Nepal’s financial sector consists of 29 commercial banks, 80 development banks, 79 finance companies, and a number of microfinance development banks (MFDBs), financial cooperatives and financial intermediary non-governmental organizations. According to Nepal Rastra Bank, which is the country’s central bank and regulatory agency, the total numbers of financial institutions increased from only two in 1980 to 235 in 2008, and progressive efforts have been made requiring banks, private and public, to direct a certain percentage of their loans to low-income households and small businesses. Still, about half of Nepal’s households do not have access to formal financial services and only 26 percent have a bank account. While even fewer youth have access to financial services, children’s clubs are a potential channel for improving financial access and capability. These clubs are found across the country, and are a venue for youth between 10 to 18 years of age to engage with others on the issues in their society, such as child labor, discrimination, HIV/AIDS and child marriage.
Financial Partner: Bank of Kathmandu (BoK)
Founded in 1995, Bank of Kathmandu Ltd. (BOK) has national representation, with 37 branches and over 250 agency outlets in 54 of Nepal’s 75 districts. Its number of branches in the Western and Far Western provinces, Nepal’s most marginalized regions, is among the highest of any Nepali bank. The Bank’s campaign to inculcate a habit of savings among Nepalis, particularly in rural areas, has led to the provision of various deposit products, such as Laghu Muddati (Micro Fixed Deposit), Laghu Bachat (Micro Savings), Nava Kopila Bachat Khata (New Buds Savings) and Gramin Mahila Bachat Khata (Rural Women Savings Account). Going forward, the Bank will focus on enhancing access to financial services supported by a robust MIS (management information system), efficient management of human resources, and strategic partnerships, while continuing with all CSR initiatives, which are consistent with the Bank’s motto “We make your life easier.” To learn more about BoK visit: www.bok.com.np.
Research Partner: New Era
Established in 1971, New Era is a private institution specializing in development research, with expertise in education, population health, labor force, and equity studies. Its main goal is to provide an independent Nepalese perspective in the design, implementation, and assessment of development policies and programs by employing a wide range of quantitative, qualitative, and participatory rural appraisal methodologies. It has experience carrying out feasibility studies, baseline surveys, impact studies, case studies, participatory research, and needs assessments. New Era has also conducted four consecutive national demographic and health surveys (1991, 1996, 2001, and 2006) for the Nepalese Ministry of Health and Population. Core staff are experienced field researchers from diverse academic backgrounds, including agriculture, communication, computer, demography, economics, education, forestry, geography, natural resources, health and nutrition, rural sociology, and rural development. To learn more about New Era visit: www.newera.com.np.
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