Dates: 2003 – 2009
In rural Nepal, women do not have access to credit from banks. If they borrow money from village moneylenders, they are forced to pay back the loan at unreasonably high interest rates. It is rare to hear of female community members saving money and investing those savings into livelihoods improvement because there is no mechanism for them to do so at the local level, especially in remote areas where there is little access to local markets and services.
In Nepal, “green roads” use environmentally friendly, labor-intensive construction techniques to build roads that link isolated, rural village development committees (VDCs) with district centers. In hill districts, green roads have been promoted for the development of secondary road systems to improve access to markets and services for remote VDCs. Green roads bring immediate economic benefits to communities along the road corridor. A skeletal network of “green roads” was developed in Gulmi and Arghakhanchi Districts that linked the district centers to more remote VDCs. As part of this initiative, expansion of microfinance and economic education activities were implemented to ensure that these new routes brought economic benefits to the families that surrounded them.
To take advantage of those benefits, World Education worked with its NGO partners in Gulmi and Arghakhanchi to reach older women with little or no literacy skills, while at the same time provided opportunities for women with limited formal education to receive relevant nonformal education. By using the Women’s Economic Empowerment and Literacy (WEEL) package along the “green roads” corridors, women increased their literacy skills, and especially their math skills, so that they were better prepared to participate in savings and credit groups and gain knowledge and skills for improving their livelihoods.