, knowledge management and research and advocacy process. In collaboration with other partners such as GIZ, WHH has been the pioneer agency in setting up an incubation hub called Skill Green Global. The institute provides pre-skill services (skill gap assessment; trade identification; trainee mobilization strategy), skill delivery support (Course Curriculum, Training Material & Manual; Train the Trainer Program Technical Support on Courses/Vocations/Trades; Facilitation in Assessment & Certification), and post-skill services (Micro/ Small Business Planning Support; Credit Linkages; Establishing Market Linkages; Facilitation in Collective Action).

    The project target areas/ Provinces are one of the least developed geographical regions in the country where non-such incubation service providers are physically present. Hence, it becomes vital to work on incubation area that the GCs to be established and entrepreneurs to be developed by the project relate to incubation ecosystem.

  2. About only 10% of the Nepalese workforce is regularly employed, and every year over 200,000 new people enter the labour supply market. About 70% of the Nepalese population is rural but most skill training providers are located around urban centres. Over 1,500 youth alone migrate to Golf countries every day for the jobs. Similarly, about 70% rural youth come to cities or migrate creating lack of local workforce for rural economy development - feminization of agriculture in the country. Nepal imported food products worth Rs 40 billion in 2016/17. Limited employment oprtunities exists in project target area as most of the manufacturing and service industries as well as SMEs are concentrated at central and eastern regions of the country.

    Over 60% population in Nepal depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, but country’s agriculture is based on subsistence farming system. This however also creates huge opportunities for the policy makers and development agencies to unlock the potential of agriculture sector for job creation and overall economic development. Agriculture sector still employs approx. 43% of the active population in the country, and by ensuring the skills provision, production support services and the post-harvest section of agricultural value chains, including processing, marketing and retailing, could create many jobs for rural youth in Nepal and project target areas. Farm and off-farm jobs can be created along agricultural value chains linked to agri-business development and related support services.

    Nepal has tremendous added value for agro-ecological based agriculture production system and even country has potential to be transformed as organic state. This opportunity is in the discussion for many years at Nepalese society and unfortunately commercialization and use of external inputs and harmful pesticides is at increasing trend. People, who are aware of excessive use of chemical pesticides and fertilizer that are hazardous to their health, are looking for chemical free products but the supply is limited. Greening is possible but it takes time based on the awareness level of consumers and change in the attitude of commercial farmers towards green business.

  3. Nepal is currently in the process of decentralization and restructuring of administration and governance based on the 2015 Constitution. Local and provincial elections took place in 2017, for the first time after 20 years. Over the last 15 years, Nepal has made significant progress in poverty reduction; poverty rates fell from 45% in 1995-96 to just over 20% in 2017-18. However, ensuring inclusive economic growth, food and nutrition security and reaching zero hunger by 2030 remains a challenge for the country. Previous local structures (e.g. Village Development Committees - VDCs) were dissolved in the restructuring process and replaced by municipal and local administrations (Wards) with changed spatial responsibilities. Government structures at the district level have lost decision-making power and influence, and the provincial level now monitors local government authorities for policy and program implementation. The makes important for the project to work closely with local level government that their capacity is developed, and that project synergy is also created. The project will collaborate with local governments that project complements their overall developmental plan and programs in the target area.

    Nepal imported food products worth Rs 40 billion in 2016/17 and country is seeing feminization of agriculture due to migration of youths (mainly male youth) to India and Golf countries. Policy makers have to think and plan innovative business model to reduce this import dependency and manage male-youth migration. Researches have shown the rural and semi-urban area can also significantly contribute to country’s GDP and overall economic development process. Since Nepal is predominantly agrarian society and almost 70% population live in rural and semi-urban areas, there needs to be shift in policy thinking and non-city areas should not only be considered as raw material supplier, but also the producer, processor, trader and consumers. The remittance-based economy has already increased the purchasing power of Nepalese rural population significantly.

