Impact Assessment of SACCOSs in Nepal's Hill Districts: Findings of an Action Research
This report assesses the impact of savings and credit cooperative societies (SACCOS) in four hilly districts of Nepal. Despite low outreach and numbers, SACCOS are a cost-effective model for providing financial services to communities that have little or no access to other formal financial services. The study aims to help policy makers and regulatory bodies develop suitable microfinance services in the hills.The study draws on information gathered using various research tools with 600 respondents selected from different clusters of four SACCOS. Findings include:
- Program-promoted SACCOS had wider reach compared to self-promoted ones;
- Member households were less likely to approach other sources of loans than non-members;
- Members who had taken large loans for income-generating activities usually turned a profit, mostly ploughed back into the business;
- Higher increases registered in incomes of member households compared to non-member households;
- Diet and women's empowerment in member households were better than that in non-member households.
The study also finds the SACCOS model to be effective in hill-based communities, and recommends that government and NGOs promote it, working with them as partners in poverty reduction and development initiatives.