Women Gain Financial Security With Savings Co-Op
Women are being empowered through their membership in the Triveni Women’s Savings and Credit Cooperative in Nepal. The co-op provides loans, insurance and other financial benefits that are often hard for women to come by.
The Triveni Cooperative started in 2018 with just 19 members. At first, they collected just 8 cents per woman per month while they got in the habit of saving. Rambha, co-op manager, said, “Our first year we had less than $85 in capital.”
The initial lack of loan funds was a frustration to members. “Members could not get loans as per demand,” said Tara, cooperative president, “and they were disappointed with the cooperative.” Then LWR and local partner SAHAMATI stepped in to help. They assisted with training on management, leadership and business planning, and helped the group to establish rules and regulations. The added structure was just the boost the co-op needed to thrive. These days, it is 542 members strong. With the activity of the members and some added support from the program, the loan fund now totals $362,253. The women now save anywhere from $1.60 to $8.40 per month, and they can borrow up to $1,683 at a time.
Most of the cooperative members have small businesses and now that they are able to access loans as needed their businesses are thriving and expanding. The cooperative received a turmeric grinder this past year from the program as well as a machine that helps them weigh and package the ground product. They have been able to earn some income by selling turmeric in nearby markets.
In addition to loans, the shareholders have the benefit of access to insurance. They can purchase up to $505 of cattle and crop insurance with a 50% discount on premiums. The co-op also provides birth and death benefits, giving shareholders $8.40 when they give birth and providing $42 to a designated beneficiary upon the death of a shareholder.
The cooperative is transforming women’s lives, giving them a better option than taking high-interest loans from wealthy merchants and allowing them to spend their money in ways that benefit their family and, ultimately, their community.
India Nepal Flood Resilience Program
Led by Lutheran World Relief and Local Partners SAHAMATI and Koshi Victim’s Society