Saturday, October 21, 2006

Self Help Groups - Capacity Building in rural India

Women would form self help groups in rural villages in Rajasthan. Each group would need at least 20 women to start the group, and often, this was met with tripidation. Often, they were scared what their husbands would think.

To start off their savings, they would spend four weeks hiding a cup of rice from the family. On the fifth week, they would have a new ration of rice and the roupees saved would go towards their first savings bond. This is what poverty looks like.

They contribute by saving each month and then getting a loan at 2% interest instead of the loan sharks' 70%. Each time they attend and contribute, they put their thumb print in the ledger (pictured). One of the groups had been going for some time, and could now afford a teacher for their girls. The girls then taught their mothers how to write their names, so now their ledger has signatures rather than thumb prints.

This is real capacity building at work - the self help groups that had been going for longer, had healther women, better facilities in the village and some of the women were now standing for parliament.

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