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Co-operatives for economic empowerment and gender equality in Nepal.





Mr. Dinesh Kafle is from Sunsari district of Nepal, he is a vegetable farmer and his investment is funded by a local co-operative. Without any collateral, the co-operative delivered him the loan which he pays every week in certain installments. His installment is his liability, his surplus is his saving and his revenue is his livelihood. Co-operative is a real sense of economic democracy, the democracy of accessing loans, and paying in installments. Dinesh's life is change, he could access to loan and start his venture, he is self-employed and people like Dinesh are a crucial part of the co-operative movement.

Co-operative is a movement, a movement of participatory progress upon economic empowerment, and every year on July 4th, the wolrd community commemorates this day. This day is the marking of the first Saturday of July since 1923.

Since 1923, the International Cooperative Organization has been celebrating Cooperative Day in July every year. The United Nations has also adopted the day since 1995. In Nepal too, in the last two decades, there has been a growing trend of taking loans in installments, forming groups at the community level, and doing business, including cooperative or microfinance and credit flow without any collaterals. From small businessmen to big corporations, they are involved in saving a certain amount of money and borrowing a large amount of money by paying small installments regularly. Cooperative refers to financial services or assistance provided to individuals or community groups who are financially marginalized, low-income, and do not have access or have less access to other financial services.

The purpose of co-operative is insurance for savings, borrowing, and risk reduction. Compared to other financial transactions, cooperative loans can be relatively expensive as loans have to be disbursed at the community level and mostly without collaterals. Despite this, many small farmers or small traders are a part of co-operatives as the service is simple, easy, and provided in the community.

The initial credit for cooperatives or so-called microfinance in Nepal goes to the Rural Development Bank of Eastern Nepal (Gramin Bikash Bank), which has been delivering cooperative facilities in Eastern Nepal since the mid-1990s. This bank first created a women group, made them literate, and empower them enough to aspire for a loan with a specific purpose of doing a certain business.

In Bangladesh, the financial services of this structure have been launched and were proven to be a milestone in economic upliftment. Bangladesh is considered a pioneer nation in establishing co-operative movements and later Nepal replicated the structure, as extensive assistance in community upliftment. There are many such cooperative services in South Asian countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. Cooperatives have also proved to be a wonderful weapon for the upliftment and empowerment of women as women can get easy loans. Co-operatives are the catalyst for gender equality and economic empowerment. In the early days of Nepal's cooperative service, many cooperative operators were found to be cheating the public and misusing their savings. Now, Nepali cooperatives are becoming stronger and more transparent with the strict adherence to the deposit amount that is required to keep the cooperatives legally strong and open.
It is commendable that women's groups, local clubs, and other community groups have also developed as cooperatives, which are the basis of local development and economic companions of small entrepreneurs.

Nepal is a country of villages and the convoy of bullock carts, tractors, and bicycles that blow dust in the village guarantee development more than the raving cars running in the city.

The development of the village is the development of the country. The newly elected representatives of the local bodies should also help in maintaining transparency and good governance by promoting this structure of cooperatives at the local level. Happy Cooperative Day.

Suyog Dhakal



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Hamro Patro - Connecting Nepali Communities
Hamro Patro is one of the first Nepali app to include Nepali Patro, launched in 2010. We started with a Nepali Calendar mobile app to help Nepalese living abroad stay in touch with Nepalese festivals and important dates in Nepali calendar year. Later on, to cater to the people who couldn’t type in Nepali using fonts like Preeti, Ganesh and even Nepali Unicode, we built nepali mobile keyboard called Hamro Nepali keyboard.