Microcredit for Nomad Women

Microcredit for Nomad WomenMicrocredit for Nomad Women

In the past decade, about 10,000 nomadic women have used microcredit funds to set up small businesses and use their capacities in diverse ways, said Karamali Qandali, head of the state-run Iran Nomad Affairs Organization (INAO).

About $55,000 has been allocated this year for microcredit.

“Women constitute 50% of the nomadic population. Currently, there are 600,000 nomadic women living across the country,” the Iranian Agriculture News Agency (IANA) quoted him as saying.

Nomadic women have diverse skills and abilities including production of processed dairy products and handicrafts, as well as growing medicinal herbs, he said.

“Nomad families play a major role in the local economy and therefore like all other domestic producers, their problems should also be addressed.”

In the past 10 years, 86 microcredit funds were created for cooperatives of nomadic women to help them sustain themselves and contribute to the national economy. By the end of the current fiscal year (March 19), 86 more will be added to the existing list,” Qandali said.

Each cooperative group can have up to 50 members with 5-7 members per sub-group. The INAO provides the initial funding and training to members.

In addition to the government’s financial assistance, every two weeks members should contribute a part of their savings to the cooperative fund from which loans are given periodically to members. Members who don’t take loans will receive interest on their share of the money contributed to the fund. The loans should be repaid during a 10-month period.  

Empowerment of the nomadic population has been given due attention in the upcoming five-year economic development plan (March 2016-2021).

Qandali said health insurance has been provided to 95% of the nomadic population and 30% are under the coverage of the Social Security Organization.

Nomads comprise 2% of the population (about 1.2 million) and play a crucial role in the economy and production sector. Nomadic tribes own 24 million heads of cattle (25% of the total), and produce more than 20% of the protein needs.