Banke is one of the five districts within Bheri Zone and lies in Province 5 of Nepal. Nepalgunj is the district headquarter and the regional hub of the Mid-Western Region. Covering an area of 2337 sq. km, the district is divided into 46 VDCs and one Municipality. It has 94,773 households with a total population of 491,313 (Male 244,255 & Female 247,058).
Agriculture (including livestock/ poultry), riverbed farming, cottage industries, business and trading are the main economic activities of the district. Among the registered small and cottage industries, majority work in the production sector, followed by the service sector, indicating production and service are the two major areas of employment in Banke.
The district is served by 67 different branches of ‘A’ Class Commercial Banks, 32 different branches of ‘B’ Class Development Banks, and 5 different branches of ‘C’ Class Finance Companies. The population served per branch is 5,462 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.
Banke’s total population comprises of about 18.9% Muslim, 15.65% Tharu, 14.76% Chhetris followed by others, in terms of caste and ethnicity. Muslim religious groups, Yadav, Tharu and other Hill and Terai Dalits are the key disadvantaged groups in Banke. Many Muslim girls are not sent to schools that do not respect religious principles. Lack of educational opportunities results in a subsequent lack of employment opportunities, directly affecting their future economic independence. Domestic violence is quite common and is often linked with alcohol consumption. Women are less involved in economic activities than men and are mostly confined to domestic work and farming. They are also deprived of credit facilities.
A key aim of Sakchyam in Banke is to increase financial access and promote value chain financing that could help to generate local employment opportunities, especially for the Muslim and Tharu communities which would ultimately help to minimize gender and caste based discrimination in the area.
Value Chain Financing Innovations
Delivery Channel Innovations
Financial Literacy Initiatives
The programme is supporting Machhapuchhre Bank and Sanima Bank to deploy Dedicated ARMs to increase financial services to the rural poor.