Kathmandu: Japan has granted USD 7.7 million to help Nepal reduce poverty and child malnutrition.
   
The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction has granted the amount for three projects which will be administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
   
The ADB has teamed up with the government of Japan and government of Nepal to help reduce child malnutrition, develop new livelihood opportunity for the poor and provide greater access to clean energy for poor rural woman through the grant assistance, Manila-based bank said in a statement.
   
"ADB is very much pleased to work with the governments of Nepal and Japan on these projects which are targeted at benefiting the most vulnerable and often excluded groups in Nepalese society – women, children and extremely poor," said
Barry Hitchcock, ADB's Country Director for Nepal while launching the projects in Kathmandu on Monday.
   
The first project - "Reducing Child Malnutrition through Social Protection" - will help Nepal improve planning and delivery of its social protection programme aiming to enhance effectiveness in the delivery of recently released child grants so as to contribute to the reducing the country's stubbornly high levels of child malnutrition, ADB said.
   
The Support for Target and Sustainable Development Programme for Highly Marginalised Groups project will provide assistance to develop livelihood opportunities and improve income in some of Nepal's most disadvantaged communities.
   
The third project Improving Gender Inclusive Access to Clean and Renewable Energy in Bhutan Nepal and Sri Lanka Project will promote greater access to clean energy for poor rural women in South Asia.
   
In his remarks Japanese Ambassador to Nepal Tatsuo Mizuno said despite the heart breaking incidents of earthquake and tsunami in Japan that claimed at least 15,000 lives, Japan government will continue to provide support to Nepal government in various areas including poverty alleviation.
   
Responding to the media reports regarding the controversial Chinese NGO (APEC Foundation)'s plan to provide USD 3 billion assistance to develop Lumbini area, the birth place of Lord Buddha, Mizuno said "development of Lumbini should be implemented steadily and carefully in close coordination with all stakeholders including Asian Development Bank and local people of the area.
   
"Japan has been fully supporting the development of Lumbini," the master plan of which was drawn by world famous Japanese architect Kenzo Tange in 1978, he said.

(Agencies)