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Supporting Nepal’s Transition to Federalism


  • Federalism has shifted core governance functions to Nepal’s local governments (LGs).
  • Abt is empowering LGs to tackle their new responsibilities.
  • Abt has enhanced local capacity and strengthened federalism policy frameworks.
The Challenge

Nepal’s 2015 Constitution and 2017 local elections have set the stage for the country’s transition to federalism. The shift has devolved core governance functions and responsibilities for public service delivery to seven provinces and 753 local governments.

Federalism has the potential to strengthen democratic accountability by bringing governance closer to citizens. However, realizing federalism’s promise will require building a clear policy and regulatory framework and enhancing provincial and local government capacity.

The Approach

USAID’s Sajhedari – Support to Federalism, implemented by Abt, provides focused capacity building and technical assistance to strengthen targeted provincial and local governments. The project has three main objectives:

  • Support evidence-based legislation and policies that empower, finance, and regulate provincial and local governments
  • Enhance the accountability, transparency, and inclusiveness of local decision-making, leading to improved public services
  • Empower citizens (including marginalized populations) and civil society organizations to engage in local decision-making and oversight.
The Results

Key achievements from Sajhedari’s first year include:

  • Five studies, which identified the key policy and capacity constraints impeding local governance and provided strategic recommendations to address them
  • Targeted capacity building and training for almost 700 local government officials, members of civil society, and community-based organizations
  • Technical assistance supporting the formulation of 10 local policy documents
  • Rapid assessments and monitoring to maintain the federal government’s visibility on evolving COVID-19 conditions in targeted local governments.