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Nepal Rural Access Programme – CONNECT Component Review

CONNECT is a component part of the Nepal Rural Access Programme Phase 3 (RAP3), one of the longest-standing and largest Department for International Development (DFID) programmes in western Nepal (Provinces 6, or Karnali Province, and Province 7).

It is well recognised and accepted that new roads and connectivity alone will not be a sufficient kick-start or generate economic activity along transport and economic corridors. To address this, a subcomponent of RAP (and the forerunner to CONNECT), the Social and Economic Development (SED) programme provided direct agricultural inputs (e.g. seeds, fertilisers) and training to targeted members of communities (direct beneficiaries) residing by or close to RAP roads to develop small agribusinesses.

The SED component was closed and reviewed in 2015. It was reconceptualised as CONNECT, with an aim to reduce poverty by increasing incomes and resilience through jobs, local roads, social protection support, market links to agribusiness and women-led micro-enterprises and small community infrastructure in 10 districts in the provinces. To this end, CONNECT applied Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) thinking in its interventions’ conceptualisation and design.

This report reviews the purpose and process of the CONNECT component of RAP3 with a view to identifying what has worked well and where improvements might be made in future programmes. The CONNECT component applied an M4P approach in designing and implementing its interventions.