Dr Karma Tenzing (CSU research officer) and Dr Kuenga Namgay (Chief of Animal Nutrition, Dept of Livestock and our focal DOL person) visited Merak in August 2017 to train herder families how to set up saving schemes. Two staff from RLDC, Khangma and three from the Dzongkhag Livestock sector, Tashigang assisted with facilitating the training. About 98 herders attended the two day training program. At the end of the second day, two women groups (Merak and Gengu) were officially launched by the Merak Gup (mayor). We handed over two iron safes along with main ledgers and members savings passbooks. Each group has appointed office bearers and they are managing the record keeping.
Twenty five and 12 founding members initially came forward to join Merak and Gengu savings groups respectively. The founding members from both the savings groups agreed to deposit Nu.500 as membership fee. Merak members decided to save Nu.100 monthly whereas Gengu group decided to save Nu. 150.00 monthly. One female herder even decided to open an account in the name of her minor child! Over the last month, more members have enrolled with Gengu now at 81 members with savings of Nu.40,00 (about $600US). So they are getting ready to start lending funds to members with a set interest rate. We will monitor how they spend the loans and what difference it makes to their lives over the coming years.