Supporting livelihoods and new tech to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic

In Nepal, more than 70 per cent of the economically active population is involved in the informal sector, according to ILO. With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, this group together with migrants, daily wage earners and small business owners face severe constraints in terms of making a living - on top of the health hazards posed by the virus - and risk falling back or deeper into poverty. Local governments' ability to disseminate quick and accessible information about COVID-19, including through new digital solutions, must also be strengthened to fight the epidemic and its knock-on effects across the country. 

UNDP'S Response

UNDP is supporting Nepal to prepare, respond and recover, including by co-leading the Socio-Economic Recovery Cluster as part of the UN Country Team's Preparedness and Response Plan. The cluster is supporting existing recovery mechanisms and helps boosting public and private resource mobilisation to bolster rapid livelihood recovery and cash for work initiatives, targeting vulnerable groups.

To support response plans on the local level, UNDP's Accelerator Lab is partnering with the incubator CellApp Innovations and its ‘SmartPalika' (Smart Municipality) application to scale up features that support local governments to undertake live-tracking management, report quarantine data to the public, disseminate COVID updates – including automated reminders about handwashing – and allow users to self-assess and report on their health status. As about 300,000 Nepali migrants are expected to return home, the Lab is supporting SmartPalika to add a new feature which pre-reports the entry of returnees, helping local governments design preparedness and response plans.

Focal Points

  • Kamal Raj Sigdel
    Head of Communications
    UNDP Nepal
  • Yanki Ukyab
    Development Economist
    UNDP Nepal
  • Bisam Gyawali
    Head of Experimentation
    Accelerator Lab/UNDP Nepal