1. Who is Norlha?

Norlha is a Swiss-based development NGO founded in 2005. We operate in 3 Himalayan countries, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet (China), through our headquarters (HQ) in Lausanne and our regional office (RO) in Katmandu. We benefit from a strong team of skilled and dedicated volunteers in Lausanne, and wonderful professionals in Katmandu.
Norlha is a bridge of solidarity between the Alps and the Himalayas and to date Norlha has changed the lives of more than 100’000 people.

2. What does Norlha mean?

Norlha is a Tibetan word meaning literally ‘‘Goddess of Prosperity’, often translated as Providence. It is called upon by communities when the basic needs of subsistence are not met, in a wish to improve their living conditions.

3. What is our vision? [Global goal]

Our vision is to improve the living conditions of the most disadvantages communities and help eradicate poverty in the Himalayas. We aim at increasing the numbers of our beneficiaries and to increase the positive impact of our projects in the long-term – with a short-term local presence.

4. What is our mission? [Practical tasks]

Our mission is to develop solutions and to leverage change and build sustainable capacity within the remote mountain communities in the Himalayas. We guide isolated disadvantaged Himalayan communities through ways of improving their capacities and thus allow them to construct a better future. With Norlha, they learn to adapt to their changing environment while retaining their cultural values. Our development and cooperation projects focus on food security, additional income, sound environment, and gender equality.

5. What is our strategy?

We work closely with local development organisations and strengthen their technical and institutional capacities. Our strategy is to:
● Listen to local communities in remote mountain communities: evaluate their projects and aspirations.
● Analyse and identify the development potential of these communities.
● Elaborate solutions with local partners and support their application in collaboration with local authorities.

6. What are the core values of Norlha?

● Genuine empathy and concern for the most vulnerable.
● Respect, tolerance and a non-discriminatory approach.
● Respect of religious and political diversity.
● Ethical decision making that respects the values and beliefs of the beneficiaries.
● Impact oriented focus on sustainable results.
● Efficient deployment of resources.
● Professional commitment to achieving verifiable results.
● Constant evaluation of project and mission results and achievements.

7. How are we unique?

● We are a bridge of solidarity between the Alps and the Himalayas.
● We facilitate a broad range of programs for people in Himalayan regions.
● We work in remote places where others do not.
● We have the support of highly qualified experts and volunteers, sharing a common dedication and spirit to producing effective results with limited resources.
● We maintain political and religious neutrality, concentrating on development and impact.
● We favor real, long-term development and true impact. We believe people should have ownership of the projects and be empowered by them; we work with all actors impartially.
● We work with a volunteer-based and culturally diverse staff at our HQ.

8. How are we financing the projects?

We finance the projects primarily through contributions from Swiss public and private institutions, as well as from members and private donors.

9. How is gender integrated into our programs?

We are setting up a Centre of Excellence on Gender in the Himalayas. It will provide a “one-stop” resource for gender-related development information, issues and solutions throughout the region. It will also provide specific information on women’s issues, as well as an advocacy and advisory service.

10. What are some examples of our recent achievements in the Himalayas?

– 1120 farmer households in remote Nepal villages trained and receiving support for applying improved agricultural production practices.
– 40 farming households in Bhutan received training in techniques of erosion control and in the conversion to organic agricultural practices.
Establishing the operation by Tibetan families of 35 small-scale greenhouses at high altitudes, thereby improving the diet of hundreds of people.