Based in Kathmandu, New ERA works in every part and every district of Nepal, on short and long-term, small and large-scale longitudinal research-based projects and maintains the highest standards of excellence for which it is widely recognized and respected. New ERA has been non-profit in spirit and has been legally registered and recognized by the government as a non-profit company since February 2017.
New ERA is governed by the Company Act of Government of Nepal for all legal purposes. Its functions are guided by its Policies and Principles. New ERA operated as a branch of its American parent company until 1981 and was subsequently registered under Nepali law as an independent company. It has always operated in practice as a non-profit organization and was formally recognized as such in 2017, following the amendment of Nepal’s Companies Act.
New ERA established 5th August 1971 as “New Educational Reform Associates” by three former Peace Corps Volunteers and several Nepali educators to provide research support for the implementation of Nepal’s National Education System Plan. Later known only by the acronym New ERA. Initial goals were to help ensure the highest possible standard of education in Nepal by providing technical assistance programs and training to foreign workers and scholars.
A grant from the Ford Foundation gives New ERA a financial boost and Drs. Harka Gurung and Mohammad Mohsin join the board, giving a huge vote of confidence and added visibility. New ERA engages in training for foreign technical and volunteer agencies such as the American Peace Corps and in the implementation of Semester Abroad Program for American college students. By end of the 1970s, New ERA completes 30 large projects and had “core staff” numbers about 15.
New ERA’s activities expand to newer fields like agriculture, livestock, horticulture, and technology, socio-economics and tourism. The Production Credit for Rural Women project (PCRW), inspired by publication of “The Status of Women” report, becomes New ERA’s first job-focused exclusively on improving the livelihoods of rural women, training and project implementation. Involvement in gender projects has continued as a major component of New ERA’s work ever since.
New ERA starts using National Computing Centre for data processing in late 70s, but acquisition of 2 Apple IIe computers in 1985 puts it at the forefront of data processing capability in Nepal, soon followed by move to IBM PCs and use of programs such as Survey Mate, later SPSS and eventually CPS, etc. By 1990, New ERA completes over 150 projects and core staff grows to about 25. USAID & UN agencies predominate in list of clients, but list also includes other bilaterals, INGOs, universities, et al.
Health-related projects predominate the work at about 33%. 1995: confronting HIV/AIDS, New ERA completes Nepal’s first study on the Commercial Sex Workers and Sex Clients. Other projects include PRA training, environmental feasibility & impact assessments, evaluations, baseline surveys, technical assistance, project implementation (in family planning, agriculture, women in development, livestock, forestry, natural resources, environmental, etc.), the massive Rapti Project, etc. 1997: New ERA purchases and moves into its current offices in Kalopul.
New ERA started working in the long-term surveys including the Demographic Health Surveys (DHS) of 2001, 2006, 2011 & 2016, the National Micronutrient Survey. 2011: New ERA pioneers the use of tablets and mobile phones for CAPI. 2017: New ERA becomes a non-profit under Nepali law. 2006-2019: Over 160 Nepali Masters students receive study grants through the Dr. Harka Gurung Fellowship. Over 500 projects completed during this period. Core staff stabilizes at about 45, but project field staff routinely number as many as 150.
New ERA was established in 1971 as Nepal’s first non-government not-for-profit research organization. Run since 1977 entirely by a team of Nepali professionals, it engages in theoretical, policy and action-oriented research in collaboration with multilateral and bilateral aid agencies, international research institutes and universities. New ERA specializes in development research, technical assistance, technology transfer and training for Nepal’s development. The organization is active in many development sectors, including, but not limited to health and nutrition, population and family planning, education, agriculture, drinking water and sanitation, gender, conflict management, environment, forestry, human resources, livestock, migration and resettlement, rural development and tourism.
New ERA research projects provide the information to guide and influence public policies and to develop practices that improve the lives of the Nepali people, including and especially the socially and economically disadvantaged. Optimizing this resource asset will form part of New ERA’s strategic initiatives in the coming years and aligned with this institutional goal as needed.