Local Tribal Women and Self-Help Groups

One of the main goals of SPS (Samaj Pragati Sahayog) is empowering local women, particularly their rights to sustainable livelihood. I've had the opportunity to meet with several women from a variety of backgrounds. Even though this is a rural area – people are very diverse in their forms of employment: agricultural laborers, daily wage laborers, self-employed, migrants, displaced and so forth. But many of the women have the same issues and come together in Self-Help Group meetings (SHG), SHGs are facilitated by SPS – it provides an opportunity for local women to take part in a local savings and loan plan that is completely decided by them. One may consider it a form of Microfinance – however, SHG is more focused on including social programs with their financial awareness – learning about nutrition, how to sign your name, community marriage opportunities etc. Whereas many Microfinance institutions are more profit driven and focused on repayments. Even though SPS monitors the meetings, the women make the decisions regarding the rules of the group, how to save and who to give loans to etc. This is a huge part of empowerment. Now many women have been able to use the loans for healthcare or their child's education or expanding a business opportunity for better source of income This opportunity allows women to have a say in many of their daily household decisions. It helps women be more confident in handling money and speaking up for their rights. It has been great meeting these women and seeing how they are benefiting and growing through the help of SHGs and SPS. This description barely touches the iceburg of SHGs and how interconnected it is with so many other programs.

Attached are photos of some meetings I've sat in or some of the women I've met.


One thought on “Local Tribal Women and Self-Help Groups

  1. <html> <head> <style><!– .hmmessage P { margin:0px; padding:0px } body.hmmessage { font-size: 10pt; font-family:Tahoma } –></style> </head> <body class=’hmmessage’> <br><br><hr id="stopSpelling">Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2011 04:07:21 -0700<br>From: post@casipenn.posterous.com<br>To: clareleinweber@hotmail.com<br>Subject: [casipenn] Local Tribal Women and Self-Help Groups<br><br>Hi Keena,<br> Thanks for this post and the photos are great too.&nbsp; Can you say a little more about SHGs and health (either women’s health or family health)?&nbsp; Do you know what percentage of the loans are spent on health care needs? It sounds like that probably varies, but this question of the intersection between microfinance/microsavings and health is really interesting. One area Karuna Trust is exploring is microinsurance since it has become clear that much of the microlending of SHGs is going to health care consumption.&nbsp; You also mention SHGs and nutrition education, another link to health.&nbsp; Let me know if you discover other connections between SHGs and health.&nbsp; I hope you are both continuing to survive the heat and the critters.&nbsp; I’ve really enjoyed your posts from SPS.<br> Clare<br><br> <div style="width: 600px; font-size: 12px; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; line-height: 18px;" class="ecxPosterousEmail"></div></body></html>

  2. Clare,You bring up an excellent point. SHGs and health are related and many loans are taken for health purposes. At this time, I am unable to tell you what percentage of overall loans are for health – but it is something that is being looked at. SHGs are also involved in the Mid-day Meal goverment scheme to provide food to children at lunch time in schools – properly measured nutrition values and quantities. In many locations, SHG women are the ones who do the cooking b/c they want to ensure that the children from the village are reaping the benefits of this program. So it is very interesting to see how SHGs go beyond just financial transactions.I hope all is well with you!-keena

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