Over 8000 trial bridges have been built in Nepal and HICODEF has been supporting to construct community trail bridges since 2006 in partnering with local government and Helvetas. Each of these bridges makes the routes used by an average 1,800 people shorter and safer. Following the construction of a new trail bridge, school attendance increases on average by 16%, and consultations at health centers go up 26%. In 20% of cases, new stores, snack bars and repair shops open up near the bridge.(Source Helvetas web)
There are two major kind of bridges according to its length i.e. short span trial bridges (SSTB) up to 120m and long span trial bridge (LSTB) more than 120m. SSTB bridges represent 90% of trail bridges in the country; only LSTB technically complex bridges are built by contractors.
HICODEF works to establish a bridge user committee. This committee must include women and members of disadvantaged groups, who often have little or no say in other aspects of public life. The future bridge users discuss the bridge site, gain an understanding of basic technical issues, organize materials, and contribute hard days of labor (or the financial equivalent). In the process, they make the bridge their own.
Upon bridge completion, a public meeting is held to verify that it meets quality standards and that the funds have been used properly. In addition, a Bridge Warden (care taker) is appointed to oversee the operation and upkeep of the bridge. For many bridge users, having a voice in such processes has represented their very first experience of political participation. Which makes each trail bridge an opportunity for local democracy in practice.
HICODEF involves from whole cycle of the project from demand collection to handover to the community. It has been completed more than 30 bridges and still implementing 15 bridges in this year of 2019/2020 in Nawalparasi East and West district.