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The Enabling State Programme (ESP) was launched in January 2001 by the Government of Nepal and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). ESP activities actually started in 1998, some two years before the official launch, following a governance assessment commissioned by DFID. DFID Nepal is funding ESP.

The programme was established because of the growing realisation that governance problems were a (if not the) fundamental cause of Nepal’s slow and inequitable progress towards improving the living standards of its people. It also came about in recognition of the limited achievements of previous donor-funded governance initiatives that had sought to impose external ideas and had suffered from poor national ownership. This led to ESP adopting the promotion of Nepali-generated ideas as its central working approach.

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