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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nepal: Ani-poverty Initiative Launched

Through The Rising Nepal (via Google News) I've learned about a partnership between The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) - Nepal, Healing Touch, Pepsi Co., and The Chaudhary Group which takes a conservative and spiritual approach to ending poverty.

In the article below, they mention that the focus of the initiative is to enable microfinance institutions to rise up to serve the poor community. Wikipedia, has a really great article on it.

The basic idea is that poor communities don't have financial institutions in order to get loans or to save money and earn interest, and if they had some they might rise up to be not such poor communities.

A poor farmer with no land could improve his situation, for instance, if he could afford a loan to buy better irrigation equipment or more land. The poor guy might not even have proper title to the land he has because of his messed up government, so commercial financial institutions, in the interest of protecting themselves and their other customers, can't risk giving him the loan. Developing microfinance works to fix this problem, without just giving away money so that people still have their dignity and learn to help themselves better so that they grow not to need any help(or even grow enough to be able to help others, as the UPF would especially hope).

Here's something from Wikipedia that really sums it up well.

Key principles of microfinance

Key principles of microfinance were developed in 2004 by Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and endorsed by the Group of Eight leaders at the G8 Summit on June 10th, 2004. Among the key principles, summarizing a century and a half of development practice, are the following:

  • 1. Poor people need a variety of financial services, not just loans.
  • 4. Microfinance can pay for itself, and must do so if it is to reach very large numbers of poor people.
  • 5. Microfinance is about building permanent local financial institutions.
  • 8. The job of government is to enable financial services, not to provide them.
  • 10. The key bottleneck is the shortage of strong institutions and managers.[3]

More generally, the Principles assert that “Microfinance means building financial systems that serve the poor.” Financial systems include strong financial institutions but also much more: more competitive financial markets, better government regulatory services and better complementary services (practitioner education, auditing, etc.)

I hope it all works out, and pray especially that nobody involved in this gets greedy and tries to take advantage of the poor in Nepal.

The Universal Peace Federation has an even more detailed article by Robert Kittel (A UPI Correspondent) on it which can be read here.

He sums it up like this:

The four-party alliance will create a nationwide movement to enable underprivileged sections of the population throughout Nepal to achieve economic self-sufficiency through a combination of micro-financing and in-kind product loans, coupled with basic business training and a grassroots support system.
Below is the article from Rising Nepal.
Main News
Anti-poverty initiative launched [ 2008-3-13 ]
By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Mar. 12: The Universal Peace Federation-Nepal, Healing Touch, Pepsi Co. and The Chaudhary Group Tuesday launched a joint initiative to uplift the existing standard of the poor in Nepal.

The project's aim is to realise the motto of Project Healing Touch: "Make poverty history�. The project envisages micro-level support to increase the income-generating capacity and employment opportunities in areas with high levels of poverty and will be with the support of the both the corporate sector and civil society in India and Nepal.

K.V Rajan, the former Indian Ambassador to Nepal, chairing the programme said that accumulation of wealth without being guided by social responsibility would not be justifiable.

Nirvana Chaudhary, executive director of Chaudhary Group said that micro-finance was the most effective tool to alleviate poverty.

The project aims at enabling those in the most vulnerable sections of society to earn a respectable living, be self- supporting, make a contribution to society, and live in dignity inspired by three of the fundamental pillars in the UPF philosophy as-that sustainable peace can only be built on the principle of living for the sake of others, that irrespective of religion, language, cultural or ethnic background we are essentially "One Family Under God,� and UPF's wholehearted support to fulfill the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals.

The project will initially focus on families that have suffered as a result of conflict over the past decade. It will purposely select families that have been victims of violence from both sides of the conflict. It has been agreed that pilot projects would be immediately developed in Kathmandu, Biratnagar and Gorkha, and then expanded as quickly as possible to the entire nation.

To ensure the success of the project, Pepsi Nepal said it would oversee commercial viability, monitor the projects, conduct on-site training, and further develop the corporate social responsibility concept in Nepal.

Another, entirely unrelated thing I wanted to mention, was sex. Basically, there's an article by Alan Farnham of Forbes describing how healthy it is to make love. For me, it really shows how important our sexual organs were to God when he designed them, and it seems to me that we were designed so well to make love to our spouse often and throughout our married lives.

Those poor Catholics (as well as others) are not only inciting their priests towards child molestation by not allowing them to marry, and not only are they simply and truly preventing God's plan from taking effect, but they are going against keeping their priests and nuns healthy.

Here's the article, which is not religious at all. Goodnight. I hope that, for your spiritual and physical health, you're lucky enough to have your spouse beside you tonight, or even during the day.


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