Bajura is one of the five districts within Seti Zone and lies in the Far Western Development Region of Nepal. Martadi is the district headquarters. The district, with an area of 2,188 sq. km, is divided into 27 VDCs. It has 24,888 households with a total population of 134,912 (Male 65,806 & Female 69,106). Literacy Rate in the district is 56% (women’s literacy rate is 43%).
The only road network that connects the district to the rest of the region is the 62 KM Sanfe-Martadi road, which is frequently blocked during monsoon season due to landslides.
Agriculture (including livestock/poultry), cottage industries and trading are the main economic activities of the district. Wheat, paddy, buckwheat and potatoes are the main agriculture products of the district. Its rich forestry resource, around 43% of the total area is covered by forest, also provides potential for herb collection and processing.
The district is served by 4 different branches of ‘A’ Class Commercial Banks. The population served per branch is 36,585 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 81% of the households). If we analyse the use of credit products in Agriculture, only around 27% had agriculture credit out of which others (33%) followed by relatives (26%) and cooperatives (14%) were the major sources of credit.
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.
Delivery Channel Innovations
Nepal Investment Bank Limited (NIBL) has launched four BLB Touch Points in the district.
NIC ASIA Bank are commissioned to launch two BLB Touch Points in the district.
To increase financial access for rural poor, the programme has supported NIC ASIA Bank to open the first private A-Class Commercial Bank branch in the district. Similarly, KMF has also opened one branch.