Long Term Impact of Development Interventions – Koshi Hills, Nepal


In June 2011 DFID commissioned this study in association with the National Planning Commission (NPC) of Nepal to assess the long term impact of development interventions in the Koshi Hills region of eastern Nepal. This study focused on a period of over forty years from the 1970s to 2013. The goals of the study were to understand the dynamics of economic and social change, to assess the role of development interventions and draw conclusions that may help shape future development policy-making and, more broadly, assess the approach taken to development by providing key insights into what has, and has not, impacted on the socio-economic development of this region that has experienced consistent development intervention. By shifting the lens to the long term, the ‘wide impact’ and towards beneficiary-driven needs, hoping this will influence the debate on what constitutes effective development and how donor led development interventions should be conceived and designed in the future.

The study found that the people of the Koshi Hills region are better off now than in the 1970s across a range of indicators: quality of life has improved, living standards have increased and poverty has reduced. Long-term changes in economic opportunities both within and outside Koshi hills have been identified, and improvements in quality of life both at an individual and household level have been found.

The main driver of this change has been the energy and initiative of ordinary men and women struggling to protect, maintain and enhance their livelihoods and improve the quality of their lives and that of their children. They were integral to the investment and expenditure driving the growth of the local economy and generating improvements in local society. Development interventions by government and the donor community have made a significant contribution to this change, but not as much as development practitioners would have liked or even expected.

Component research studies included over 1,000 pages of primary and secondary research findings, including a full documentary review, economic modelling, poverty impact assessment, primary qualitative research and thorough secondary analyses. A summary report was produced that attempts to capture the high-level summary findings of the larger research study, drawing conclusions from analysis conducted using the primary and secondary data collected in the independent research studies. This report presents a brief introduction to the research study, an abbreviated description of the primary research methods used, descriptive results of the major long term changes in the region and the results of further analysis into the key drivers of these long term changes.

Documents attached to this output are:-

  • Documentary Review
  • Documentary Review Annexes
  • Geographical information systems (GIS) mapping
  • Analysis of district-level poverty data
  • Economic analysis
  • Reality check approach (RCA) Study
  • Summary Report (English)
  • Summary Report (Nepali)
  • Summary Report (Presentation)


NPC/DFID. Long Term Impact of Development Interventions – Koshi Hills, Nepal. National Planning Commission Secretariat, Government of Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal (2013)

Published 1 January 2013