(A partnership between UKaid Sakchyam and Mahila Samudayik Laghubitta Bittiya Sanstha Ltd)
The increase in the number of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), in recent times, has helped enhance access to finance, especially in the rural areas of Nepal. More than 4 million people are affiliated with MFIs and in many remote areas, often, these are the only financial institutions providing financial services through formal channels.
The Grameen model followed by Nepalese microfinance industry requires a high level of involvement with the members. Besides financial services, members also expect support through non-financial services that help them start/expand income-generating activities. Such services include skills-enhancement training, business development counselling and market linkage among others. However, it’s been observed that most non-financial services provided by MFIs in Nepal are supply-driven – not aligned with the need of the members – and conducted in fragmented basis.
In the first partnership project, UKaid Sakchyam Access to Finance Programme supported Mahila Samudayik Laghubitta Bittiya Sanstha in introducing Enterprise Development Service (EDS) to its branches in Dang, Rolpa, Rukum, Salyan and Pyuthan. A pilot-test was carried out in 11 branches in Dang.
In the second partnership project, Sakchyam is supporting Mahila Samudayik in digitising its operation through tablet banking. Streamlining EDS implementation by digitising certain EDS-related operational activities is also a major focus if the project. To help the EDS beneficiaries adapt to the technology-driven delivery of financial services, Mahila Samudayik has been organizing dedicated financial literacy campaigns. The MFI is also working toward creating market linkages for their EDS clients.
The technical support from Berendina Microfinance (pioneer of EDS in Sri Lanka) for EDS in the first project is continuing in this project as well.
The two major focuses of the partnership project – digitisation of operations and better EDS implementation – aim to boost the economic activities in the target regions by helping launch/expand small enterprises through different initiatives. The various initiatives under the partnership will increase access to financial services to start/upscale businesses and develop skills among new and existing entrepreneurs.
As of September 2019, Mahila Samudayik has:
- Deployed 95 tablets in 23 branches
- Issued 9,627 EDS coupons and conducted 823 training (with more than 10,000+ participants) as a part of EDS activities
- Reached 7,934 beneficiaries through different financial literacy activities