ADWAN’s livelihood programs consist of livelihood-skills trainings, the rotating Microloan Program, and access to the Gorkha Cooperative Bank set up by ADWAN. The livelihood programs increase earnings and raise the status of women in their homes and communities by giving them access to valuable skills and capital, in turn providing a pathway towards economic independence.
The livelihood-skills trainings serve the most women. After consultation with the participants, ADWAN provides training aimed at maximizing the market value of crops and livestock in their local communities. As new entrepreneurs, the women are mentored by the staff in setting up markets, acquiring small startup loans, and establishing new collection centers for the women’s products.
The Microloan Program gives Women’s Groups NR 30,000 to NR 40,000 ($300 to $400) in very-low-rate loans to split between two to four women. They use the loans to invest in new livestock or high quality seeds as well as new cages, equipment, feed, manure, etc. The small interest raised is invested back into the program. The microloans supplement the Women’s Groups’ own savings and loans.
ADWAN established the Cooperative Bank in Gorkha District in 2013. It simultaneously serves a communal need (for many the only banking option in the area) and raises the status of the Dalit women who run the bank. The Bank represents the fulfillment of the aspirations of ADWAN’s oldest Women’s Groups.