Successful conclusion of long-term project in Bhutan

In a momentous occasion marking the conclusion of a transformative project aimed at enhancing financial inclusion and sustainable development across Bhutan, Niclaus Bergmann, Managing Director of DSIK, and Carsten Steffan from Sparkassen International Development Trust (SIDT) alongside DSIK Long- and Short-Term Experts from Team Asia had the distinct honor of meeting Her Majesty the Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck , Queen Mother of Bhutan, Royal Patron of Renew Microfinance Pvt Ltd. The meeting held in Thimphu, served as a platform to reflect on the achievements of the project. 

Since its inception 14 years ago, the project has been addressing one of the most pressing challenges in the country – the lack of access to financial services, particularly in rural areas. With the majority of the population, including women, engaged in agriculture, the project recognized the pivotal role of local finance institutions in fostering economic empowerment and resilience amidst the looming threats of poverty and climate change. The project's overarching goal has been to foster balanced rural development and sustainable economic growth by strengthening the financial capabilities of the population. Through a multifaceted approach encompassing capacity-building initiatives, the development of sustainable business models, and the integration of green finance principles, the project has sought to empower individuals, especially women, small-scale entrepreneurs, and youth, to unlock their potential and contribute to the prosperity of their communities. 

During the meeting, Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck expressed her profound appreciation for the dedication and efforts of DSIK. She emphasized the importance of the project's objectives in aligning with Bhutan's overarching vision of Gross National Happiness—a holistic approach to development that prioritizes the well-being and happiness of its citizens. In response, DSIK officials expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate and acknowledged Her Majesty's invaluable support and guidance throughout the project's duration. Both parties recognized that while the project may be concluding, its legacy of empowerment, resilience, and collaboration will endure, serving as a beacon of hope for future generations in Bhutan. 

The regional project will be continued with the new partner NEFSCUN in Nepal. NEFSCUN stands for „Nepal Federation of Savings & Credit Cooperative Unions Ltd.” 

Facts about the DSIK project in Bhutan: 

  • The project reaches almost 30,000 customers - around 150,000 people (out of a total population of 750,000 in Bhutan). 
  • The partner organization employs 50 people locally 
  • Thanks to the project work, basic financial services (savings and loans) are now offered in 11 of Bhutan's 20 regions. The opening of a further branch in a 12th region is planned for May 2024. 

Deutsche Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation e.V.
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