RIDS-Switzerland (Rural Integrated Development Services Switzerland) is a Swiss, not-for-profit, non-governmental organization. We are designing, promoting and supporting long-term, holistic community development projects for remote high-altitude villages in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal.

Our distinctive Holistic Community Development (HCD) approach of the "Family of 4" and the "Family of 4 PLUS" is a highly contextualized framework which enables long-term synergistic community development impacts and benefits for the end user communities. The goal of this framework is to develop, and build in close partnership with the end user communities, their most necessary infrastructural solutions, thus providing an improved level of overall living conditions that can be self-sustained by the communities.

The main focus of HCD is to improve the local people’s hygiene, health, nutrition and educational conditions. This can be reached to a great extent through improved access to energy services, by tapping into the locally available renewable energy sources and converting them through contextualized renewable energy technologies into user friendly energy services. Access to clean and sufficient drinking water is another important aspect of HCD. Surveys and ongoing coaching activities ensure the long-term success of our projects after installations have been completed.

New Holistic Community Development Program in Jumla, Nepal

A generous grant from the Symphasis Foundation provides the financial resources to RIDS-Switzerland to implement a 3-years HCD program through our local Nepali NGO partner RIDS-Nepal. The participants and beneficiaries of this program are the 402 families living in the villages of Huri, Chhuma, and Ghodigaun in the remote north-eastern part of the Jumla district of Nepal. The implementation of the HCD program started in September 2013.

The HCD program activities conducted in the Jumla district over a time period of almost two decades are an exemplary illustration of the long-lasting impact created by the HCD approach developed and promoted by RIDS-Switzerland and implemented with our partner organization RIDS-Nepal. To learn more about the history of the HCD program in Jumla,click here.

Huri Village, Jumla, Nepal - 2013

“It is an extraordinary privilege to continue our collaboration with Symphasis, after we have already successfully implemented two projects with their support. The funding of our new HCD Program in Jumla ensures that 2500 women, children and men will have their chance to participate in addressing their own specific identified needs to improve their families’ and village’s living conditions for many years and generations to come. I am very delighted that we can support these families as they take their lives more and more into their own hands, with new opportunities and chances.”

Dr. Alex Zahnd, co-founder of RIDS-Switzerland and RIDS-Nepal, and International Project Director of RIDS-Switzerland

Our Project Partner: RIDS-Nepal

Rural Integrated Development Services Nepal (RIDS-Nepal) is a Social, Non-Government Organisation (NGO). It was registered in the calendar year 2005 (Nepali year 2062) with the Government in Lalitpur, and the Social Welfare Council of Nepal. RIDS-Nepal is a Nepali not-for-profit organization and the majority of its long-term Holistic Community Development (HCD) projects and field based research projects are financed by the donations from individuals, charities, communities and INGOs.

Dr. Alex Zahnd, International Project Director of RIDS-Switzerland, is a co-founder of RIDS-Nepal. For more information visit the RIDS-Nepal website at: www.rids-nepal.org

Our Expertise

Our experts have collected a substantial amount of practical field experience and scientific data over the course of almost three decades. Today, these insights and knowledge form a rich and important information database for our Holistic Community Development (HCD) approach.

  • Advanced Research and Development projects are the source of our “know-how” for providing and maintaining a robust infrastructure which serves to satisfy the local communities’ self-identified needs while enduring the harsh Himalayan environment.
  • In every project, we closely involve the local people in identifying their needs, developing the most appropriate solutions for those needs, implementing the programs/projects and continue to support them closely for years to come so that they may be able to maintain and benefit from the installed infrastructure.

The long-term HCD concepts of the ”Family of 4“ and the ”Family of 4 PLUS“ have been pioneered by Dr. Alex Zahnd and implemented since the late90’s in the remotest and most impoverished high-altitude districts of Nepal, in Jumla and Humla, mainly through RIDS-Nepal. Over the years, a number of R&D projects have resulted in locally manufactured renewable energy technologies that have been contextualized for the rural mountain communities of Nepal.

Many of these R&D projects have been conducted in collaboration with academic and industrial partners such as the University of Kathmandu; SUPSI (University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Italian Switzerland); Murdoch University Western Australia; UCSD (University of California San Diego) USA; EWB (Engineers without Borders) Australia; EWB USA; Thermofischer/DataTaker, Melbourne, Australia; Studer Innotec, Sion, Switzerland; Pico Power Nepal, Lalitpur, Nepal; Sun Works, Kirtipur, Nepal; Solar Works, Sanepa, Kathmandu, Nepal; Kayo, Kirtipur, Nepal; Rijwan Industry, Nepalgunj, Nepal; Nepal Hydro Electricity, Butwal, Nepal; Jumla Metal Works, Jumla, Nepal.

The HCD approach is unique in the sense that it optimally matches the local needs and customs of our project beneficiaries with our expert’s contextualized engineering solutions through our long-term practical field experience and the knowledge that has been gained through field specific R&D projects. Furthermore, the HCD approach is unique as it puts a strong emphasis on the long-term partnership with the local communities, so that new infrastructure and improved living conditions become acculturated. Since 2002, our partner organization RIDS-Nepal has successfully implemented HCD projects in 13 villages in Humla and 6 villages in Jumla, two of the least developed areas of Nepal.

Click here to learn more about the HCD building blocks, the concepts called The "Family of 4" and "The Family of 4 PLUS" and "Renewable Energy Technologies".


RIDS-Switzerland depends exclusively on the donations and contributions of volunteers. We are grateful for any amount of financial support that we receive.

We are currently trying to raise the necessary funds for educational activities and new HCD projects in Nepal. To this end, we are also open for collaborations with interested partners.

If you have an interest in supporting our activities, please use the following bank account details:

NEUE AARGAUER BANK AG / Postfach 560 / 5600 Lenzburg / SWITZERLAND
Bank’s Post Account: 50-1083-6
Bank Clearing-Nr. 5881
IBAN: CH07 0588 1158 8646 2100 0 (RIDS-Switzerland Bank Account)

If you are interested in volunteering or collaborating with RIDS-Switzerland, please contact us via email at: contact@rids-switzerland.org