Women building safe, affordable homes across Nepal

Women in Construction

There is large potential for women entrepreneurs in Nepal. Our experience shows that women can overcome social barriers and successfully start and grow their own construction enterprises, opening up the door for more women to work in the construction supply-chain as brick-makers, masons and even contractors. 


It is now 4 years since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. More than 400,000 families still live in unhealthy, temporary shelters. It is the poorest and most vulnerable that face the largest adversities.  Rural families and communities are facing insurmountable challenges but still many are able to take matters into their own hands.

“I remember when I stood among the debris and broken houses after the earthquake. This is where the idea to Build up Nepal was born; that the best way to rebuild is to help the affected families to do it themselves”,

says Björn Söderberg, founder of Build up Nepal.

In rural areas a large share of the men have migrated to find work in urban areas or abroad as migrant workers. In many villages, only women, children and elderly are left. We believe women are equally capable to work in construction In Nepal. Till date we have supported 25 women entrepreneurs to start their own sustainable construction enterprises.

Facing insurmountable challenges

To start building new homes in a remote rural villages is very hard; Widespread poverty. Costly transport. Lack of construction skills. Roads washed away by monsoon. These are some of the challenges facing the entrepreneurs and families. 

Design-thinking with SPRING accelerator

With support from DFID/DFAT/USAID funded SPRING Accelerator, Build up Nepal has been using design thinking and human-centred-design to test, refine and develop a scalable model to support women construction entrepreneurs in Nepal. The core of the model is to support woman micro-entrepreneurs to start local production of affordable, earthquake resistant Earth Bricks, using local soil, sand and cement. The result are earthquake resistant, sustainable homes at low cost, making it genuinely affordable for rural families to rebuild.

“Why should household expenses be only my husband’s responsibility. I am more than capable too”,

says Niruta BK, a driven woman entrepreneur in Jogidanda, Dhading.

Women in Construction

There is huge potential for integrating female entrepreneurs and masons in Nepal’s construction sector.  Build up Nepal’s 25 women entrepreneurs and hundreds of female brick-producers and masons show day-to-day that women are equally capable to build new homes.

Niruta BK is one of the woman entrepreneurs today leading the work to rebuild her village >> Niruta – 2 min of true inspiration – A MUST SEE

“The woman effect” – 30% increase of jobs for Women in Construction

A woman entrepreneur invest her time, money, blood, sweat and tears to start a construction enterprise in her community. The woman entrepreneurs paves the way and opens the door for other women to work in construction as masons, brick makers and even contractors.

Improved income, influence and status for women

Women have to work hard to break social norms to become successful construction entrepreneurs. Our experience supporting women entrepreneurs shows that it can be done with some additional support and coaching. Additionally, they’re more receptive to our training and coaching than their male counterparts, and more likely to follow best-practices.

The model has a strong multiplier effect, embedding the enterprise as a sustainable economic engine within the community creating new, secure jobs, safe homes and resilient communities. Each enterprise builds 20 houses annually, creates 30 jobs and reduces 90-ton of CO2 year-on-year.

With design thinking and in partnership with SPRING Accelerator we have been able to develop a scalable model that unlocks human potential of driven women in underserved rural areas. We are committed to scale our model and to transform Nepal’s rural construction ecosystem to include women and provide safe, sustainable, affordable housing to thousands of rural families in the coming years!

Learn more about how single-mother Parbati Sunar started her own construction enterprise and how Shanti Majhi built a new, safe home for her family >>

Facing insurmountable challenges women are taking matters into their own hands to build safe, new homes in their communities. Till date, Build up Nepal has supported 25 rural women entrepreneurs to start their own construction enterprises.