LUMANTI Support Group for Shelter’s first CLIFF project, in Kohalpur, Nepal, provided homes for 755 individuals in four slum settlements. Whilst the Kohalpur initiative was underway, LUMANTI began work on a low-income rental project in Lalitpur. Located just across the Bagmati River from Kathmandu, the project will provide 24 rental apartments for low income families. This is LUMANTI’s first rental housing initiative and aims to demonstrate an innovative housing solution for Nepal’s poor. LUMANTI hopes that the success of the project will encourage the government to develop a robust policy for rental housing for low income families across the country.
As well as continuing work on the Lalitpur project over the next year, LUMANTI will begin four further projects, taking CLIFF to new cities and providing homes for 3,350 people from Nepal’s poor areas. The projects are focused on areas where community savings schemes are already in place and LUMANTI will seek to leverage further contributions and support from the government and other stakeholders. The new CLIFF project in Lekhnath marks a breakthrough in engaging the private sector in pro-poor projects. Kamana Development Bank will be working closely with LUMANTI to support the project through investing its own resources and providing banking services for community members.
Unfortunately, the year has not been without challenges and one of the biggest was the eviction of families in Kathmandu in May 2012. Despite efforts by LUMANTI and other organisations, government demolitions of squatter settlements along the Bagmati River left hundreds of families homeless. With the situation still ongoing, LUMANTI continues to play an important mediatory role and to support affected families, remaining hopeful that a compromise for new housing will be agreed between the families and government.
The evictions came at the same time as Nepal entered into economic and political uncertainty as the deadline to finalise the country’s Constitution passed without resolution. Whilst it is difficult to foresee the consequences of these developments, it is clear that it will add further complexity to Nepal’s context.
Despite these challenges, LUMANTI continues to strengthen its capacity so that it can provide support to those in need. Through workshops, exchanges and visits, it is focusing on finding cost-effective, replicable and sustainable solutions to Nepal’s urban housing issues, including the development of its own revolving loan fund to finance community-based housing initiatives. Looking ahead, LUMANTI plans to further expand its CLIFF portfolio and hopes to attract investment from other stakeholders to increase the potential and cost-effectiveness of these projects.
Shorter summary: Founded in 1993, LUMANTI Support Group for Shelter works with poor community groups in Nepal to improve access to housing and basic services and address the challenges of disasters and climate change. LUMANTI was instrumental in establishing and supporting a network of women’s savings and credit cooperatives in Nepal, with over 15,000 members. It works in alliance with the network and the community federation groups, Nepal Basobas Basti Samrakchan Samaj (NBBSS) and Nepal Mahila Ekata Samaj (NMES), to upgrade settlements, support community based finance schemes and to influence government policies around development and slum upgrading. LUMANTI joined CLIFF in 2010.