(A partnership between UKaid Sakchyam and Kisan Microfinance Bittiya Sanstha Ltd)
One of the major components of the UKaid Sakchyam Access to Finance Programme (Sakchyam) is to work with Nepal’s Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) to make financial products and services affordable, available and accessible to the disadvantaged populations of the country. Millions of Nepalese still lack basic access to finance, especially in Karnali, Sudur Paschim and Province 5 due to difficult topography and lack of physical infrastructure. In the face of these challenges, Sakchyam has worked closely with MFIs to resolve the problem of lack of formal financial institutions and financial inclusion – focusing on areas of branch expansion, product and service development, alternative delivery channels, capacity building and financial literacy. Most interventions are set in priority districts where better financial services have the potential to empower rural communities by making them financially independent.
Nepal’s far- and mid-western regions (Karnali, Sudur Paschim and Province 5) are the least developed regions with high incidence of poverty. These regions were also badly affected by the 10 years Civil War during the of Maoist insurgency. Majority of households of the region are located in the rural and mountainous areas where agriculture and remittance from India is the major source of income and there is very limited or no access to formal financial services.
Kisan Micro Finance Bittiya Sanstha Ltd. (KMF) is a ‘D’ class national level financial institution that was established in 2012. It is licensed by Nepal Rastra Bank and Sakchyam initially partnered with them in the Sakchyam Kisan Rual Microfinance (SKRM) Project to adopt mobile technology in its core banking system to extend its services to remote regions of mid- and far- western regions (Dailekh, Dadeldhura, Kalikot, Salyan, Jumla, Jajarkot, Accham, Kailali, Doti, Darchula, Baitadi and Bajhang districts) of Nepal.
Realizing the need to tackle the above mentioned challenges, KMF designed its second project – Sakchyam Kisan Access to Microfinance (SKAM) to increase access to finance in the rural and remote areas of far- and mid-western region of Nepal where there is limited or absence of formal financial institutions. In order to do so, KMF with Sakchyam’s support aimed to open its new branches in Bajhang, Humla, Mugu, Jumla, Achham and Darchula. The project also aimed to provide financial literacy trainings to all members via tablets and portable projectors using related audio visual materials in every centre meeting to encourage saving, productive and proper use of loan, remittance and security towards unexpected risks and a secure future.
As of June 2019, Kisan Microfinance has:
- Established 11 new branches in most remote locations, reaching over 7,600 people
- Disbursed over NPR 290 million in loans and collected more than NPR 35 million in savings
- Deployed 33 tablets to scale up Tablet Banking