Heifer Nepal & Partners to Provide Microcredit Services
Heifer Nepal, Machhapuchchhre Bank Limited (MBL) and UKaid Sakchyam Access to Finance Programme (Sakchyam) signed a partnership on December 11, 2018 in Kathmandu, which will work toward providing simplified microcredit services to the unserved and underserved population of 14 districts across Nepal. Representatives from each organization attended the ceremony including, Senior Vice President of Programs Dr. Mahendra Lohani, Country Director for Heifer Nepal Dr. Shubh Mahato, CEO of MBL Mr. Suman Sharma, and Sakchyam Team Leader Mr. Nirmal Dahal.
Through the Simplified Financial Services for Economic Empowerment of Women project funded by UKaid Sakchyam, this partnership will expand access to finance for women entrepreneurs’ and farmers to enhance their economic condition. The aim of the project is to reach to more than 4,300 farmers, provide saving accounts to more than 3,000 beneficiaries, initiate financial literacy and awareness, maximize Branchless Banking (BLB) and introduce innovative credit assessment and delivery tools in form of Kishan Credit Card (KCC).
Ganga Gharti, a member of the Karmath Social Entrepreneur Women’s Cooperative, shared her experience with access to loans from the bank facilitated by Heifer, which changed her life from a dependent housewife to an empowered entrepreneur. Gharti said, “My economic condition was very poor and my husband used to work in India to make a living which was not enough for even basic needs. As I got involved in the cooperative, I began goat farming with a loan from MBL. I have 80 goats on my farm now. I sold 18 meat goats this year and earned an income of NPR. 250,000 ($2,500 USD). I used this income to renovate my house, educate my children and meet dairy needs. Now my husband has also joined me in goat enterprise and we are working together. I have future plans to add more does and expand the business.” There are 890 members in the Karmath cooperative and among them 32 women like Ganga who have turned into goat entrepreneurs through easy access to financial services.
Sharma said, "Through this strategic alliance, the bank will cater to the financial requirements of rural farmers, small and medium enterprises, other value chain actors and underprivileged group in 14 districts in order to enhance their livelihood.”
Dahal highlighted the important role of Heifer and the bank in achieving the project goal. He said, “MBL provides cooperatives with the loan, but these cooperatives need technical capacity where Heifer’s role comes. Heifer has expertise working with value chain actors and at the front line with the beneficiaries. This expertise will play a role in this project. And Sakchyam will facilitate from the backside. This is a perfect partnership and I am confident about its success.”
Lohani shared his commitment to work hand in hand together with MBL and Sakchyam to expand access to financial access to small-scale farmers in most rural parts of Nepal. He said, “I am hopeful that this partnership project will help in improving the livelihood of farmers, bring revolution in the agrienterprise sector and contribute to economic development of the country.”