Building Community Owned, Reliable and Sustainable Cooperatives - Deo Krishna Yadav, Cooperative and
Deo Krishna Yadav was the Cooperative and Microfinance Specialist who worked over 11 years with the Project.
Q1. What are you proud of having done and contributed to during your time with the RVWRMP?
“…it was my vision to establish and develop community owned legal institutions that cater goods and services for the improvement of rural life”
RVWRMP was and is a unique project in Nepal to serve the disadvantaged people in the remotest areas in Far- and Mid- West Nepal. In fact, it brought real changes in the rural livelihoods, in health and sanitation, and in my field of rural finance. I am very proud of having developed community owned, reliable and sustainable cooperatives: it was really very difficult in the beginning.
I joined the Project in December 2006. Since then, it was my vision to establish and develop community owned legal institutions that cater goods and services for the improvement of rural life including the sustenance of Drinking Water Supply, Micro Hydro Power and other interventions of the project. The concept was piloted in 3 VDCs during first phase. The results were remarkable changes in the increase of membership, the affiliation of User Committees of Drinking Water Supply and in the accumulation of savings and decent repayment rate. The cooperatives were able to generate an income to pay their staff. The changes were later institutionalized and the cooperatives moved towards full self-sufficiency
Q 2. What are the biggest changes you have observed in your area of expertise and how it affected life of people in the Far-West and Karnali Provinces during the time with RVWRMP?
“…Due to easily access of financial services, the people are investing in agri-business such as: commercial vegetable production, poultry, milling, goat rearing”
The promising results of the piloted cooperatives helped to sustain project interventions and expand financial services to its members, the replication was done in 12 VDCs as per demand. Now, these cooperatives are self-managed and –sustainable. They established linkages with other projects and banks to access the resources .for expansion of services to its members.
Cooperative provide employment to the local youth as manager and assistant manager. In August 2018, 110 are paid staff. They provide loan to its member to run a petty shop, invest in vegetable production, goat rearing, creating directly and indirectly employment.
During 3rd phase, after the assessment of the existing cooperatives, RV strengthened 40 more cooperatives, among them, 10 were about to close. With our technical guidance, these cooperatives were able to recover and are now operating its business smoothly and transactions are increasing day by day. Operational cost are maintained low and profits are achieved.
A truly peoples-centered project can only exist with a strong team spirit and cohesiveness among team members and when every staff is committed to serve the people to uplift the living of standard.
Due to easily access of financial services, the people are investing in agri-business such as: commercial vegetable production, poultry, milling, goat rearing. The people are earning income and there is perspective for future generations to develop a business in the community. I remember one very poor widow who generated an income from goats accessed through a loan from the cooperative where she was member. Many families can now pay for quality education to their children and that is obviously an improvement in the quality of life.
A truly peoples-centered project can only exist with a strong team spirit and cohesiveness among team members and when every staff is committed to serve the people to uplift the living of standard. The cooperative created access to finance in communities. Another important change brought about by the supported cooperatives is the harmony, trust and spirit for cooperation in the society. Regular group meeting and member discussions and the transparent participatory annual general assembly of cooperative as well as a well-performing cooperative with regular financial and social services help to develop social capital.
Q 3. What is your message to the staff that will continue working in cooperative development to improve the conditions of the people in the Far West and Karnali?
My recipe for success is:
"Never compromise the Step by Step approach and carefully observe all procedures. Select genuine leaders, conduct a series of training modules (step-by-step), coach the bookkeeping, provide regular guidance and support facilitation of the first annual closing of accounts. Furthermore, build capacity for preparing the Business-Plans for cooperative development"
" Develop a pilot with a cooperative in relation to Micro-Hydro Power to sustain the MHP scheme as well as to generate income and employment to people"- This was my dream.
"Provide continuous technical back-up especially to strengthen the weaker cooperatives"
What do you miss most of the RV project and the Far West Province?
I always miss the spirit of the energetic, cohesive RV team as well as the love and affection of the people of the Far West and Karnali Provinces. I am still in touch with many people of the cooperatives who always contact me when they have a problem.