The Lotus Initiative

The Lotus Initiative

Improving the Livelihoods of Communities in Nepal


The Lotus Initiative, a partnership with the Lotus Life Foundation Singapore, is a social innovation and entrepreneurship development partnership involving stakeholders from various sectors to improve livelihoods in Sahidbhumi, a rural village in Eastern Nepal. The initiative aims to strengthen local capabilities to drive programmes that tackle poverty in entrepreneurial, collaborative and innovative ways.


Enable & Engage

Training boot camps, workshops, and SMU faculty & student will develop local capabilities in social innovation and entrepreneurship.

Connect & Support

Local & international practice fellows, financial inclusion and technical assistance grants will provide support to co-develop innovative solutions.

Learn & Share

Data will be systematically collected to produce evidence-based insights for programme learning and lasting impact.





We use Human-Centred Design (HCD) as a creative and inclusive approach to unearth issues faced by the community, and to subsequently unlock local entrepreneurial abilities to solve the issues. Popularised by the Stanford and IDEO in the United States, HCD is singularly focused on the user, their activities, habits, challenges, aspirations, and creative confidence to design relevant solutions. It is with this socially-innovative mindset that we co-research, co-validate, and co-design solutions to improve livelihoods in Sahidbhumi.








Local researchers in Nepal trained in human-centred design conducted extensive field research using a targeted and tailored approach for each user group—Farmers, Business-owners and Family Gouseholds; to gain a in-depth understanding of the socioeconomic activities, financial habits, challenges and aspirations of the village community.


Together with local partners, we will co-validate the research findings alongside the defined user groups to reach a collective agreement on the problem statements and priority areas for action. Next, we will brainstorm ideas and collectively design relevant, responsive and sustainable solutions that strengthen local capabilities and livelihoods for the long term.


Upon finalising the action plan, we will begin implementing programmes that involve practice fellows, SMU faculty & students, training & upskilling, grants, etc. towards greater financial inclusion and expertise development.





Human-Centred Design Toolkit by IDEO

The HCD Toolkit will provide an introduction to how and why human-centered design can impact the social sector.




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