Having worked in the Sunsari district of Nepal for over 15 years, Development Nepal and its local partner, UCHEP, have facilitated community-led work in order to give the poorest communities and individuals improved access to essential education and resources. Ujyalo Bhabisya has become a trusted brand for programme activities that support a greater level of independence.
A member of Development Nepal’s local team visits every community each month when the Savings Group meets. These facilitators provide support to the maintenance of the savings balances for members and loan application process. Equally, they collect excess funds not borrowed and/ or make available funds from other Savings Groups as loan capital.
The vast majority of co-operatives work through individual members, requiring attendance in person at a central point to deposit savings or collect a loan. The model that Development Nepal uses, recognises and responds to the lack of time available to the poorest, by taking banking to the community and its members.
Membership of the UB Co-operative relies on participation in a local community Saving Group for monthly savers. Micro-loans do not require loan collateral by relying on the social and trust capital established between community members.
A minimal charge to open up an account entitles the saver to membership and contributes to the cost of facilitating the savings and loans process; a commitment is required to save at least 100 Rupees (£0.80) per month.
Daily savers establish a relationship with the UB Co-operative through daily interaction. Monthly savers make up 90% of the UB Co-operative membership. However, the small percentage of daily savers contributing to the programme, help to cross-subsidise the work of UB Co-operative and are accelerating the day when the UB Co-operative will be self-funding.
After a period of saving, the individual qualifies to take a loan, subject to available funds within the Co-operative and approval by their Savings Group. Successful repayment enables greater borrowing opportunity.
Affordable rates of interest mean that accessible micro-credit is available for projects to enhance livelihoods such as animal husbandry, farming improvements and setting up small commerce.
The very reasonable loan rate earns interest for savers (Nepali co-operative law regulates the levels of interest rates that can be applied). Whilst Savings Group members decide which loan requests are acceptable, we strongly encourage support of projects focused on livelihoods and income-generation in line with our mission focus: to alleviate poverty by helping the poorest communities out of the poverty cycle.