Pact's Women's Empowerment Program in Nepal: A Savings and Literacy Led Alternative to Financial Institution Building

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This paper is based on the evaluation of Pact's Women Empowerment Program (WEP) that is being implemented in Nepal.

Some of the key characteristics of WEP that the paper describes are:

  • Poor can meet most of their credit needs through internally generated savings;
  • WEP serves as a time limited catalyst to create large number of independently functioning, locally controlled savings and credit groups;
  • WEP develops an appropriate literacy curriculum and links to large number of local organization.

Some of the impacts of the program are:

  • 240 organizations were recruited, trained and enlisted as partners;
  • 6,500 groups with 130,000 members were provided training and support;
  • Over 800 new groups have been created from the existing groups with no financial support from WEP;
  • Of the target audience, 45% are poor, 35% emerging poor and 20% better off;
  • 45,366 members avail 97% of the group funds as loan, making WEP the second largest village bank listed in MicroBanking Bulletin.

The authors recommend that WEP should:

  • Invest in a more modest, but longer, technical support plan;
  • Utilize the trained cadre of group treasurers to expand program on their own or serve as grass root promoters.

The authors conclude that for reaching large number of rural poor in the poorest countries where financial institutions are weak and illiteracy is high, this model, based on teaching and facilitating, may prove to be an effective strategy.

About this Publication

By Ashe, J. & Parrott, L.