The Sakchyam Programme team’s field trip to its programme districts in the mid- and far-western districts of Nepal (2-8 December, 2015) was packed with activities. Besides the Sakchyam team, the trip had the presence of Mr. Maha Prasad Adhikari, Deputy Governor, NRB; Mr. Kedar Prasad Acharya, Deputy Director, NRB; Mr. Gareth Weir, Economic Development Team Leader, DFID Nepal; Mr. Bishnu Ghimire, Under Secretary, Department of Cooperatives and Sakchyam Steering Committee Member; and Dr Milan Adhikari, Sakchyam Panel Member.Highlights of the field trip are mentioned in the attached PDF of the NRB Newsletter for Dec-Jan 2015-16.
On December 2, Sakchyam’s DadhelduraOffice organized a briefing by Branch Managers of commercial banks in Dadheldhura for the Dy. Governor, on the region’s economic landscape. The next day, on December 3, the team visited Kisan Microfinance Bank’s Sakchyam-supported branch office in Rajpur, Dipayal to witness first-hand the demonstration of mobile tablets to be used by loan officers to efficiently manage centre meetings. The team then travelled to Sanfebagar, Achham. The Dy. Governor inauguratedMega Bank Nepal’s branch office – Sanfebagar’s first private commercial bank branch. As of the opening day, more than 300 bank accounts had been opened.
On December 4, the Dy. Governor inaugurated the Sakchyam-supported branch office of Nirdhan Utthan Bank in Sanfebagar. Sakchyam’s support has allowed Nirdhan to now have a presence in all 75 districts of the country. The opening was attended by Mr. Janardan Pant, CEO, Nirdhan Utthan Bank. The team also visited a women’s group meeting – as a part of Nirdhan’s activities to encourage a culture of saving, as well as investing in a productive way. The drive to improve the community’s financial literacy has been aided by periodic financial literacy messages through phone calls to beneficiaries’ mobile phones – Sakchyam’s Integrated Voice Response (IVR) messaging initiative.Later that day, a financial literacy initiative of the NRB – “Bidhyaarthhi Sanga Nepal Rastra Bank” was organized in Sanfebagar with over 150 students in attendance. The team then travelled to Gopighat, Doti, to inspect a potential BLB location. Such an interaction with beneficiaries at potential locations is a part of Sakchyam’s field assessment to gauge the demand and viability for rollout of financial services to unbanked populations.
On December 5, the Dy. Governor inaugurated Global IME Bank’s (GIBL) Extension Counter in Khodpe, Baitadi, which recently graduated from a BLB location. The group then travelled to Patan in Baitadi, to visit GIBL’s Sakchyam-supported Patan Extension Counter and for an interaction session with recently commissioned BLB agents from Dehimandu, Melauli and Salena – located 30-40km from Patan, over 50 local businessmen, teachers and social workers to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the local economy.
On December 6, Bank of Kathmandu’s Sakchyam-supported Belauri branchwas inaugurated by the Dy. Governor in Kanchanpur.A record 1894 accounts were openeda week prior to and after the opening. The branch will support the Sakchyam Sana Kisan Ukhu KarjaInvoice Discounting product launched in partnership with Mahakali Sugar Industries (MSI) with Sakchyam support. Later the team inspected MSI’sprocessing mill in Belauri and interacted with local farmers to get feedback on the aforementioned financial product. The team then visited Punarbaas to meet with milk farmers and beneficiaries of NMB Bank’s Sakchyam-supported Wholesale Loans to Dairy Farmers products.
On December 7, a program was organized at NRB’s Dhangadhi Regional Office to discuss the financial landscape and Sakchyam’s support and initiatives in the far-western region to an audience of NRB members and Branch Managers of banks and financial institutions in Dhangadhi. The discussion was chaired by the Dy. Governor. Mr. Gareth Weir of DFID Nepal’s Economic Development Team also spoke at the occasion on DFID’s support to various NRB initiatives. The team then travelled to Sahajpur, Dadheldura to inaugurate the Sakchyam-supported branch office of Kisan Cooperative where the Dy. Governor also handed out the first cheques from the branch. Later that day, a joint signing ceremony was organized to officially launch Sakchyam’s individual partnerships with Kisan Microfinance Bank and Kisan Cooperative.
On the last day of the trip, December 8, the Dy. Governor inaugurated UNYC Nepal’s Sakchyam-supported Thakurdwara, Bardia branch office amidst an event that brought together large numbers of the institution’s beneficiaries –a large majority of whom are women and members of Disadvantaged Groups, members of the local community and local authorities.
Also mentioned in the same NRB newsletter is news of the MoU signing between Nepal Rastra Bank and Sakchyam to assist in the modernization of NRB’s Payment System. The event had the presence of both Deputy Governors of the NRB as well Dr Gail Marzetti, Head of Office, DFID Nepal and Mr Gareth Weir, Economic Development Team Leader, beside Sakchyam leadership. The signing took place the DFID Nepal office in Ekantakuna, Lalitpur.