Kesha Pariyar receives Globally Coveted Business for Peace Award

Apr 11, 2014

Kathmandu—Ms. Kesha Pariyar (Kesh Kumari Damini), Chairperson of National Micro Entrepreneurs Federation (NMEFEN) has won globally coveted Business for Peace Award. She was selected as one of the 2014 Business for Peace Honourees by the committee of Nobel Laureates. The award is given by Business for Peace Foundation, Based in Oslo, Norway. She will be awarded amidst a special function on May 15th in the City Hall, Oslo, the same auspicious venue where the Nobel Peace Prize is presented every year.

Kesha is one of the 70,000 beneficiaries of Micro Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP)—a joint initiative of Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Industry (GoN-MoI) and UNDP. Australia is the key donor of the MEDEP programme in Phase III & IV. She was nominated by UNDP Nepal.

"Business for Peace Honourees are businesspersons who, through their own actions and commitments, promote socially responsible and ethical business practices in an outstanding way, and stand out as examples to the World," the Selection Committee has noted in their award citation.

Kesha comes from a poor Dalit family of Binamare-7 Baglung in 1964 who was married to Tek Bahadur Pariyar of Khanigaon-5, Parbat at the age of 18. Struggling to meet two square meals a day for her six children and overcoming social discrimination for being poor Dalit woman, she came into contact with MEDEP in 1999. She received entrepreneurship development training and access to credit by the Programme which helped her to establish Manisha Tailoring and Training Centre in 2003. Now her enterprise provides full time employment to six including her husband and a daughter.

She was also actively involved in organizing Micro Entrepreneurs into groups and associations and encouraging them to advocate for their causes. She was elected as Chairperson of District Micro Entrepreneurs' Groups Association, Parbat in 2005. With MEDEP support, when Micro entrepreneurs were forming a nationally federated body, Kesha was unanimously elected to lead National Micro Entrepreneurs Federation Nepal (NMEFEN) in 2006. Since then, Kesha has been providing continuous leadership to over 70,000 Micro Entrepreneurs.

NMEFEN also runs a sales outlet, Saugat Micro Promotion Private Limited (SMPPL) in Kathmandu which plays a vital role in marketing the products of micro entrepreneurs, providing marketing linkages and selling their products from over 50 districts.

"This is indeed a moment of pride for the country that Kesha has received such a prestigious award. With MEDEP support, she has tremendously contributed for the livelihoods improvement and empowerment of the socially backward groups and hence very much deserved this award," said the Minister for Industry Karna Bahadur Thapa.

"Her leadership and success has inspired many others to become entrepreneurs, explore self-employment opportunities and overcome discriminations," Minister Thapa added.

United Nations Resident Representative Mr. Jamie McGoldrick said that he was excited by the news. "I congratulate Kesh Kumari Damini for receiving this award," said Mr. McGoldrick. "This is a shared success with the government of Nepal, colleagues at UNDP and MEDEP, its current major partner Australian Government and other previous partners who have contributed to MEDEP."

MEDEP National Programme Director and Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Industry Yam Kumari Khatiwada (Baskota) described Kesha as the "representative and voice of over 70,000 Micro Entrepreneurs." She added, "Through NMEFEN, she has continuously been in dialogue with the government and nudged us constantly to introduce Policy, laws, structures and programmes so that micro entrepreneurs received concessions and other support".

Micro Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) is a joint initiative Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Industry (GoN-MoI) and UNDP. She was nominated by UNDP Nepal. Since 1998, it has created over 70,000 Micro Entrepreneurs. Recently, the government has internalized MEDEP into Micro Enterprise Development for Poverty Alleviation (MEDPA) and implementing across all districts across the country with an aim of creating 73,000 new Micro Entrepreneurs. Currently, Australian Aid is the major donor while NZAID, DFID and CIDA have supported this programme during different phases.

For more information and photos, please contact:

Mr. John Narayan Parajuli, Head of Communications, UNDP

Mr. Indra Dhoj Kshetri, Communication and Documentation Specialist, MEDEP

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