CENTRE FOR SELF-HELP DEVELOPMENT

Institute of micro-finance and cooperative development.

Centre for Self-help Development (CSD) Organized a Workshop to address Financial Inclusion and Extreme Poverty Issues in Collaboration with Microcredit Summit Campaign (MSC), USA

                                                                                                         

Centre for Self-help Development (CSD) organized a workshop on ‘Combating Extreme Poverty through Financial Inclusion and Social Protection Programs’ on 11th December, 2015 at Hotel Yellow Pagoda, Kantipath in joint collaboration with Microcredit Summit Campaign (MSC), USA.MSC is one of the leading organizations in microfinance having global movement through its Microcredit Summit Campaign which is held in every four years. The workshop was attended by 46 participants in total comprising theleaders from various microfinance banks, cooperatives and FINGOs,bankers, experts from international development agencies and stakeholders.

The Director of MSC, Mr. Larry Reed, was the keynote speaker for the event. He highlighted the sustainable development goal of eradicating poverty by the year 2030, set by the World Bank and presented the various means to help meet this end. He said that financial inclusion is the stepping stone for reaching those who had been deprived of financial access. “It is indeed, very important to assess and find out who the excluded groups are, where they are and what the reasons behind their exclusion”, said Mr. Reed. He suggested a tool of mapping the microfinance members as well as the poor ones with brief information on the kind of infrastructural facilities available in the mapped region which could be used as a baseline and strategies developed to bring them within the framework of financial inclusion. Mr. Reed also marked that the different levels of poverty could be brought down commonly by focusing on specific agendas such as integrating saving, health services, mentoring, mobile banking, agricultural value chains, conditional cash transfers and graduation programs. Mr. Reed has been working in the development field since the past 25 years and has contributed to numerous books on finance and the poor and has authored the State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report between 2011 and 2013.

The workshop was chaired by Mr. Shankar Man Shrestha, Chairman of CSD. He congratulated all the participating MFIs for being able to introduce microfinance in Nepal and reaching out to the unbanked population. He said that it is a great achievement that Nepalese MFIs have been able to mobilize their own resources and even making profits of more than 2 billion rupees compared to the initial days where everyone was so skeptical about doing business in microfinance. However, he called everyone’s attention to the fact that there still remain huge chunks of population who are left out of access to financial services. He urgedall the invitees to penetrate deeper and wider in the remote areas using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) technique and streamline poor people, help them be self-reliant and widen the framework of financial inclusion through credit plus program.
On this special occasion, theExecutive Director of Microfinance Promotion and Supervision Department of NRB, Dr. BinodAtreyastarted with a note on importance of digital financing in making financial services accessible to the remote areas. He stated thatat least, 18% of total population is completely excluded from any kind of formal or informal access to financial services and the central bank is always concerned to reduce this statistic to minimum. The recent policy directive which mandates MFIs to spend at least 1% of their profits on social protection programs was shared as a very new initiative taken by the NRB in this regard. He also presented the challenges being faced by MFIs in present context and gave some suggestive measures.
The workshop also came up with different perspectives and experiences of serving the members of varied backgrounds like Dalits, Migrant returnees (especially, women coming back from foreign employment), unemployed youths and so on.  It figured out the major reasons behind financial exclusion and the way forward so as to bring in the excluded groups under microfinance and social protection programs for ending the extreme poverty. Mr. ShankerNathKapali, Acting Executive Director of CSD also gave his remarks on the need of financial inclusion in present context of Nepal.
Finally, the workshop ended with an informative note on 18th Microcredit Summit Campaign to be held on Abu Dhabi from 15th to 17th March. Mr. Reed invited every guest present in the workshop and wished them best to meet the goal of ending poverty.

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