KATHMANDU, April 25: Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) on Wednesday launched a four-year project namely, ´Making Markets Work for Conflict Affected in Nepal´ aiming to enhance capacity and market accessibility of poor rural artisans.
“The project will basically address the needs of the poor artisan community in rural Nepal that know the skills, but have no idea of the market demands,” said Gayatri Acharya, task team leader of PAF at the World Bank (WB). at the launching ceremony.
The project is being implemented with US$ 2.7 million grant assistance of Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) in 9 districts covering 8,000 households. The World Bank is administering the project in Tehrathum, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Danusha, Lalitpur, Myagdi, Gorkha, Dailekh and Bajura.
Under the project, PAF - the implementing agency - said it will mobilize the artisan communities to form their own institutions, provide training and capacity building and develop artisans specific financing tools with the help of livelihood partner organizations.
Likewise, its technical partner organization will support the artisan communities on design and product development and marketing. These artisans clusters will be linked to at least 10 commercial banks for enhancing their access to finances and 10 marketing outlets in the major tourist destination for selling their products.
Through the project, PAF and the WB hope to increase the number of days of employment and income of artisans by 25 percent each.
“Artisans are people who propagate country´s culture and traditions, but sadly in the absence of proper market linkages, they are losing income, and pulling out of the profession. The new project aims at making the profession economically lucrative,” said Acharya.
Japanese Ambassador to Nepal Kunio Takahashi expressed the hope that the project will not just help raise income of conflicted-hit poor artisans, but also conserve the traditional skills and country´s culture and tradition.
As the project will have large representation of women artisans, he said it can generate multiple positive impact. “Women in general are hard workers. If young children see their mothers working hard, they will know and learn to work hard themselves in the future,” said Takahashi.
Takahashi also stressed on the need to reach out to the conflict-affected and poor rural people and committed all possible Japanese government support to Nepal for the welfare of the Nepali people.
Janak Raj Joshi, vice chairman of PAF expressed optimism over the project fostering the creation of micro-industry and employment in rural parts of the country.