Muchbetter members OneSeed Expeditions, launching officially in February, are working closely with Nepali microfinance initiatives. 10% of revenues are directed through their microfinance field partners, who then provide loans to local people in Nepal, mainly women. OneSeed Expeditions provide this capital interest free, helping the microfinance institutions expand their services. Here, OneSeed Expeditions give us their views on the state of microfinance in Nepal.
Its becoming increasingly difficult to be an advocate for microfinance these days- not because financial inclusion for the poor is any less of an laudable goal, but because headlines and sound bytes have picked up on negative anecdotal evidence and fail to examine the underlying causes for when microfinance might have failed some in certain situations.
This is not to say that exploitative or poorly executed microfinance programs with high interest rates and little financial counseling dont exist, but they should not overshadow the success of well-planned initiatives.
Years before Muhammad Yunus was hailed as the father of microfinance, women throughout the developing world independently established financial tools as a means of survival in harsh economic climates, lending, saving and insuring one another against adversity. Economic analysis concludes that the poor must be more, not less, financially active than those in the developed world to combat risk and to maintain stability in a place with limited institutions.
Cautious microfinance remains an integral part of the OneSeed model . We believe that microfinance is neither a good or bad idea in and of itself, but rather a tool that can be leveraged to bring about meaningful change if it is implemented patiently and individualistically.
We believe in the power of for-profit enterprise to sustainably create opportunities for individuals to break the cycle of poverty. By providing no-interest capital to our trusted partner MFIs in Nepal through our revenue, we can guarantee a reliable source of funding for the small enterprises that are the lifeblood of the economy.
OneSeed Expeditions have a wealth of information on their website about their microfinance projects. You can find links to their site, and further details of the hiking and trekking trips they offer in OneSeed Expedition’s profile.
(photos:(c) Pat Kauba, 2007; Nayan Pokhrel, 2011- All Rights Reserved)