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Building Resilience through Harmonious Cooperation in Nepal

NEFSCUN Chair Paritosh Paudyal
NEFSCUN Chair Paritosh Paudyal

The following post is written by Paritosh Paudyal, Chair of the Nepal Federation of Savings and Credit Cooperative Unions Ltd. (NEFSCUN), World Council's direct member organization in Nepal.

As we enter the last quarter of 2020, we remain completely COVID stricken and it seems like we have to adjust ourselves to the new normal of living with the virus for a quite longer span of time.

As the sole central federation of financial cooperatives in the nation, NEFSCUN remains firmly committed to serving its members across the nation in a more serious and stronger manner despite the curse of catastrophe. Consequently, we have embarked on a journey of digitization, network management and cooperation among cooperatives, framing a four-year roadmap (2020-2023) with an apt slogan ‘Building Resilience through Harmonious Cooperation.’

Although times are tough, I am extremely optimistic that we can successfully overcome the challenges with our fighting spirit and collaborative endeavors. We need to prove that cooperatives care by relentlessly working hard to serve in every way possible to our members. NFESCUN is with all our members in these testing times and represents those who are genuinely committed to serving members first. The standard procedure will, by all means, assist in furthering the credit union network management campaign concentrating on standardization and stabilization as the two wheels of our chariot.

We have engineered a pragmatic strategy inculcating a bottom up approach that prioritizes i) affiliation and contractual solidarity ii) standardization of operation, iii) pooling and sharing resources and iv) self regulation and governance. These strategies direct our course and form the foundation of our future undertakings.

There are issues in which we have to consistently keep endeavoring to convince the government and bureaucracy that financial cooperatives are contributing to economic growth through capital formation, credit investment, saving mobilization, employment generation, entrepreneurial flair, leadership development and inclusiveness. However, issues of credit unions outside the network of NEFSCUN are major concerns and, as a central federation, we are pushing out limits to address the issue by expanding our horizon.

Our main concern is speeding the pace of establishing a Stabilization Fund as per the spirit of the new cooperative law. We are heading down the right path but we need to demonstrate affiliation and contractual solidarity in giving this process a concrete result at the earliest time possible. The Solidarity Fund will work as the national reserve fund that will as a support system in case of unexpected emergencies and conditions beyond our control. In addition, it will also help institutionalize our achievements with the promulgation of new cooperative law.

We are also working towards the sustainability of primary credit unions, which ultimately guarantees the durability of the central federation. Realizing this fact, we have properly channeled and decentralized our trained human resources staff to equip disadvantaged credit unions with necessary trainings, techniques and tools to improve their services to ensure good governance, integrity and transparency. To make this goal materialize, we have launched a new program called FOUNDATION that will be implemented in coordination and collaboration with the local governments. The program will be a stepping stone to reaching out to other quality assurance programs that have earned higher national and international recognition, like PROBATION and ACCESS.

NEFSCUN has always worked to bring in the best international practice in the movement, so that our members benefit. We will not only keep doing so, but will extend and expand our international relations so that we receive the wonderful opportunity of being fed with diverse tried and tested management practices that best suit our situation. Our entry into the bigger and wider international sphere through our membership with World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) has opened opportunities of pooling or sharing resources, plus keeping ourselves abreast of the latest happenings in the field, which can be internalized to prosper. Moreover, we are soon entering into other platforms to strengthen our global reach and accessibility.

Once again, I, as the chair of the federation, assure you all that we are driven by the enthusiasm of our members to contribute more in the movement and we express our solidarity with our members in this aspect. I also expect the rise of support from you all in leading the movement by example in the standardization of our operations by strongly putting our faith in self-governance and self-discipline. I welcome this with open arms, and appreciate your valuable suggestions and grievances, which keep the momentum going within the federation. Stay safe to stay stronger.