What is Nano Finance?
Nano Finance is a system which provides the opportunity for the poorest of the poor women all over the world to have access to the spark of individual interest free loans of not more the equivalent of 20 USD to support their livelihoods, emergency needs, school fees for their children and health care for their family. Based on mutual trust, the community coordinators, chosen by women in the program from among themselves, manage the distribution and collection of the loans. The payment plan gives each woman a full year to pay back the loan in full. When the loan is paid in full, sometimes within a month, or several months or the full year, the women have the opportunity to either take another loan or re circulate their funds to enable more women who live in disadvantaged circumstances to have access to this innovative results-driven program. In this system, the women understand that the sustainability of the system is in their hands. The coordinators and the women feel the ownership of the system and they work together with mutual trust and understanding. This is what we mean by, “Women helping women through Nano Finance.”
The Nano Finance system does not make the women dependent but gives them opportunity to learn the importance of equal rights, better health, value of education to their children, and benefit of working together. They earn respect from their husbands and other family members being earning members of their families. A few dollars in their hands give them self confidence, security, and opens the doors to have dreams for better life.
Through Nano Finance system, women are empowered as entrepreneurs, as contributing members to their family and often as leaders in their community. Trust (the meaning of the Hindi word “Biswas”) and taking ownership are key factors to the success of Nano Finance system that provides a welcome opportunity for many of the women to avoid the greed of moneylenders and benefit from a sense of security and comfort. The purpose is not to make these women rich, but rather to empower their independence at the very minimum with proper shelter, food, basic education, and health.
Principles of Nano Finance
Only girls and women who do not have access to funds for even emergency needs are eligible for Nano Finance.
The payback period for each loan in a maximum of one full year.
The system has minimum administrative cost and requires minimal training of the community coordinators.
Trust is a key factor to the program’s success of women helping themselves and other women in their community.
How Does Nano Finance Differ from Micro Finance?
Micro Finance (MF)
Nano Finance (NF)
Getting small loans from MF (or an NGO) requires satisfying several rules and regulations, which are not very practical or helpful to the poor women for their emergency needs.
Women do not have to go through paper work and/or rigid rules and regulations for getting small loans through NF system.
Gives mostly group loans for businesses to both men and women.
Gives small loans up to the equivalent of 20 USD only to women.
Due to the complexity of the system, many people are required for efficient operation which requires high overhead and high interest rates.
Book keeping is complicated in MF system due to frequent collection and savings with compound interest.
Due to the simplicity of the system, a few women manage the entire operation. Very low overhead and can sustain with no interest rates.
The book keeping in NF system is very simple. The money transactions are in whole numbers. So, it is easy for the women to understand numbers while paying back their loans.
MF and most of the NGO(S) borrow money from the banks to give loans to the people with high interest rates. It sustains with the earnings from the interest rates.
NF system sustains mostly by re-circulating the returned loans, donations, and grants.
To get a loan from MF system, the woman has to be a member of a group for at least six months with savings within the group. For some other MF system, the loan can only be given in groups with some security for one year.
In NF system, only individual women receives loans without any pre-conditions. There is no group loans available.
Micro financing can be a profit making venture for the NGOs
The only interest of NF system is to help the poor women and it is not a profit making venture.
There is a strong competition between the NGOs (how many self help groups can be created by each of them etc) to get more loan or grants from different sources. At times, the main purpose of helping people can get lost.
NF system only provides individual loans. There will be no competition for creating self help groups.
Encourage the women to help other women by returning their loans in time, so that their returned money will be used for giving loans to others or to them if they need.
An MF system can be successful and financially benefited to an NGO without truly helping to the most poor women of the society.
The success of nano finance depends on the net-working of the women with trust.
Helping poor through MF system can be only practiced by Institution with big financial investment.
Helping poor women through the nano financing system can be practiced by anyone who truly wants to help the poor even with a very small initial investment