29 Feb 2012
AusAID, UNDP sign AUD 3.1 m cost sharing agreement to reduce poverty in Nepal
UNDP Micro-enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP)and AusAID have once again ventured on a new partnership (AUD 3.1 million or US$ 3.3 m) to reduce poverty in Nepal. This is expected to directly benefit 5500 entrepreneurs and create 8000 new jobs in 2012. With this, the total funding of AusAID for MEDEP will amount to AUD 9.015m (US$ 9.6 m).
At the local level, this additional support to MEDEP will help to expand new opportunities for 3,000 new entrepreneurs on forest and agro based green enterprises while the existing support to 1500 will be scaled up to refine their products and have better market outreach; simultaneously about 1000 struggling entrepreneurs will receive additional support to improve their skills and products. As of now MEDEP has created more than 60,000 entrepreneurs and almost 70% of them are women.
The entrepreneurs promoted by MEDEP have been producing a range of products; from soap, incense sticks, spices and honey to export quality fabrics and products made out of natural fibres. The organic products of the entrepreneurs have found a very good place in the domestic market.
The project has also helped to boost agricultural micro-enterprise by providing grants for seeds, fertilizers, pumps and pipes for irrigation to riverbank farmers. More than 80 percent of Nepal’s population lives in rural areas where the lack of income earning opportunities remains a central cause of the widespread poverty and worsening food security.
At the national level, the project will continue to work to strengthen the capacity of government, local bodies, partner NGOs and private sector organisations to improve favourable policy environment.
The 2010 impact study conducted on MEDEP’s contribution to the Millennium Development Goals reflected that nearly 3/4thof the programme households have moved out of poverty (73.1%).
Since July 2009, the Ministry of Industries (MOI) has been working to replicate the MEDEP model in all the 75 districts of Nepal as Micro Enterprise Development for Poverty Alleviation Programme and has allocated Rs. 249 million for the replication of the programme in 45 districts.
Currently, the flagship enterprise promotion programme of the Government, MEDEP was initiated in 1998, targeting the poor and excluded groups. During its course of implementation, bilateral donors such as AusAID, DFID, NZAID and CIDA have funded MEDEP.