Breaking barriers for women entrepreneurs in Achham

The number of business women in rural Nepal is much higher than one would expect. Menuka, a 30-year old resident of Kudikhet VDC in Achham district, is one such business woman. Two years ago, while pregnant with her first child, Menuka talked with her husband about her dream to open a grocery store in their hometown of Mujabagar.

Of the 256 cooperatives in Achham, Menuka joined Shree Kshitize Multipurpose Cooperative in Batulasen VDC and started saving money for her grocery store. Through the support and loan facilitation provided by the SAFAL project, Menuka took a loan of NPR 200,000 from Rural Microfinance Development Center (RMDC) at 16% interest rate to expand her grocery store to include a restaurant. With the increased income from her restaurant she believes she will be able to repay the loan. Menuka explained:
The loan will enable me to purchase goods directly from the wholesaler instead of going through a middleman who charges a higher fee. It is going to take time and hard work. The wholesaler is located a 7-hour walk from my home so it will take several mules to carry the goods, but it is worth the price difference. And I’m confident that I can do it!
"Everyone has dreams, but many women don’t act on theirs; it is hard to make them believe in their potential", shared Pratik Devkota, District Coordinator for Achham district. With the loan she received through SAFAL project, Menuka was able to make her dream come true.
Financial Literacy Training
Samriddha Pahad UK's Financial Literacy Training aims to help low income clients efficiently manage their household finances and effectively use the financial services available to them. Financial Literacy Training uses adult-learning techniques to explain key financial concepts in the four modules: financial planning, cash flow and budgeting, savings, and debt. The content for the Financial Literacy Training is based on ACCION's Financial Literacy Program and contextualised to cater to a rural Nepali audience. The training uses interactive and relevant stories, exercises and games to explain key financial concepts and is targeted at an audience with minimal or no literacy. The training is simple to deliver in an informal setting, making it scalable to reach a wide audience.
Menuka attended the Financial Literacy Training organised through the SAFAL project to figure out how she could save enough from her daily income to build a house next to her shop. She shared:
From the Financial Literacy Training, I learnt how to budget my income so that I know how much money I have in my hands at the end of the month. I want to be able to build a house in the next 7 years, without needing to take a loan.
Menuka relates to the Financial Literacy Training’s fictional protagonist, Kanchhi who goes from being unable to afford a candy to opening her own bangle shop within a span of five years. Menuka’s house is her version of Kanchhi’s bangle store.
Over the next few years, the SAFAL project hopes to be able to change the livelihoods of many men and women in the hill and mountain regions of rural Nepal. We hope to break down the barriers, one person at a time.