Access to Credit Transforms the Lives of Women in Rural Nepal

Video | 2 December 2015

Savings and credit cooperatives in rural Nepal are for the first time giving women access to capital to set up small businesses and gain a stronger voice in community affairs.

Transcript

Title: Access to Credit Transforms the Lives of Women in Rural Nepal

Description: Savings and credit cooperatives in rural Nepal are for the first time giving women access to capital to set up small businesses and gain a stronger voice in community affairs.

VO: Not so long ago Bishnu Maya Rawat didn’t even have her own ID card so she struggled to access the financial help she needed for her farm in central Nepal. Thanks to practical advice and a loan from a local women savings and credit cooperative Bishnu now has official documents,  2 parcels of land, and a new buffalo.

SOT: Bishnu Maya Rawat
Ranichuri, Nepal
This helped me a lot. We make milk, yogurt and butter and are doing better financially.

VO: Until recently, women here had no idea of their rights. A situation made worst by poverty and less access to public services. With support from the Asian Development Bank Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Project poor rural women across Nepal are seeing their socioeconomic conditions improve through a process of economic, social, legal, and political empowerment. At the top, this means reforming government institutions to become more gender responsive and inclusive of marginalized women. At the village level, it is giving individual women more access to assets and a stronger voice in community affairs.

SOT: Binda Giri
President
Shree Saraswati Women’s Savings and Credit Cooperative
Women who would not venture out of their households in the past, now have the opportunity to participate. Women can decide for themselves now while in the past they had to accept what had been decided for them by the men. Women are now invited in all functions and participate in decisions whether it is about school or anything else.

VO: When the idea of forming a women’s cooperative was first voiced many were nervous fearing it would be frowned upon by society. But those fears soon dissolved as women begun seeing the benefits. Now the cooperative supports projects from family farms to walking paths to small shops.

Laxmi Shrestha took a loan from the cooperative to open her own store peddling drinks and dried goods. She’s also invested in a tomato garden. She says tomatoes offer a better value than traditional crop such as rice.

SOT: Laxmi Shrestha
Entrepreneur
Ranichuri, Nepal
Planting other crops doesn’t create any income but vegetable farming is helpful. If you have energy to do that you can earn money.

VO: Laxmi plans to take more loans to expand her shop and tomato business bringing in more income than she’s ever seen before. Empowering women in rural Nepal offering skills and a little capital allowing them to make a life for themselves.