Humla District in Nepal is a very remote area, prone to food shortages and characterized by a harsh environment. The livelihoods of agropastoralists in this district became much more vulnerable during the recent Maoist insurgency, and this vulnerability was particularly acute in some areas. As a result, people in different villages responded quite differently to an externally funded holistic community development project - one of the only projects the Maoists allowed to proceed with in Humla during the height of the unrest. Villagers' responses to this health- and conservation-oriented development project seem to correlate most closely with socioeconomic status and ability to extract resources from the local environment, as well as with the nature of the relationship with the local Maoist cadres. Villagers' perceptions of the risks of becoming involved in the holistic community development projects in this area, and their ability or willingness to take part in them, are analyzed here, drawing on anthropological analyses of perceptions of risk and the diffusion of innovations. We conclude with brief recommendations based on this evidence and our experience in the field.