Project to promote women enterprises for safe drinking water launched

Published On: May 9, 2019 03:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Over 200 women-run water enterprises to be established in two years

KATHMANDU, May 9: South Asian Women Development Forum (SAWDF), in partnership with TATA Project Limited, India, and Rastriya Banijya Bank has launched a project named 'Creating Women Run Enterprises for Marketing Safe Drinking Water'.

The project is being implemented with the support of Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (FWEAN) along with other associations. The project was launched amid a ceremony held in Kathmandu on Wednesday. During the ceremony, two Memorandums of Understanding were signed. SAWDF, TATA Project Ltd and Rastriya Banijya Bank Ltd (RBBL) signed a tripartite MoU, while a separate multi-party MoU was signed between SAWDF, RBBL and other partner organizations for implementation of the project.

According to SAWDF, this project is a replication of Tata Water Project which has been ensuring safe drinking water at an affordable price, with its cutting-edge technology and expertise. The TATA Water Project has dispensed 18 billion liters of safe drinking water to a population of 3 million and generated over 1,000 women entrepreneurs over the last 10 years in India.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Minister for Water Supply Bina Magar said that the project has added a new dimension on women entrepreneurship of Nepal. She also lauded the initiative to involve women in exploring business opportunity in drinking water. “This initiative is not only going to help in establishing women enterprises and creating employment opportunities for women. It has also reinforced the importance of women's intervention in production and national economy,” she added.

Explaining about the Tata Water Project, HE Kutty, SBU Head at Tata Project Ltd, said that the principle aim of the project was to provide safe drinking water to rural and quasi rural areas. According to him, the company will first carry out base line assessment in the targeted areas and train women entrepreneurs to pursue safe drinking water project.

Pramila Acharya Rijal, the president of SAWDF, said that the project will run for five years. Around 200 women-run water enterprises will be established in the first two years in Nala and Panauti as pilot projects in the first phase, she added. "There are over 6,000 rivers in Nepal. Yet, we are facing shortage of drinking water. Only 85 percent of the population has access to water,” she said, adding that the project will help women entrepreneurs to capitalize on the potential.

According to Rijal, SAWDF will facilitate in development of business plan, identification of location, marketing, follow up, and expansion of the business model.

RBBL will provide concessional financing facility to women-run enterprises.

According to Kiran Kumar Shrestha, CEO of RBBL, women-run enterprises will be able to borrow loans at an interest rate of 1.6 percent as part of the subsidized interest rate scheme recently operated by the bank in line with the government's program to promote women entrepreneurship.

“I request you to expand this business to other parts of the country. I assure you that banking institutions like us are willing to finance such enterprises. However, you have to guarantee that the loans are repaid,” he added.

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