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Sustainable Development Goals

How tourism can support sustainable economic growth

How tourism can support sustainable economic growth

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A vital part of the eighth Sustainable Development Goal is to promote the growth of small and medium sized enterprises and to achieve full and productive employment for everyone, including women and the disabled.


Creating well-paying and sustainable jobs is a particularly relevant concern to Nepal, where the majority of the working population is employed in small-scale agriculture.

Women and especially disabled women face multiple barriers in gaining access to employment. Being victims of double discrimination, disabled women are cast down, stigmatised and often excluded from the rest of the community. They have very little access to education (a majority receives no education at all) and they have very little opportunity when it comes to finding employment.  Accordingly, many becomes unemployed.

Thankfully, tourism has the potential to transform Nepal's economy and help lift many people out of poverty. Globally, the growth of the tourist industry is expected to outpace the global growth rate, while by 2030, 57% of global tourist arrivals will be to developing countries like Nepal. Accordingly, there exists real opportunities for the expansion of burgeoning small and medium sized enterprises, particularly in the hospitality sector, as Nepal caters for up to 1.5m tourists by 2020.  


Here at Hands on Development, we run 10-day cultural immersion tours and treks to Nepal. We employ those who need it the most and help create sustainable and inclusive jobs by partnering with Seven Women, which supports disabled and disadvantaged women from and around Kathmandu.

On our tours, participants attend Nepali language and cooking lessons run by the women, whilst also having the opportunity to purchase handcrafts made at the Seven Women Centre. In turn, the profits from these activities provide the women income whilst also supporting their ongoing education and vocational training.

Your support and participation does make a real and meaningful difference. 

Travel and support a more peaceful world

Travel and support a more peaceful world

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At its core, the sixteenth Sustainable Development Goal aims to reduce all forms of human exploitation and achieve a more peaceful, just and better-governed world. 

The challenges facing Nepal 

Despite having successfully emerging from the Civil War which plagued the country for a decade between 1996 to 2006, Nepal still struggles with human security issues. In the past few years, Nepal has faced a host of issues including civil unrest, human trafficking, separatism, crime and of course, natural disasters. 

A range of groups such as Dalits, women, the disabled and above all disabled women, continue to face discrimination and human rights violations. As victims of 'double discrimination,' disabled women are often denied basic rights such as access to healthcare, education and employment.

Our Impact 

Recognising that intercultural dialogue and understanding will lay the foundations of a more peaceful world, Hands on Development's tours are immersive and focus on facilitating cultural exchange. Participants have the opportunity to learn about Nepali language, culture and history while also having the chance to share their own skills, culture and perspectives with locals. 

Moreover, Hands on Development partners with a number of organisations who tackle Nepal's social and human security issues head-on. One such organisation is Maiti Nepal, an NGO who is at the forefront of the fight against human trafficking. 

Finally, we contribute to building a safer and more just Nepal by facilitating the employment of disabled and marginalised women. For example, we employ women from our partner-organisation, Seven Women, to teach tour participants Nepali language, cooking and handcraft skills. 

How to Holiday and support Sustainable Capitalism!

How to Holiday and support Sustainable Capitalism!

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Overconsumption and the inefficient use of resources is a huge challenge going forward as the world moves towards a sustainable economy. The twelfth Sustainable Development Goal aims to achieve responsible production and consumption by achieving a sustainable balance between natural resource use and economic growth.

Sustainably harnessing the power of tourism

Tourism accounts for 10% of global GDP and around 30% of global exports. Improving the sustainability of tourism is therefore crucial to achieving the twelfth SDG.

Unfortunately, stories too often abound of environmental damage and scarcity caused by the overconsumption of local resources. Mass influxes of tourists can also erode local cultures. When these things occur, it damages local communities and threatens the beauty which draws visitors in the first place. 

In Nepal, tourism puts pressure on already scarce local resources in places like Kathmandu. Tourism also contributes to local waste management problems. Nowhere is this more evident than on Mount Everest, where up to 50 tonnes of rubbish has accumulated. 

Be part of the solution

Fortunately, by focusing on sustainable and responsible tourism, companies like Hands on Development are offering affordable travel experiences which support rather than burden local communities. 

Our smaller tour group sizes minimise the impact on the local environment and preserves the sanctity of local sights. Participants also have the opportunity to support and learn about sustainable local enterprises. By engaging in cooking, craft and language classes, tour participants learn about the local culture and support economic development, all in a respectful and sustainable manner.

By choosing to holiday with Hands on Development, you can enjoy unforgettable experiences while directly contributing to the transition to a more sustainable global economy and tourism industry. Not only will the planet and local communities win, but you yourself will have a more memorable and meaningful experience. 

Seven Women’s exciting new venture

Seven Women’s exciting new venture


Here at Seven Women, we are thrilled to announce that work is well underway on setting up our very own Boutique Hotel, which should formally open no later than early next year. Contracts have been signed and brand new kitchen equipment from China has arrived!

New opportunities

Located in the beautiful and prestigious Lazimparth area of Kathmandu — close to several embassies and the glamorous Shangri-La Hotel — our boutique hotel will provide guests with comfortable and well located accomodation, not to mention friendly staff and warm service!

Most importantly however, the hotel will provide real time, hands-on hospitality training and employment for the marginalised women who Seven Women’s core mission it is to help. This is particularly important in the sense that although hospitality is a burgeoning industry in Nepal, women — particularly the disabled — are often excluded from these growing opportunities. 

Our hotel will teach women all the skills that they need to thrive in the industry, becoming a springboard from which they can launch their careers, all the while challenging patriarchal norms. By providing these women with skills and jobs, we will also be supporting the aim of the  Sustainable Development Goals to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth. 

Where this fits in

The opening of the hotel will mark a significant step in the journey and evolution of Seven Women. Going into the hospitality business is just one of a series of ventures we have embarked upon in recent years, as we have grown Seven Women to employ women in making handicrafts as well as teaching Nepali language and cooking skills.

The hotel itself will also be integrated into our relationship with Hands on Development tours, and tour participants will stay at the hotel during their tours. In doing this, tour goers will have yet another opportunity to support local, sustainable enterprise in Nepal.  

Eliminating poverty whilst travelling

Eliminating poverty whilst travelling

While tourism has a huge potential to lift entire populations out of poverty, currently only 5% of the revenue from tourism stays within local communities. Solely profit-driven tourism can also have adverse impacts on local communities. Through travelling with Hands on Development, you can ensure that you travel responsibly and help reduce poverty in Nepal.

What is Responsible Tourism?

In short, responsible tourism minimises the negative effects of unsustainable travel while creating economic benefits for local people and facilitating meaningful cultural exchanges. For obvious reasons, responsible tourism therefore has the ability to support the realisation of the first SDG, which aims to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 — with a particular focus on supporting marginalised groups such as women and the disabled. 


How you can make a difference

So how can you travel responsibly while supporting the SDGs? Hands on Development run ethical tours to Nepal with a particular focus on social, financial and environmental sustainability. By going on a tour with Hands on Development, you can directly help economically empower marginalised communities in Nepal. 

Specifically, Hands on Development employs local women as tour guides, allowing them to achieve financial independence. As part of the tour, participants will engage in genuine cultural exchanges by participating in Nepali, craft and cooking classes. In turn, the profits from these classes help to fund the training and employment pathways of disabled and marginalised women who are often denied the opportunity to work. The tour also visits and directly supports various local enterprises, such as the craft business run out of Seven Women’s headquarters in Kathmandu.

So, next time you’re looking to get away, holiday with a difference and directly support poverty reduction by choosing to travel with Hands on Development!