United Mission to Nepal (UMN) is a Christian international non-governmental organisation (INGO) that has been working exclusively in Nepal since 1954. In its long history, UMN has always maintained two characteristics. First, it is truly a united mission of people from many organisations, denominations and parts of the world joined together in the name of Christ to serve Nepal, alongside Nepali colleagues. Secondly, UMN works with the aim not of owning projects and institutions permanently, but of training Nepali people and building the capacity of Nepali organisations.
The Early Days
Nepal was a closed country until the early 1950s. Following the revolution that opened the country, a group of expatriate missionaries in India were granted permission from the Nepali government to open a hospital in Tansen and to start women's and children's welfare clinics in the Kathmandu Valley. Subsequently, UMN was founded in 1954 as an international interdenominational Christian mission.
At that time, Nepal suffered from lack of institutions, infrastructure, and trained personnel. UMN's earliest staff worked in difficult environments, usually without the benefit of roads, electricity, and skilled workers, yet with few resources they built institutions and projects that have had lasting impact throughout Nepal.
View the complete list of institutions started by UMN or staffed by seconded UMN volunteers.
From Institutions to Community Development
During the 1970s and 1980s, UMN's work became more focused on development projects which directly impacted on communities. Outreach clinics from hospitals became community health projects; instead of working solely in schools, UMN began Non-formal Education projects and supported teacher training and resourcing in local schools. Engineering work gave birth to community projects to support people whose lives or land was affected, and rural development work addressed livelihoods issues at the grassroots. UMN also pioneered work in bio-gas, mental and dental health, micro-hydro and partnerships with government schools.
From 2002, UMN moved away from directly implementing projects to building partnerships that support local organisations. Now, UMN has more than 50 partners: local and national non-governmental organisations, co-operatives, Christian organisations and government institutions.