Micro-Enterprise Development Programme: a Successful Model for Poverty Alleviation through Employment Generation in Rural Areas of Nepal

Lakshman Pun1


Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) was piloted for five years from 1998 to 2003 in 10 selected districts of the country by Ministry of Industry (MOI), Government of Nepal, with the technical and financial supports of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The main goal of this project was poverty alleviation through micro-enterprise development creating rural employments. With the success of this pilot phase in poverty alleviation GON and the UDP extended this project into the second expanding in an additional 15 districts the second with the supports from the UNDP and other donors such as Department of International Development (DFID) of the UK Government, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) for four years from 2004 to 2007. Currently, the project is in its third phase which is being implemented in 36 districts with the support of GON, the UNDP and AusAID.

The project has included a diverse group of target groups mainly low income families and socially excluded communities such as Women, Unemployed Youths, Dalits (untouchable caste), Indigenous Nationalities (Janajatis), Other Castes, Madhesis, Religious Minorities such as Muslims, Conflict and Disaster Affected Families, HIV/AIDS and Injecting Drug Users. The project has applied stringent selection criteria to select these target groups and followed an integrated approach of business development services (BDS) in sequential order to support and promote these poor and excluded to become a successful entrepreneur. The BDS provided by the project are social mobilization for enterprise development, entrepreneurship development through Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) and International Labour Organization (ILO) package of entrepreneurship development replicated in more than 100 countries, skills development training, linkage to financial institutes for access to credit, support for accessing appropriated technology. market promotion of products and services and
business counseling,

As of October 2099 the project has created about 41,098 micro entrepreneurs in the main sectors such as agro-based, forest based, non farm based, artisan based, service based, tourism based, etc. enterprises. Among them 68 percent women, 21 percent are Dalits, 42 percent are Indigenous Nationalities and remaining 37 percent other higher castes. The project has generated employment to more than 46,000 employment in the rural areas. The average per capita income of the targeted groups has increased by 264 percent and the total profit generated by these entrepreneurs is NRs. 1, 886, 000, 0000 (US $ 25,486.486). Issues and Challenges and Approach/Strategy for Greater Rural Employment Generation are discussed.

Published Year

Proceeding Volume 6