USAID’s Business Literacy Program (BLP) in Nepal, which was implemented in 20 districts of Western, Mid-Western & Far-Western regions of Nepal has organized a “Program Closing Ceremony’ on January 19, 2017 in the office premises of Krishnapur Municipality of Kanchanpur district. The goal of BLP was ‘to increase the resilience of the vulnerable households and communities through enhanced literacy, numeracy and business/entrepreneurial skills’. USAID had awarded DEPROSC-Nepal, a Nepalese national NGO to implement the three years’ program as a prime. DEPROSC began the implementation since March 1, 2014 and all field level activities have been completed by now.
BLP was to graduate 48,000 beneficiaries through 48 weeks long training at the community level. The program began by developing five different modules for different skills beneficiaries required to become literate cum entrepreneurs. This program has been implemented in two phases. The first phase was implemented in 10 districts of mid-western region (Banke, Bardiya, Surkhet, Jajarkot, Dailekh, Rukum, Rolpa, Salyan, Pyuthan and Dang), where community trainings were completed in December 2015. BLP has implemented its second phase in 10 districts of western and far western regions (Kapilvatu, Palpa, Gulmi, Arghakhanchi, Baitadi, Doti, Accham, Dadeldhura, Kailali and Kanchanpur,) where community trainings started since September 2015 were completed in early December 2016. The district closures have been completed and the program is now engaging in tabulation of data and production of final reports.
The “Program Closure Ceremony” at Krishnapur Municipality-5, Gulariya Bazar, Kanchanpur was chaired by Mr. Rajesh Paudel, Local Development Officer, Kanchanpur. The meeting was graced by Ms. Carol Jenkins, Director of SEED Office, USAID, BLP COR Ms. Anita Mahat Rana and few USAID staff, District Education Officers of Kailali and Kanchanpur, representatives of DADOs, NGO Federation district chapters, media personnel of these two districts and KISAN's Chief of Party (CoP). DEPROSC Board Director Mr. Upendra Bahadur Karki, Executive Director Mr. Pitambar Prasad Acharya, BLP's Program Manager, Mr. Kailash Rijal were actively engaged as organizers. Number of participants reached around 1500 including BLP staff from central, regional and district offices, Community Trainers and beneficiaries from Kailali and Kanchanpur.
BLP Communication Officer Ms. Deepa Adhikari performed as Master of Ceremony. The Chair of ceremony and Director of SEED Office, USAID jointly lighted the lamp to mark the inauguration of the event. Program Manager, Mr. Kailash Rijal in his welcome note summarized how BLP was successfully implemented. He informed that BLP began with 54058 beneficiaries, out of them, 51539 were graduated with 48 weeks long course. More than two third of beneficiary population were vulnerable and marginalized whose confidence has increased with literacy, numeracy and entrepreneurship skills. He also highlighted that 37580 beneficiaries have either initiated new enterprises or have expanded their ongoing enterprises. He appreciated the voluntary contribution of Class Management Committees, dedication of Community Trainers and time management of participants themselves. The audience enjoyed cultural items like songs, dance and drama with contents of BLP modules performed by beneficiaries themselves. Among the beneficiaries persuaded to initiate or expand their enterprises, 34 of them had their enterprise stall in the event premises and it also look like a fair. The guests also interacted with these entrepreneurs during the stall visit activity.
Few beneficiaries in their remarks shared how their functional skills on literacy and numeracy was enhanced by program and how they are planning to utilize it. Ms. Carol Jenkins, Director of SEED Office, USAID appreciated the efforts of DEPROSC-Nepal and Samjhauta Nepal in making BLP a grand success. In their remarks, District Education Officer of Kailali and Executive Director of DEPROSC-Nepal explained how such programs contribute to socio-economic development of our country. The chair in his concluding remarks committed that he will try to extend government programs in the BLP communities.