Practical Action: Rebuilding Infrastructure for Sustainable Energy Access, Nepal

Charity: Practical Action

Project: Rebuilding Infrastructure for Sustainable Energy Access (RISE), Nepal

Grants: £25,000 in 2016 and £10,000 in 2017

Key achievements:

Repair of three earthquake proof micro hydro power stations providing electricity for a large area of rural Nepal

Training provided on preparing business plans and productive use of energy in local communities in Gorkha

Five new enterprises set up using day-time, off peak energy, creating 12 new jobs


On 25th April 2015, Nepal was hit by a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake which killed thousands of people, injured many more and left more than 600,000 homeless. The earthquake damaged seven Micro-Hydro Power Systems (MHPS) supported by Practical Action in the Gorkha District which was at the epicentre of the earthquake. As a result approximately 2200 households and 25 enterprises lost their electricity.

After the earthquake a Rebuilding Infrastructure for Sustainable Energy Access (RISE) project successfully restored three of Gorkha’s MHPS, with an earthquake resilient design. The Coles-Medlock Foundation supported a follow up programme which saw Practical Action work with the communities in Gorkha to develop technologies and business models that could benefit from the renewed energy supply and transform lives. Training was provided on starting and running new businesses and productive energy use, leading to the launch of five new enterprises. A further nine business plans for enterprises ranging from computing to bakeries, grinding and crushing mills were developed during a three day workshop. The follow-up phase also funded the servicing of the three MHPS and enabled monitoring activity which will continue to provide valuable feedback for learning and improvements to similar future projects.

At a workshop at the end of the project, it was reported that the managers and operators of the MHPS were receiving regular payments from the scheme. Participants recommended further work so local livelihoods can continue to recover and improve.