(A partnership between UKaid Sakchyam and Nerude Laghubitta Bittiya Sanshta Ltd)
UKaid Sakchyam Access to Finance Programme (Sakchyam) is committed to connecting the rural poor, disadvantaged groups (DAGs), and women to formal financial products and services to enable them with choices to save, borrow, invest, and earn. While enhancing access to finance among people living in remote and inaccessible regions is an urgent need, efficiency and sustainability of the process are critical. Sakchyam believes that adoption of new technology will prove helpful for the microfinance sector in achieving organisational efficiency and expanding outreach in a more self-sustainable manner.
Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) have been successful in reaching new geographical areas and serving new sets of clients. The challenge, now, is to ensure proper utilization of loans by the clients. Lack of adequate skills among the members to start/run an enterprise is leading to loans being either spent in unproductive activities or the use of loan not generating optimum revenue. MFIs have realised the need to provide their clients with skills training as additional services with the loan to capacitate the clients in enterprise development.
To provide skills-based training to its clients, Nerude Laghubitta Bittiya Santha has partnered with Sakchyam to introduce Enterprise Development Services (EDS); it is being implemented in 20 branches and the plan is to roll out in all 90 branches. Under the EDS, Nerude issues coupons — with loans — which can be used to avail skill training. Through this service, Nerude aims to help its clients acquire skills to run/expand micro-enterprises and agro-based enterprises.
Similarly, with support from Sakchyam, Nerude is moving towards the automation of its operation; the loan officers of 18 of its branches have already started using tablets for daily operation and it will be incorporated in all the branches. Introduction of tablet banking is expected to increase the efficiency of loan officers while reducing the possible human errors during centre meetings.
Sakchyam is also providing technical assistance to the organisation to adopt an innovative approach toward delivering financial literacy. Buzz Nerude a mobile literacy platform set in a vehicle is being used to disseminate financial literacy messages in areas around Biratnagar.
Over the three-year project, Nerude aims to serve more than 3,400 clients with EDS Sakchyam Loan. Under the partnership, the organisation also intends to provide various non-financial services and reach 29,000 beneficiaries through its financial literacy programme.
As of December 2019, Nerude has:
- Reached over 2500 beneficiaries (all women)
- Introduced an innovative financial literacy platform – Buzz Nerude
- Disbursed over NPR 313 million in loans to more than 2,500 clients
- Collected deposits of more than NPR 53 million
- Launched EDS activity with the technical support of Berendina Microfinance, a pioneer of EDS activity in Sri Lanka