District Overview

Ilam lies in the hill district of Mechi Zone in the Eastern development region of Nepal. The total area of the district is 1703 comprising of 48 VDCs, one municipality and 3 electoral constituencies. Ilam has a total population of 290,254 (Male 141126 and Female 149,128) with a population density of 170 per sq. km. The total number of households is 64502, with an average household size of 4.50 .
Ilam is today one of the developed hilly districts in Nepal. Ilam tea is very famous and is exported to many parts of Europe. The main source of income in this district are tea, cardamom, milk, ginger, potato, Orlon, and broom grass (Amriso) produced on a large scale. Thus, a large part of the population is involved in Agriculture.

Economic and financial Landscape:

Among the households, those engaged in agricultural activities in this district covers 79.3% of the total households. Remaining occupations of the households are business, service, wage labour and others. The income source of nearly 82% of the households is agriculture . The second position of income is that of wage labour followed by foreign remittance and business. Only for 3.67% of the households’ income source is service. Among the small and cottage industries, majority belong to the agriculture and service sector.
The district is served by 17 different branches of ‘A’ Class Commercial Banks, seven different branches of ‘B’ Class Development Banks and one branch of ‘C’ Class Finance Companies. The population served per branch is 12,112 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.

GESI Issues:

This district has the highest population of the Rai (23.76%) followed by Limbu (15.72%). Brahmin in the third position (13.91%) is followed by Chhetri (13.69%), Tamang (6.95%), Magar (5.19%), Kami, Gurung, Sherpa, Damai, Sunuwar, Lepcha fall under others, in terms of caste/ethnicity. Among total population, 5.53% are Dalits and 65.17% are indigenous nationalities in Ilam district . Lepcha is categorized an endangered indigenous nationality of Nepal. Lepcha covers 0.97 percent of total population of the district. The traditional patriarchal structure of the society and structural discrimination against women contribute to reduce their social and economic status in Ilam district.
A key focus of Sakchyam is to increase the access to financial services and facilities for the rural poor of the district, particularly for women and other DAGs. Sakchyam may also set as a priority for this district creating linkages between financial institutions and other non-financial institutions (such solar power equipment outlet, agribusinesses, warehouses/collection centres, etc.) to provide access to finance for potential renewable/rural energy sources and associated technologies based on climatic, geographical & socio-economic variations and address them as to support GESI beneficiaries.

Sakchyam’s Ongoing interventions

Delivery Channel Innovations

  • The programme has been able to reach the unbanked population of the district through introduction of Tablet/Mobile Banking via partnership with NUBL and Sahara SACCOS.



Outreach Expansion

  • To increase financial access for rural poor, two branches of Sahara SACCOS and two branches of NMB MF has been established in the district.


Financial Literacy Initiatives

  • Various programmes on financial literacy are being introduced through conventional channels as well as alternate delivery channels such as Tablets and mobile phones. These programmes have been launched in partnership with RMDC, NUBL, NMB MF and Sahara SACCOS.
  • Sahara SACCOS is conducting financial literacy campaigns through IVR, PGT, Centre Meeting Modules, FM Radio and videos.
  • NUBL and NMB MF is conducting financial literacy campaigns through Centre Meeting Modules and videos.
  • RMDC is conducting financial literacy campaigns through school level interactions and disseminating messages through mass media.


Product Development

  • Commercial Agricultural Loan Product has been designed and implemented in partnership with Sahar SACCOS in the district.


Other Support

  • The programme is providing Dedicated Assistant Relationship Manager (ARM) support to Machhapuchhre Bank in the district.