    There is no dedicated policy on green economy. However, different forest policies of Nepal highlight forest-based enterprises for income generation through sustainable forest management, which has a direct link with green enterprises. The Forestry Sector Strategy (2016) focuses on the endorsement of forest-based enterprises for economic growth and poverty reduction of poor and marginalized people. The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan has also given priority to program for NTFP and other green enterprise promotion in community forests to improve the local people’s living standards. The Nepal Climate Change Policy (2011) focuses on an ecosystem-based approach to adaptation. The overarching climate change policy framework in Nepal includes the expanded National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) 2010, National Framework on Local Adaptation Plans for Action (LAPA) 2011, and Low Carbon Resilient Development Strategy (currently in the process of formulation). Climate resilience has also been integrated into the planning process at the national level, sectorial, and program levels, including national development plans; agriculture, energy, and forest sector plans, and disaster risk management programmes. The GC initiative aligns with the Government of Nepal’s commitment to adapt agriculture and forestry practices to climate change and introduces technology and practices that reduces carbon emersion in agriculture, forestry, and energy sector in Nepal. The government of the Karnali Province has drafted a bill for organic province and submitted it to the provincial parliament.

    There is a great need of multi-stakeholder approach is developing the green economic development process as the theme itself cross-cuts the multi-sectors. The feasibility assessment didn’t find any mechanism at local, province and national levels to bring together the concerned actors into common coordination and policy formulation platforms. This gap serves as an opportunity to the project. With reference to the feasibility assessment findings and stakeholder consultation, some of the activity area that potentially reduces the green growth gaps are:

    • Establish multi-stakeholder coordination mechanism at all levels;
    • Knowledge product development for green economy knowledge management and advocacy process;
    • Information, knowledge and learnings exchange;
    • Policy dialogue and consumer awareness.

The Project Purpose (Outcome)

1. Green vocational service providers and entrepreneurs are constantly getting technical, institutional, managerial, information access and incubation services with the establishment of Inclusive Business Incubator (Impact at Scale Center)

2. Green vocational skills provision and enterprise development have been strengthened with the establishment of Green Colleges

3. Multi-sectoral coordination and policy advocacy towards Skill Up! approach strengthened at all levels (micro-meso-macro)


Welthungerhilfe (WHH)

Since its establishment in 1962, Welthungerhilfe is one of the largest private aid organisations in Germany. It is politically independent and non-denominational. Welthungerhilfe is fighting hunger around the world and is focusing its work around the Sustainable Development Goal 2: “Zero Hunger by 2030”. The organisation’s actions are guided by the conviction that all people are equal in value, they have inalienable rights, and they should be able to control their own lives. In close collaboration with local partners, WHH enables people to break out of hunger and poverty sustainably, with measurable impact, and with integrity and accountability. Welthungerhilfe pursues a dual mandate to ensure actions meet the needs of target groups: providing programmes for short-term disaster relief as well as long-term development. To achieve sustainable food and nutrition security among the most vulnerable, these programmes link our key focus areas interrelated with hunger – agriculture and environment; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); economic development; humanitarian assistance; climate change; and civil society and advocacy.


CEAPRED is a non-profit, non-political, and non-government organization established in April 1991. It is registered at the District Administration Office, Lalitpur, registered with Inland Revenue Office Lalitpur and has affiliation with the Social Welfare Council of Nepal. The Center is a value - based organization committed to human cantered sustainable development. The overall objective of CEAPRED is to reduce poverty, enhance food security, empower women, and create employment for youths of Nepal. The specific objectives are: to promote commercial high-value agriculture, livestock and agro-processing activities based on local comparative advantages; introduce improved production technologies that safeguard human health and environment; design and deliver specialized package of development services to ensure youth entrepreneurship, active participation of women in decision-making and benefit sharing , and organize, train and institutionalize local community groups so that development is locally owned, managed and sustained.


Environment will be created to provide access for the most vulnerable minorities including women, people with disabilities, marginalized groups etc, as well as communities who are living in geographically remote areas. in taking part in the trainings/mentoring programme, becoming a mentor and receiving support after training. A project support unit (PSU) comprised of representatives from WHH, CEAPRED, selected Green college, respective Municipality/ Province will be formed to provide strategic guidance to the implementation of the project. The PSU will develop a clear definition on the target group and transparency regarding the selection process and selection criteria of the trainees, facilitators, mentors and mentees. The marginalized groups, women and vulnerable young people will be given priority in all cases.


