( A partnership between UKaid Sakchyam and Vijaya Laghubitta Bittiya Sanstha Ltd)
UKaid Sakchyam Access to Finance Programme has been working with Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Nepal to make financial products and services accessible to the un/underserved population of the country.
The programme’s interventions focus on branch expansion, product/service development, institutional capacity building, alternative delivery channel 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.
The difficult topography and lack of conducive physical infrastructure have been major challenges for banks and microfinance institutions in reaching out to the population of the remotest areas. The absence of financial institutions and their services mean people in such areas are often unaware of the potential benefits of financial services in the first place. This, in turn, deprives them of opportunities to improve their livelihoods and the local economy.
Meanwhile, in rural areas, small cooperatives providing the basic financial services to the local population are struggling to meet the increasing credit demand from their members. The small equity base and inadequate saving mobilization are the major problems of these cooperatives
To effectively address the existing problems, the Sakchyam and VLBS partnership intended to both financially educate the population of these regions (mainly poor and disadvantaged people – particularly the Dalits, Janajati, Women and other Minorities) and then provide the services necessary to unleash their full potential. To make the people financially literate, mobile and FM radio programmes were used.
An extension of the previous partnership, the focus of the present project is also on enhancing the financial capacity of the population in the priority regions by making financial services/products available through branch expansion. The low-income and disadvantaged population, particularly Dalits, Janjatis, women and other minorities, are the target beneficiaries. Under this partnership, VLBS is expanding its services to four districts – Banke, Dailekh, Rolpa and Surkhet.
To further enhance the outreach of its financial services, VLBS has also introduced an alternative delivery channel called Cooperative Linkage Model, with support from Sakchyam. Under this VLBS has partnered with cooperatives to provide larger-scale loans and other services to their members through acquisitions of cooperative clients
As of March 2020, Vijaya Laghubitta has:
- Established 4 new branches in the remote locations of Banke, Dailekh, Rolpa and Surkhet
- Partnered with 7 cooperatives to pilot Cooperative Linkage Model
- Provided services to more than 5,000 beneficiaries
- Disbursed over NPR 1 billion in loans and collected deposits more than NPR 63 million