Government of Nepal and UNDP’s flagship anti-poverty initiative enters sixteenth year

18 Jun 2013

image Entrepreneurs promoted by MEDEP selling goods at an expo. Photo: UNDP Nepal

Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP), a flagship initiative of the Government of Nepal and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has entered 16th year of its implementation creating thousands of enterprises and entrepreneurs in the process.

In 15 years of its operation, MEDEP has created more than 8,000 enterprises, 57,000 micro-entrepreneurs and 58,000 employment opportunities in the rural areas of Nepal covering the most marginalised disadvantaged communities.

More than 70 percent of its beneficiaries are Women followed by Unemployed Youths, Dalits, Indigenous Nationalities, Religious Minorities, Madhesis, Differently-abled People, Disaster- and Conflicted-Affected Families, People Living with HIV and AIDS and the Maoist Youth Ex-Combatants discharged from cantonments.

National Program Manager Dr. Lakshman Pun said, "We started as a small pilot initiative but in 15 years, the project has become immensely successful and has expanded to 38 districts. I am very happy that government of Nepal is replicating this model as a measure to alleviate poverty in all 75 districts."

The Government of Nepal is replicating the model and implementing Micro Enterprise Development for Poverty Alleviation (MED-PA)  Program currently in 45 districts and seeks to expand to all 75 districts in five years.

MEDEP aims at reducing poverty through creating, promoting, and sustaining micro-enterprises and generating self-employment and employment opportunities for the hard core rural poor has been proven as a highly effective tool for alleviating poverty.

"Despite many ups and downs in the last fifteen years, we have become able to lift thousands of people out of abject poverty," Dr. Pun said.

According to an Independent Impact Assessment carried out in 2010, there has been as high as 512 percent increment in the per capita income of the beneficiaries, 73.1 percent have moved out of poverty and the survival rate is 80 percent.  MEDEP provides a complete entrepreneurship package to potential entrepreneurs and supports the existing entrepreneurs for their scale up.

Many development partners supported the projects over the years including  UNDP, AusAid, DFID, NZAID and CIDA. Currently AusAid is a major donor.