The Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs' Associations Of Nepal (FWEAN) is the apex body for the Woman Entrepreneurs' Associations of Nepal (WEAN) Chapers. It was established on July 11th, 2003 with a vision to contribute to nation building through the socio-economic empowerment of women and a mission to promote women entrepreneurship through advocacy, networking, information dissemination, capacity building and the promotion of women entrepreneurs throughout the country.
FWEAN works in four thematic areas, namely:
1. Advocacy and lobbying with the government and related organizations on issues pertaining to women’s economic empowerment.
2. Creation and promotion of entrepreneurship in all rural and urban areas of Nepal.
3. Establishment of WEAN Chapters in all seventy-five districts of Nepal.
4. Promotion and empowerment of members through its programs and activities.
In the area of advocacy and lobbying, FWEAN has been holding National Consultation Workshops every year to identify the issues related to women’s economic empowerment. Women from different districts gather together, not only to raise issues, but also to provide suggestions for empowering women at various levels.
So far, some of the issues that have been identified and lobbied with the government have given rise to the establishment of the Women Entrepreneurship Development Fund. At present, the total fund amount available for female entrepreneurs is forty million, with a promise of increasing this fund annually. This fund will be released to the women entrepreneurs in the form of a loan at low interest rates, and with no collateral required.
Women have always found it difficult to market their goods, so with the intention of promoting their businesses, FWEAN lobbied with the government in order to establish the Woman’s Craft Village. This will provide a venue for women entrepreneurs from different sectors to come together to market and showcase their products. The land for this project has already been identified and the department of Cottage and Small Industry has agreed to provide the basic infrastructure for the necessary building, however this has yet to be handed over.
Obtaining collateral free loans from banks has always been a challenge for women entrepreneurs, so FWEAN has been lobbying with the government and the Nepal Rastra Bank to ensure that women entrepreneurs can have access to collateral free loans. Nepal Rastra Bank has already directed their branches to provide collateral frees loan up to Rs. 500,000 at low interest rates.
For the creation and promotion of entrepreneurship in rural and urban areas, FWEAN has been providing skill based and capacity building trainings. It has also been advocating for a safe and healthy population by training women on certain issues, for example vermin composting and organic farming. Such trainings have been provided in the Kathmandu valley and in the districts of Surkhet, and Dang.
FWEAN has also been providing skill based enterprise development trainings in the rural areas of Bhardev and Devichaur, in the district of Lalitpur. This training has been implemented in partnership with the Lutheran World Federation Nepal (LWF), with support from the International Labour Organization of Nepal. Several programs have been conducted, with the focus of these programs being to bring women from the informal sector into the formal business sector by registering their businesses through support systems in place and offered by FWEAN.