Within the Skill Up! Programme, the trainings will be demand-driven and future oriented, imparting knowledge that is on demand at the labor market. Market studies will be carried out at the beginning of the project and repeated in the beginning of second and third year in order to introduce new trends on the labor market into the project work. The training will be designed as flexible as possible in order to be able to react promptly to changes in the labor market. New and innovative approaches will be tried out in skills development. This will lead to a higher level of employment. Wherever possible, synergies to those sectors will be used in which WHH and CEAPRED have specific competencies. The training approach will be anchored on dynamics and will be flexible towards changes in the future. Emphasis will be given on practical trainings (practice-oriented) using the existing facilities of the selected institutions for green colleges. Besides, training will also cover the topics on life skill, entrepreneurship development and access to finance.


The curricula used for the vocational training will be developed such a way that is relevant to employment and geared to the market demand. This also applies to the training of the Trainers (TOTs). The stakeholders, like government agencies and private sector will be included in the development of the curricula. Three core components of skills: technical, business and life skills will be the base for curricula development. Technical skills will be for example in the field of agriculture, animal husbandry, mechanics, electrical, agro-processing, etc. The business skills fill focus on skill development in accounting, marketing, sales, services, etc. The life skills trainings are value based and impart knowledge with regard to communication, nutrition, health, relationships etc. (Nepal project yet to decide modalities and soft skills areas to be included in the training program). The curricula will be developed in modular-kit form with relevant contents for diverse training needs i. e. suitable for adult learning as well formal or informal learning.

Various tools and methods will be applied during training period and during follow-up for capacity building of the trainee participants and sustaining the outcomes. These will include arrangement of include exchange visits, exposures, peer-to-peer learning (participants as well as facilitators and mentors), backstopping and mentoring etc. Besides, capacity building of the implementing partner organizations is also equally important. The events like project review workshops, exchange between the projects. The aim of the exchange visits and cross learning is also to transfer the learnings back to the organization to ensure an improvement in the operations in future and upscaling of the results.


To contribute to policy making and achieve sustainability, coordination will be developed, and networking will be established with the relevant government (provincial ministries, municipalities, CTEVT etc.) and private sector stakeholders (cooperatives, Agro-vets, industries) and likeminded projects/programs. Focus will be laydown on public-private partnerships for selection of the training participants, placements, scholarships, as well as for the establishment and recognition of a non-formal TVET sector within the country. It will also generate cross-cutting synergies in cooperation with other organizations, associations, institutes etc.

The Skill Up! project will work closely with Provincial governments, Municipalities, CTEVT and private sector so that curricula and certificates are recognized by employers and government agencies and thus represent an accepted quality for the training. This will promote the non-formal education system within the country.


The Skill Up! project will work with a modular system with variable duration (ranging from few-days modules to 3-months courses). This will have the advantage that various training subjects (technical, business, life skills) will be combined as needed as they take into account the previous knowledge and experience of the youths. Dual training forms will be applied which combine the acquisition of practical skills and theoretical knowledge.

Through the Skill Up! project, the participants will continue developing learning skills (technical skills, business skills, life skills) and knowledge throughout their lifetimes and apply them with confidence, creativity and enjoyment in all roles, circumstances and environment. It will make communities more productive and innovative, as workers create and discover new abilities and ideas. To promote this process and sustain it, project will facilitate an exchange between the trainees and graduates for mentoring and post-training support.


Mentoring and post training support will be an integral part of the Skill Up! program aiming skills development of the trainees in the challenges during application of the training skills and help them to further develop their capacities and pursue achieving their objectives. The difficulties arising in everyday life will be reflected during the mentoring meetings and support will be provided to the young people in finding solutions. The post-training-mentoring will play a decisive role in supporting graduates in their transition to the labor market. The arrangement will be made to engage the subject matter vocational teachers from the technical schools to visit the trained graduates at their sites at least once every moth for a period of one year to monitor the progress of the student and help them resolve the issues arising. A refresher course will be arranged for those who fall behind in practicing the skills and follow-up mentoring will be continued after the course for at least three months.

To create ownership of the trainees, some contribution of the trainees to the training costs will be provisioned. The contribution ranges between 5 – 20%. When determining the amount, the social and economic situation of the applicants will be considered. A subsidy system for very poor trainees will be developed, which means that training fees might only be symbolic in hardship cases. But contribution is considered necessary as it is perceived to increase the commitment and ownership.


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Welthungerhilfe (WHH), Nepal
Bakhundole, Lalitpur 44600

CEAPRED ( Kathmandu and Surkhet)
Shantibasti, Nayabato (Ringroad), Lalitpur