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Madhab Mathema


'Heave Ho!', this is what Hoste Hainse is. It does not exist to provide things to people in need but to help them get it by themselves - Hoste Hainse is more of an enabler and impulse giver than a provider.

Madhab Bhakta Mathema enjoys a broad range of national and international experience, specifically in the field of human

settlements. Born in Nepal in 1945, he grew up in in India where his family was living in exile because of their involvement in democratic struggle in Nepal that culminated in the overthrow of an oligarchic regime in favor of a more open and progressive political system. He returned to Nepal in 1955. He joined the then His Majesty's Government service in 1964 after completing his Bachelor's in Civil Engineering from Jadavpur University, Calcutta. He obtained his Master's in City Planning from the Ohio State University, USA, in 1971 under a Fulbright Scholarship while still in the government. He retired from the Government in 1992 and joined the United Nations (UN-Habitat) Headquarters as an international human settlements advisor before retiring completely in early 2007.


Madhab worked almost all over Asia and was involved in different development programs for over 48 years. When he

started his career with the Nepalese Government he first worked on field based assignments which included designing and building the new town of Birendranagar (Surkhet) as well as disaster-related reconstruction, rural settlement and housing research across Nepal. Later he shifted into the government's development and policy management sector where he worked as a key person in policy analysis, foreign aid coordination and designing strategic government interventions in emerging urban issues. During this time Madhab also led an earthquake reconstruction program, arising out of the earthquake of 1988, and Nepal's first Building Code. This initiative was awarded the HABITAT International Scroll of Honor in 1991.


After he ended his career with the Nepalese government, he worked an additional 15 years for the UN-HABITAT, first as

a Senior Adviser to the Asia Pacific Unit, and later as Director of the UN-HABITAT Regional Office for Asia Pacific, which was based in Japan then. Within these 15 years he guided developing urban programs in various countries in the region, in particular Iran, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia and Nepal. Also, he led the UN-HABITAT Tsunami-Response Team in 2004. He retired from the UN service as a UN-HABITAT Director of Human Settlements Financing Division in Nairobi in 2007.


Madhab received several awards such as the American Institute of Planners Student Award in 1971, and the Mahendra

Vidhya Bhusan Award, which is a meritorious government-service related award, which he received twice, to name a few.

Even though Madhab joined the Hoste Hainse Board only in 2013, his track record shows that he is an indispensable part of the board's discussions and processes due to his long years of experience in designing several projects for international donors and his activity in post-conflict and post-catastrophe situations in various developing countries. He had worked with Hoste Hainse's founder Sulochana Shrestha-Shah from the very beginning, as an advisor on conceptual issues and communication between Hoste Hainse and local communities. Thus, he was familiar with Hoste Hainse's activities and philosophy long time before he decided to become a board member after his retirement from the United Nations.


Madhab's aim is to add maturity and stability to Hoste Hainse, and extend an opportunity to share his international

experience in program design, community empowerment and disaster response. He has already led training on program designing and office skills for Hoste Hainse employees, because this is what he thinks Hoste Hainse has to improve on the most: systematic approaches, self-reflection and data collection. Apart from that, he would like to see Hoste Hainse providing information to public schools to empower them to do more; for example, to enter political debates and make them become better through their own effort.


For Madhab, Hoste Hainse's biggest strengths lie in mobilizing resources from outside - whether these are funds, or

supporters such as volunteers, and he likes that projects were started and completed with enthusiasm and lots of energy. He wishes Hoste Hainse to be an independent knowledge center which shares its experiences and creates more synergies; for example, that it integrates the currently running Income Generation Programs with its Skill Development Training Programs as a whole package.

He believes that Nepal's major challenge lies in dealing with the rising corruption and that fundamental changes, also in the educational systems, are needed to uproot it from the society. Moreover, he feels that lack of accountability and liability that follows to be one of the reasons for Nepal's poor development response, and that this problem needs to be taken on as well. He dreams of Nepal being an independent country which is self reliant on what Nepalese people can do well, and resilient against global crises.


Madhab lives with his wife, who has a Master's degree in Political Science, in Kathmandu, and in his free time he enjoys to

read and is very interested in philosophy.

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