At a time when big financial institutions have failed to address the needs of the poor people, small micro-financial institution are emerging as a savior

Dec. 28, 2012, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.:06 No.-13 Dec.28-2012(Poush 13,2069)

Given the access to finance and technology, the people will come to learn their poverty can be alleviated. This is the experience Nobel laureate and chairman of Yunus Center of Bangladesh shared in an interaction program organized at the secretariat of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

Yunus, who visited Nepal as a guest of honor at the convention of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), argued the poor don't need the gratitude from anyone, what they require is the access to resources and technology. "The poor are capable to change and they can also use the technology. What is important is to ensure their easy access to resources and affordable technology," Yunus said in his hour long interaction.

Organized by SAARC Secretariat, the program was conducted by vice chairman of National Planning Commission Dipendra Bahadur Chhetri. Panelists included governor of Nepal Rastra Bank Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada, CNI president Binod Kumar Chaudhari, former director of UNIFEM Chandani Joshi and executive director of Poverty Alleviation Fund Raj Bhai Shrestha.

With a region teeming with half of the world's poor population, South Asia has been making efforts to reduce the number of poor people. Along with Bangladesh, Nepal too has drastically reduced the number of people living below the poverty line. However, the gap between the poor and the rich is alarmingly rising.

"Of course, we were able to reduce the number of poverty incidences in the last one decade, but the disparities between the rich and poor is growing alarmingly high," said Dr. Yuvaraj Khatiwada, governor of Nepal Rastra Bank.   "This disparity is a growing concern for us."

Welcoming Yunus, secretary general of SAARC Ahmed Saleem said the experience of Gramin Bank could help eradicate poverty from the region. "I am happy to welcome you in the SAARC secretariat."

Moderated by Dr. Y.B. Thapa, industrialist and CNI president Binod Kumar Chaudhari said Yunus experience was very valuable for the country like Nepal to alleviate poverty. This is the reason CNI and Chaudhari Group of Industry and Yunus Center signed an agreement.

Vote of thanks was given by Dhan Bahadur Oli, director of SAARC secretariat. Chandani Joshi, former regional director of UNIFEM South Asia, said participation of women, who are out of the mainstream, is equally important.

Despite their reach and resources, an overwhelming number of poor people don't find any respite from bigger financial institutions. However, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus has shown how poverty can be alleviated.

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