Nina in Nepal

I visited Nepal from 24th of October to 10th of November. This time Sangeeta and I spent a lot of time visiting some of the “old” WAWCAS women to follow up on how they are doing. It was so inspiring to talk with them, and it felt really good to hear how they are still in business and develop their business ongoing. 

Ratnamay is one of these “old” WAWCAS women, and she joined the very first WAWCAS group back in 2007. She is still the chairperson of her group, and the group still meets every month. From the small loan of 200 euro that she received and the trainings she got, she now owns 2 shops, and her husband runs one of them. 
Her 3 sons are all educated, and the oldest has just started a motorbike repair business. Ratnamay’s story really shows how big and lasting change the women in WAWCAS manage. 

We also visited Dhamilikuwa, which is an area in Lamjung where WAWCAS finished the last groups in 2015.  

A total of 9 groups are in this area. It was so great to visit them again, and all the women were still in business and many had opened business number 2 – despite that this area was badly hit by the earthquake back in 2015.
293 of the women have decided to merge into one big cooperative. This means that they save money together and can get loans from the group, and thereby they have access to much more money. 
A year ago, when we realized that they were running this cooperative, Krishna, WAWCAS’ finance officer, has since then supported the women to ensure a strong system for all the money they suddenly have to handle. Krishna tells later in this newsletter how he works with the women. 
The fact that these women manage to continue their development on their own has impressed me so much, and it is really wonderful to experience.  

In Dhamilikuwa we experienced another very touching story. When we were walking through the village, a man came running out to us from his grocery shop. He said: ”Look how much change you have given us for 15.000 Nrp (1000 DKr) loan and training. Before we had nothing”. He was so proud of his wife’s and his own change. He handles the grocery shop she originally started, and she now runs a restaurant next to it. Their daughter study to become a nurse, and the son is in the best boarding school. Before his wife joined WAWCAS, he had to work in Dubai and hence be away from the family.

We had a cup of tea with the family and it filled our hearts with warmth knowing that WAWCAS has helped in enabling this family to grow in so many ways. Situations like these are exactly why we keep on working with WAWCAS.  

During my stay in Nepal, we also joined many of the LPLs on their trainings and home visits in order to learn about the new women and to supervise the LPLs on the spot. Based on what we saw, we chose a few topics to be used as input in a meeting with the whole team. It is always very fruitful to talk with the LPLs and to observe their work with the women.
Finally, we also had some very good meetings in the management team where we made some important decisions for actions that need to be taken in the coming year in order to develop the organization even more and strengthen the women as businesspeople even further. 

Again I must say that it is so great to have time to be with the whole WAWCAS team, and for Sangeeta and me to have time to evaluate, reflect and plan together. 

By; Nina Schriver, International Program Director 

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