Featured Case Studies


Supporting communities to transition out of poverty

Photo courtesy: NAFA

NAFA is a volunteer-run, non-profit, non-religious organisation, founded in 1989, with a focus on supporting health, education, economic development and the environment and an emphasis on remote villages and families who are particularly disadvantaged.

NAFA has a proven track record in supporting sustainable, grass roots community development projects in Nepal.


Details of support

In 2015 a devastating earthquake struck Nepal causing mass destruction across the country. In the Tawal region the Pasang Chowk Agricultural Co-operative (Co-op) had been working with NAFA since 2013 to build up their sustainability and now the villagers were left with no ongoing sustainable source of income and with homes and public assets in ruins.

Since 2016 a partnership with the English Family Foundation and NAFA has funded these Co-op members in five rural subsistence farming villages to support their pathway towards increased and sustainable income, building their resilience, leadership, and ability to explore new market opportunities. Using a community development and market-based theory of change to track progress this successful partnership has demonstrated increased income and savings across the Co-op members and critically has enabled greater community wellbeing and more pathways out of poverty.


This partnership demonstrates that significant social outcomes are possible with small, strategic funding programs.


Evidence of the partnership’s success to date include capacity building as the Co-op now has a full-time manager who has brought new opportunities to the Co-op through access to markets and even government funding. The Co-op now has clear leadership and governance structures in place, with increasing membership, particularly targeting the most impoverished ethnic minorities. Since the installation of a hi-tech (fogger system) nursery in December 2018 the Co-op has begun to successfully diversify the crops grown in the area. A Co-op Savings Bank, the first bank ever established in the area, was formed not long after the Co-op was established in 2013. Achievements have been curtailed since 2020 due to the Covid 19 lockdown.

Why did we pursue this partnership?

NAFA’s model of development in Nepal is very special. Effective overseas aid requires more than good intentions. It should incorporate a framework for best practice that leads to better processes and outcomes. So it is not only WHAT that they do but also HOW they do it. NAFA listens and negotiates rather than tells people what to do; values and utilises local knowledge and practices; strengthens local capacity; and where possible establishes baseline data to evaluate and measure change over time.

What have we learned?

Philanthropy comes in all shapes and sizes but we at the English Family Foundation have learnt it is at its most compelling when the right funding placed into community led initiatives at the right time provides those communities with the inner strength and confidence to successfully transition out of poverty. Disadvantaged and developing economies face much fewer economic choices than those of richer developed countries, and this is a major barrier to their progressing out of poverty. Low-income families need to be aided to solve their own problems, not temporarily rescued with outside resources.

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