We’re saving for the future now. You can bank on It!
In Nepal, as of 2019, only 61 percent of the population had a bank account in their own name. Although 61 percent is strikingly low, it doesn’t paint the whole picture for the women of Nepal. Whereas, a report by Nepal Rastra Bank in Nepal highlights that Nepal, in line with global trends, found that the majority of these were held by men. Moreover, men had higher levels of access to banking services and were more financially included with 16 percent being excluded compared to 20 percent of women.
To bridge this gap, the World Bank’s Program for the Buddhist Circuit Development in South Asia financed by the Australian Government, is supporting poor women in the Greater Lumbini Area to open a bank account and have access to financial services for the first time in their lives.
For the 113 women entrepreneurs engaged in the program, the ability to save and protect their earnings in a bank was an unknown luxury until now. In December 2020, after an introductory business literacy training, the Bank’s team walked into NIC Asia Bank with the entrepreneurs to assist them in opening their accounts and learn about financial services, including savings account and mobile banking, and how to make money transfers.
Since then, the entrepreneurs have wasted no time in saving. Rojee, a 27 years-old tailor engaged in the program, recently shared with the Bank team how having a bank account has changed her mind-set and spending behaviors: “Before I either had to rely on others to save my earnings or would hide it around the house. Not only have these uncertainties changed, but also my spending habits too. By removing excess cash from around me, I think more about things before I buy them by asking myself, ‘if I really need this?’ I have been able to cut a lot of the less important purchases out.”
Since December, Rojee has saved over NPR 60,000 (roughly US$600) from tailoring and her other income sources. She was ecstatic while telling the Bank team: “This is just the beginning; I plan to keep saving as much as possible. Changing from keeping my money on hand to saving it in a bank was such a simple thing, but it has made a world of difference in my life!”