Women Awareness Centre Nepal has been working to establish cooperative networks in Nepal. Till date WACN has successfully established 41 micro credit organizations consisting of 30,000 women members. Currently 6 cooperatives are in operation in Chitwan and 2 in adjoining district Makwanpur.
In 2010 women's informal group from Piple village of Chitwan approached WACN seeking help to establish the group into a legal financial entity for economic and social empowerment of women. The women successfully registered the informal group as "Akaladevi Nari Chetna Savings and Credit cooperative" in 2011.
The Cooperative of Piple village currently has 300 women members. 52 children have also become members of the cooperative. The cooperative currently provides 10% interest on savings and charges 16% on loan. The women's groups have disbursed Rs. 436,000 in loans.
The cooperative management committee holds monthly meetings and interaction programs. Following trainings have been conducted so far:
Savings, Credit and Cooperative Training at Piple VDC
30 women with leadership qualities including the members from the management were provided training on savings and credit. The training focused on importance of group, importance of norms and values set by the group, things to be considered while forming the savings group, saving for retirement, methods to save,major features and provision of the cooperative act and organizational structure.
Cooperative Account Keeping Training at Piple VDC
2o individuals from Piple VDC were trained on basics of accounting. The training included journal entries, filling out invoice, pass book, share register, day book, loan sheet, personal savings register, assets and liability account, income and expenditure account, balance sheet and calculation of interest on savings and loan.
Training on Mushroom Cultivation and interaction
The cooperative women organized trainings on mushroom cultivation in coordination with the office of small cottage industry district office. 20 women have taken out loans for mushroom farming. The women's group also organized an interaction program to raise issues of violence against women by inviting various local politician and other prominent figures of the village.
WACN feels that these women require more training to successfully govern the organization on their own. We want to produce at least 30 experts from within the community to run the cooperatives so that they can further train other members. The demand for loan in this village is high on animal farming and agriculture. Trainings on mass production of vegetables and animal health is also necessary. Programs on human rights, basic literacy and violence against women are also needed.
The cooperative has one two female paid staff one makes $22.00 a month and another makes $11 per month. The rest of in the team are volunteers. We are understaffed and there is a need to recruit more people in management and increase the wages of the staff.
Case story of a Cooperative Member
Suntali Raila of Piple Ward shared no 5 shared her story with us. Sunita did not get an opportunity to go to school. She spent her life on house hold chores like carrying fire wood and taking care of livestock. She was always short on cash because she did not have a source of income. When she needed money, the only option was borrowing on high interest rate from the rich of the village. Being a widow she was always humiliated and has many bitter experiences while borrowing money. This made her realize that her own savings group was necessary to access money.
Case story of a cooperative member
Sudha Pathak, a 17 years old girl was involved in a road accident 11 years ago. She suffered severe injuries. Slowly she recovered and enrolled back in school but had difficulty learning. The accident affected her vision and memory. Her economic condition is bad. She currently lives with her parents, one sister and one brother. She has recently dropped out of school.
We requested Sudha to take part in the training. She was hesitant at first but agreed. At the end of the training she said that the training had opened her eyes. She realized the importance of saving. She became a member of the cooperative and saves a small amount. She felt welcome to the womens cooperative despite of her disabilities.
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IDEX Latin America Program Director