Impact Evaluation of PACT's Women's Empowerment Program in Nepal: A Savings and Literacy Led Alternative to Financial Institution Building

Strengthening capacity of savings and credit groups
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This report describes Pacts Women's Empowerment Program (WEP) in Nepal.

WEPs microfinance model is based on building equity in groups rather than incurring MFI debt. Program objectives include group strengthening, business development, empowerment and community activism. The program also focuses on making members literate. WEP uses existing community groups, develops systems and operates through many local partner organizations. The paper states that WEP:

  • Recruited, trained and enlisted 240 Nepali organizations as partners;
  • Provided training and support to 6,500 groups with 130,000 members in the lowland Terai region of Nepal;
  • Mobilized $1,180,000 through women participants from savings, retained interest earnings and fundraising events despite the regions extreme poverty;
  • Is the second largest village bank program listed in the MicroBanking Bulletin with 97 percent of group funds currently on loan to 45,366 members;
  • Has increased womens decision-making authority, literacy and ability to start a business.

WEP has shown that the poor can save enough to make important investments in business, even in impoverished rural Nepal. Participation in WEP has created strong groups that are attractive candidates for other programs.

About this Publication

By Ashe, J. & Parrott, L.