Edited by Frances Sinha
Self-Help Groups (SHGs), a means of reaching rural women with savings and credit services, have taken off dramatically in India, where an estimated 25 million women are members. Their benefits are social as well as economic: SHGs encourage women to become active in village affairs, or take action against domestic violence, the dowry system, or the lack of schools. But some questions remain. How effective and transparent are the groups in managing their finances? Are the groups sustainable? Do the poorest benefit? What does it take for SHGs to mobilize for social action? How effective are such actions? For the first time, detailed field research probes beneath the surface of India’s world-renowned SHGs. It explores both social and financial performance in the SHG movement. This text reveals that whilst there are important achievements, especially on the social side, without more strategic attention and more resources these are unlikely to be sustainable.
This book is honest and bold in its assessment of Self-Help Groups and their effectiveness at the community level. Practitioners who believe in mainstreaming the SHGs, thereby linking the poor directly with the financial institutions, will find this book very useful.
Vijayalakshmi Das, CEO, Friends of Women’s World Banking
The study was thorough, delved into many questions with a variety of techniques, and took great pains to respect the privacy of
villagers as they confided their experiences. The result is a rich profile, both quantitative and qualitative, of rural self-help in India.
Within these pages are many answers, and much is left to the reader to draw his or her conclusions. The inevitable has surfaced: the more we know the more we do not, and those of us reading this study will have a growing list of brand new questions. Let us begin to ask them.
Kim Wilson, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Formerly, Catholic Relief Services, South Asia
About the editor
Frances Sinha is a co-founding Director of EDA Rural Systems, India, a consultancy providing research and capacity building support for microfinance and enterprise development.
About the contributors
Frances Sinha is a co-founding Director of EDA Rural Systems, a consultancy providing research and capacity building support for microfinance and enterprise development.
Ajay Tankha. former International Head, Microfinance, ActionAid UK, is a leading researcher of self-help groups.
K. Raja Reddy is Associate Vice President, Research and Advocacy Unit, of APMAS, an NGO established to provide research, training and advocacy support to SHGs.
Malcolm Harper was Professor of Enterprise Development at Cranfield School of Management, UK until 1995, and since then has worked mainly on microfinance in India.
Table of contents
Part 1 Study context and design
1 Study design: objectives and methodology
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