Three organisations from the development, banking and private sectors have partnered to launch a programme aimed at enabling 100 high-potential women in the Mid and Far Western Development Regions of Nepal to set up small businesses.
In the Mid and Far West of Nepal, women not only account for more than 50% of the population, they also head over 70% of households. Yet, they are poorly represented on the entrepreneurial landscape.
Unilever Nepal, RAP3 CONNECT and Prabhu Bank are trying to redress the balance.
The UK Aid-funded RAP3 CONNECT is a component of the Rural Access Programme 3, implemented by IMC Worldwide, whose aim is to alleviate poverty and foster socio-economic development through the construction of transport infrastructure in remote parts of Nepal.
RAP3 CONNECT hopes to foster women’s entrepreneurship by working with private sector partners such as Unilever Nepal Limited and Prabhu Bank Limited.
Prabhu Bank is one of the fastest-growing private sector banks in Nepal with deep rural market penetration, extensive direct and subsidiary products and services portfolios, as well as entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to improve access to finance for the poor, especially farmers and women.
Unilever Nepal Limited, meanwhile, is one of Nepal’s largest businesses, whose mission includes promoting access to health and sanitation solutions for the Nepali people. Unilever is investing in women’s entrepreneurship through its rural direct-to-consumer ‘Hamri Didi’ initiative. Its aim is to empower underprivileged women as agents of change within their communities by providing them with knowledge on health, sanitation and sustainable income-generating opportunities.
RAP3 CONNECT selected 100 women from RAP3 core districts, namely Achham, Bajura, Dailekh, Doti and Jumla.
They attended a training jointly organised by RAP3 CONNECT and Unilever this week in Bode, Bhaktapur and received a certificate of completion from the Nepal Rastra Bank Governor, Dr Chiranjibi Nepal. Now, the Hamri Didis are eligible to trade and deal in consumer products.
This partnership between RAP 3 CONNECT, Prabhu Bank and Unilever Nepal is very important as it focuses on making women independent.
-Dr. Chiranjibi Nepal, Nepal Rastra Bank Governor
The Governor also added that Nepal Rastra Bank is facilitating banks to reach remote areas of the country to provide banking services in a simple and cost-effective way.
Prabhu Bank Limited will provide loans of Nepalese Rupees 15,000 to all 100 Hamri Didis for start-up capital. A strong network of agents across the country enables Prabhu Bank to offer efficiencies in the delivery and management of these loans.
IMC Worldwide is proud to have facilitated this partnership through its implementation of RAP3 CONNECT and to have brought the ‘Hamri Didi’ business opportunity to rural women in the Mid and Far West of Nepal. This promising initiative has immense potential for advancing women’s empowerment, a priority for IMC across our programmes in Nepal and around the world.
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