Rural Road Construction Strategy - Brief Description


Conventional road construction approaches are usually capital and technology-intensive. In contrast, this method proposes a strategy for labour-intensive construction of environmentally sound rural roads, which is a good alternative for many developing countries. Accompanied by additional support measures (e.g. agricultural extension services, business creation training), the construction of rural roads can serve as a “backbone” of socio-economic rehabilitation and development in areas which lack assets, due to their remoteness, adverse environmental conditions, or the impacts of on-going or recently ended conflicts.
The Rural Road Construction Strategy fosters socio-economic development in the project area:
  • by providing large-scale employment during road construction and maintenance activities in the short-term, and
  • by improving accessibility of target areas and populations in the medium and long-term.
The proposed method is strongly influenced by the “Green Road”, which has been jointly developed and continuously improved by Swiss and German development cooperation in the Himalayas since the 1970s. It aims at constructing low-cost, but technically appropriate rural roads, which are built using participatory, labour-intensive methods and have the lowest possible environmental impact. “Green roads” are low-volume, fair-weather earthen roads, which are adapted to local envi-ronmental conditions and can easily be maintained by local road users.
Using Food-for-Work (FfW) and/or Cash-for-Work (CfW) opportunities, the labour-intensive method fits perfectly into on-going international discussions on large-scale and labour-intensive public works schemes especially in the context of integrated development and food security approaches. In (post-)emergency situations, the strategy helps to strengthen the links between relief, rehabilitation and development activities (LRRD). It can easily be adapted as a job-creation measure for groups of demobilised combatants and other conflict-affected parts of the population, thus fitting into the context of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programmes (DDR).

This method includes lessons learned and best practices of three projects implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Mid- and Far-Western Nepal:
  • Food Security and Rehabilitation Project (FSRP), Rukum & Rolpa Districts (2004-2008)
  • Reintegration and Reconstruction Project (ReRe), Rukum & Rolpa Districts (2008-2010)
  • Improvement of Livelihoods in Rural Areas (ILRA), Bajhang & Baitadi Districts (2009-2012)
This method is accompanied by two examples, which provide more detailed information on lessons learned from Nepal.
These examples are:
  1. “Community-Based Road Construction in Times of Conflict in Mid-Western Nepal”
  2. “Community-Based Road Construction for the Improvement of Livelihoods in Far-Western Nepal”