"Economically empowered women are vital for development. It is my pleasure to know that Unilever and Prabhu Bank Ltd are jointly working on empowering women through RAP 3 CONNECT" noted Dr. Chiranjibi Nepal, Governor, Central Bank Nepal.
Over 400 high potential women, the Hamri Didis ('our sisters') have been selected by CONNECT, and trained and appointed by Unilever Nepal Limited as rural sales agents. Bottlers Nepal Limited (authorised bottler of the Coca-Cola Company) have added their products to the Hamri Didis' basket of goods and Prabhu Bank is lending scale-up capital.
Thanks to this partnership rural communities now have access to essential health and sanitation products and income generating opportunities. Meanwhile, Unilever, Bottlers Nepal and Prabhu Bank can reach their products and services to last mile markets.
"As a Hamri Didi, I earn the money I need to send my children to school" says Tankeshwori Tamrakar
The Hamri Didi alliance will set up 600 Hamri Didis in business by the end of 2018. At the end of CONNECT's first year, 382 Hamri Didis, across six districts have been appointed and 228 of them are actively trading with total billing to date of NPR 3,332,558.
Unilever Nepal Limited is one of Nepal’s largest businesses and has successfully piloted the Hamri Didis progamme in East Nepal. UNL is now investing in the training and mentoring of women entrepreneurs in CONNECT districts and has established regional dealers who are willing to supply small quantities of goods to Hamri Didis in remote areas.
Prabhu Bank Limited is one of the fastest growing private sector banks in Nepal with deep rural market penetration and has committed to directly provide loans for start-up capital, thus reducing the initial costs for the Hamri Didis. This is a significant step forward by a private sector bank in Nepal to support micro and small enterprises.
Listen to interviews with Hamri Didis in Achham and Doti.