Nepal’s MEDEP hailed at UN awards forum

Kathmandu, September 25:

The International Chambers of Commerce (ICC), Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced the 2008 World Business and Development Awards (WBDA) amidst a ceremony held today in New York, as part of the high-level event on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) convened

by the Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the General Assembly.

WBDA are the first worldwide business awards to recognize the crucial role of the private sector, large and small, in implementing MDGs such as by producing better quality crops, expanding electricity to the poorest neighbourhood, raising awareness about HIV/AIDS with mobile games and providing credit services to the poor through mobile phones, according to the United Nations Information Centre here. WBDA received a record number of 104 entries from 44 countries and while Nepal was not among the 10 winners, the panel of judges was greatly impressed by Nepal’s Micro Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP)

entry and decided that it should be listed as a selected ‘Highly Commended’ application.

Ten private sector initiatives engaged in business activities around the world were honoured on the occasion for their outstanding contribution to MDGs by establishing linkages between core business practices and MDGs. Addressing the awardees, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan said, “Today, business leaders like you are rewriting the value equation — to show that true worth comes not from profits only but from making a positive difference.”

UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis said, “As the world becomes more interdependent, doing business with the poor is not only a potential boost to a company’s competitiveness, but also — with the right business model — a force in the fight against poverty.”

MEDEP, initiated by the government in 1998 with technical and financial support from UNDP, DFID, NZAID and AusAID, has supported the development of over 30,000 micro-entrepreneurs (68 per cent women, 20 per cent dalits and 67 per cent youth) and created about 40,000 sustainable jobs essentially targeting the poor and excluded groups in 31 districts. The overall sustainability success rate of all the enterprises established between 1998 to 2008 is 95 per cent. The government, decided to allocate about $3m in its Interim Plan to replicate the MEDEP model in 75 districts over a period of three years. In the ongoing third phase 2008-2010), MEDEP is expected to develop an additional 30,000 micro-entrepreneurs.

Nepali women — as a result of their becoming entrepreneurs — have been able to raise their status and identity inside and outside their household, strengthen their role in household decision making and have ensured that their income generally goes for better food, clothing, education of their children and other household expenses. Women are now politically and socially conscious of their role in society.