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ICIMOD partner SABAH Nepal helps all-women team make the best of a crisis
Small and medium enterprises, vulnerable to disruptive market shocks even in ordinary circumstances, have suffered during the pandemic. Recovery and revival measures can, however, strengthen resilience, and planning and preparedness for disasters – both climatic and non-climatic – can greatly benefit communities.
Our work with the SAARC Business Association of Home-Based Workers (SABAH) in Kavre district, Nepal has focused on promoting inclusive as well as green entrepreneurship and on encouraging product diversification through value addition and training to make products market ready. Our emphasis has always been on helping women develop mainstream businesses and build resilience through product diversification and capacity building.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns, SABAH was able to make adjustments to already existing channels to address pressing needs. By pivoting from producing clothes and fabric crafts to masks and other personal protective equipment and tying up with food delivery services to get homemade food products and fresh produce directly to consumers’ homes, it enabled its 3,500-member, all-women team of seamstresses and farmers cope in a time of crisis
It is important to strengthen the financial landscape to align financial services with an inclusive and climate-responsive recovery. We must provide technical and financial support to small, medium, and large mountain agribusinesses. Mountain-specific entrepreneurship skill development for youth and women will be especially important, with financial support through soft loans.
(Paraphrased from ICIMOD 2020, COVID-19 impact and policy responses in the Hindu Kush Himalaya)
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