The Hindu Kush Himalaya covers the connected mountains of eight countries and is the source of 10 major rivers serving over 1.3 billion people, a fifth of the world’s population. These rivers and streams provide drinking water, ecosystem services, irrigation, hydropower and the basis for sustainable life before eventually reaching the oceans. With immense exposure to human development, the flow of water also carries inconceivable amounts of pollutants and disease severely threatening the biodiversity and surrounding communities. We are all connected by our oceans and rivers.
Nepal’s devastating pollution and lack of waste management has resulted in an environmental crisis and human health hazard. 70% of waste is dumped in rivers, in national parks, or it is gathered into heaping trash piles where it is burned on the side of streets. Carcinogenic pesticides are sprayed on open dumping sites to reduce the smell, which threatens the surrounding humans, animals, and areas.
Nepal has the potential for becoming a leading example for combating plastic pollution and creating thriving, sustainable communities in the region, if the appropriate circular waste streams are put in place. We can mitigate the effects of climate change by diverting organic matter from landfills and reducing the amount of plastic waste generated in developing countries. It starts with us.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, with more than 25% of the population living below the poverty line. Patriarchal attitudes and gender norms within Nepali society create even more difficulty with regards to women’s access to education, economic, and political resources. Today, 50% of the Nepalese population is unemployed. Women comprise 75% of the unemployed, leaving women and their children at severe risk of slavery, prostitution, and human trafficking.
Poverty and food insecurity within the country contribute to illegal child marriages. 37% of girls in Nepal are married before 18 and 10% are married by age 15. Families that do not have enough food to eat are more likely to marry their daughters at a young age to reduce their financial burden.
Clean City seeks to address gender inequalities. We focus on empowering, educating, and employing disadvantaged and marginalized women. Women most affected by social injustice and poverty will constitute at least 70% of our staff. By providing vocational training, we are helping women gain control of their lives and become financially independent members of society.
50% of the population of Nepal is unemployed. More than half the population is under the age of 35, and every year, more than 300,000 young people finish school and search for work. They are most often forced to work as cheap, unskilled labor or go abroad to work in Gulf countries. Today, 1/6th of the population lives abroad with 4,000 Nepalese leaving the country every day. Remittances play a big role in Nepal's economy. Roughly 30% of Nepal's GDP comes in the form of remittances, money sent home by Nepalese working abroad.
Nepal—one of the poorest countries in the world—is still recovering from the devastating economic impacts of the major earthquake that hit in April of 2015. Although there are 50,000 registered NGOs working in Nepal, the country is struggling to rebuild its economy.
Clean City believes the solution to these issues is to create a sustainable community business, which generates employment, wealth and economic security to dozens of locals. We believe a social business venture model is advantageous for many reasons, including:
It provides income generation opportunities that meet the basic needs of people who live in poverty.
It is sustainable. Revenue generated is capital reinvested in our mission. We do not depend on philanthropy and can sustain themselves over the long term.
It is scalable. Our model can be expanded or replicated to other communities to generate more impact.