Achham

District Overview

Achham is one of the five districts within Seti Zone and lies in the Far Western Development Region of Nepal. Mangalsen in the district headquarter. The district, with an area of 1,680 sq.km, is divided into 73 VDCs and two Municipalities. It has 48,318 households with a total population of 257,477 (Male 120,008 & Female 137,469). Literacy Rate in the district is 53% (women’s literacy rate is 37%).  The district, compared to other hilly districts in the region is well served by road network; more than 50% of the VDCs are connected through road network.

Economic & Financial Landscape

Agriculture (including livestock and poultry), cottage industries, trading are the main economic activities of the district. Its rich forestry resource, around 52% of the area is covered by forest, also provides potential for herb collection and processing.

The district is served by seven different branches of ‘A’ Class Commercial Banks and two different branches of ‘B’ Class Development Banks. The population served per branch is 30,501 against the national average of 8,960. This indicates the need to further expand the outreach of financial services and facilities to the unbanked population of the area.

Agriculture is the main income source of majority of households (around 89% of the households). If we analyse the use of credit products in Agriculture, only around 26.5% had agriculture credit out of which relatives was the largest source of Credit (36%), followed by women’s group (33%) and farmer’s group (13%) .

To unleash the full potential of the agriculture sector, there is a need to increase access to credit and other financial products on the district.

GESI Issues

Women suffer from gender based discrimination in education, nutrition, social and cultural norms. Disseminating practices such as Chaupadi (women and girls spend their menstrual days in the nearby shed and not allowed to enter their own home) are still prevalent. Women are less likely to be involved in economic activities outside home and are marginalised in major decision making. Caste based discrimination is still prevalent in district. The district also has a number of vulnerable groups such as former Haliyas (bonded labours).

A key aim of the AFP programme is to improve access to financial services and encourage formal participation in the economic sector for women and deprived segment of the districts. The AFP programme will use the GESI lens throughout the project cycle for addressing these issues.

Sakchyam’s Ongoing Interventions

Value Chain Financing Innovations

  • Global IME Bank has introduced Warehouse Receipt Financing in the district.

Delivery Channel Innovations

  • The programme has been able to reach the unbanked population of the district by establishing Branchless Banking (BLB) Touch Points via partnerships with Mega Bank (one BLB), Janata Bank (five BLBs) and Prabhu Bank (one BLB).
  • So far KMF have introduced the use of tablets in their branches in the district.
  • One Digital Point has been established by Chhimek Microfinance Development Bank (Chhimek) in the district.

Outreach Expansion

  • New branches of Financial Institutions have opened to increase financial access for rural poor via partnerships with Mega Bank (one branch), Prabhu Bank (one branch), KMF (two branches) and Nirdhan Utthan Bank Limited (NUBL) (one branch).

Financial Literacy Initiatives

  • Various programmes on Financial Literacy are being introduced through conventional channels as well as alternate delivery channels such as tablets and mobile phones.
  • NUBL is carrying out Interactive Voice Response (IVR) campaign in the district whereas Rural Microfinance Development Centre Limited (RMDC) is conducting financial literacy campaigns through activities such as school level interactions and message dissemination through mass media.