UNYC Nepal, a Financial Non-Government Organization (FINGO), and Vijay Laghu Bittiya Sanstha (VLBS), a Micro Finance Institution, officially launched separate Product Partnerships with Sakchyam Access to Finance Programme, a UK aid-funded initiative, on March 13, and March 15, 2015 respectively.
UNYC Nepal has over 20 years of experience working with Disadvantaged Groups (DAGs) and has conducted micro-finance programs in 4 districts— Bardiya, Banke, Kailali and Kanchanpur, where it already has 19 districts. Its partnership with Sakchyam will roll out various products through 9 new branches in Bardiya (2), Kalilali (7) and Dadeldhura (1) with 1 Branchless Banking point, targeting more than 15,000 women from DAGs, especially Tharu, Dalit, Muslim and Madhes communities as well as women from freed Kamaiya, Kamlahri, Adherawa and Haliya communities. Aligned with Sakchyam’s objectives of reaching out to the rural poor, the eligibility criteria for UNYC Nepal’s products and services is women with less than 10 katthas of land, or who have no government jobs, or make less than NPR 50,000 as annual earnings. UNYC will develop a market place within the catchment area of each new branch, offering entrepreneurship development trainings to potential clients. The financial products being offered include loans for productive use, seasonal loans, loans to encourage micro-entrepreneurship, as well as loans for housing, foreign employment and unexpected emergencies. They will also encourage savings on a group basis, individual saving plans, and plans for children. The launch event took place on March 13, at Sakchyam’s newly-opened satellite office in Amargadhi-5, Dadeldhura. Present at the event were DFID Nepal’s Economic Development Team Leader Ms. Ashufta Alam; Mr. Dev Man Chaudhary, Chairman, UNYC Nepal, other members of UNYC Nepal and Sakchyam teams and local press.
Speaking at the event Ms. Alam expressed that she was impressed by the clarity of UNYC Nepal’s work and that she her interaction with UNYC Nepal’s women beneficiaries at their Dhangadhi office. She also mentioned that DFID Nepal was keen to work for financial sector transformation in Nepal’s rural areas by working with BFIs, Nepal Rastra Bank and other ancillary government institutions to understand and overcome the barriers of the financial ecosystem.
Sakchyam’s new partnership with VLBS will establish 6 new branches at the VDC level in Dang, Salyan, Pyuthan, Rolpa and Rukum districts. The initiative will provide entrepreneurship training prior to giving out loans and implement financial literacy initiatives by adopting Mobile Technology and Community Radio Programmes. VLBS will employ the ‘Be With Your Client’ approach through SMS and voice messages and work to improve the connectivity of their branches through an enhanced MIS system linking all branches to their head office. Sakchyam will support VLBS in reaching more than 4,219 households of the rural poor, women, and DAGs with loan and insurance products, and mobilise 5,860 households with savings. VLBS will disburse loans of NPR 112 million within a 3-year duration including collateral-based and non-collateral loans of amounts ranging between NPR 10,000 and NPR 500,000. The partnership launch took place at Vijaya Development Resource Center’s Nawalparasi office, and was attended by Dr. Prakash Kumar Shrestha, Director, Nepal Rastra Bank Siddharthanagar; Mr. Basanta Lamsal, Managing Director, BLBS; senior members of VLBS and Sakchyam teams, and local media.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Baljit Vohra, Sakchyam Team Leader said, “VLBS has demonstrated quite ably that it is capable of innovation in financial products and service delivery and that it understands the challenges of the region well. At Sakchyam, we are all about transformative innovation and are confident that this partnership with VLBS will empower rural poor communities in these 5 districts to unlock their true potential.”