Connecting the rural poor, disadvantaged groups (DAGs) and women to formal financial services to enable them with choices to save, borrow, invest, and earn is one of the core objectives of UKaid Sakchyam Access to Finance Programme (Sakchyam). While enhancing access to finance for people living in the remote and inaccessible regions is the immediate goal of Sakchyam, its replicability and sustainability long-term are key. Thus, Sakchyam promotes sustainable, efficient, and tailored products and services that create a win-win situation for both the service provider – Financial Institutions and their beneficiaries (clients).
Microfinance seeks to reach those traditionally excluded by the formal banking sector and instead, who are exploited by local moneylenders who charge exorbitant interest rates and impose strict conditions. Yet, microfinance is a costly business with high operation costs and it is very human resource intensive. Most microfinance institutions (MFIs) do not use a sophisticated Management Information Systems (MIS), let alone other technological innovations that would bring down the costs of reaching more remote areas with poor infrastructure. Instead, they often resort to traditional styles of doing almost everything manually.
Sakchyam supported Kisan Bahuudyasiya Sahakari Sanstha Limited’s (KBBSL), a multipurpose cooperative society to extend microfinance services in order to enhance financial access in remote parts of Kailali district. Through the project, KBBSL aimed to transform its financial transactions recording system through tablets which was previously done manually. With Sakchyam’s support, KBBSL reviewed its current product offerings and looked for ways in which to innovate. Finally, KBBSL prioritized financial literacy in collaboration with Sakchyam and explored new ways to deliver financial education to its clients.
Impact: The project has been success in increasing financial inclusion in the intervention areas and transforming the centre meeting process, as tablets have replaced the manual way of recording transactions in the field. This has reduced time, costs, and human resources that has benefited the institution as well as the clients. KBBSL is one of the first pioneers of this technology, so they have served as an example to the rest of the industry as well. Similarly, an increased focus on financial literacy has increased client protection and responsible finance. By the end of the project in July 2018, Kisan Cooperative has,
- Launched 6 branches serving more than 12,000 beneficiaries
- Disbursed GBP 3.91 million in loans and mobilized GBP 1.19 million in savings
- Reached more than 13,000 beneficiaries through financial literacy programme
- Fully digitized 200 microfinance centre’s transactions and converted into paperless transaction centres