In 2008, Whole Planet Foundation launched a partnership with Nirdhan Utthan Bank Ltd. and Mercy Corps to support the expansion of financial services in the remote eastern highlands of Nepal. I have had the absolute pleasure of visiting Nirdhan annually since 2011 and temporarily relocated to Kathmandu valley in the summer of 2013.
Each visit was an opportunity to learn more about the microfinance industry in Nepal, the operations of Nirdhan and to meet with the organization’s leadership. We at Whole Planet Foundation are deeply saddened to learn of the the tragic loss of Doctor Harihar Dev Pant, who was the founder and Executive Chairmen of Nirdhan Utthan Bank Ltd. Dr. Pant was the first to initiate microfinance services in Nepal, and our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and the Nirdhan Group.
Beginning in 1991, Dr. Pant along with a few committed fellow friends, launched Nirdhan and started to provide microfinance services to deprived women in Nepal. Dr. Pant’s dream was to expand Nirdhan’s services to every district in Nepal from the plain Terai valleys to the remote rugged Himalayas. Accepting no bounds, Dr. Pant achieved his goal in 2015. Nirdhan now operates from 176 branches serving more than 240,000 poor households with a continuous focus on serving the poorest women in Nepal.
Dr. Pant was truly a great leader, visionary, teacher and a friend. His contribution to financial access and increasing inclusion for Nepal’s unbanked and under-banked is unmatched. Dr. Pant and the Nirdhan project have inspired microfinance organizations and practitioners of all kinds to implement, contribute and expand microfinance and the social development sector in Nepal.
Whole Planet Foundation is proud to support the vision and mission of Dr. Pant though Nirdhan and the expansion of financial services in the remote rural hills of Nepal. His vision, guidance and drive will be missed. His contributions and tireless efforts towards the betterment of the most deprived will be cherished.
Dr. Pant’s legacy lives on through Nirdhan Utthan Bank Ltd. and the dedicated, and passionate team he leaves behind.
May Dr. Pant’s memory inspire and may his family and friends find peace of mind beyond these trying days.
-Daniel Zolanti, Asia/Pacific Regional Director