Self Help Groups

2 (1)

But the central goal of our SHG programme goes beyond finance. It is the empowerment of these disadvantaged women who learn to run their own series of nested institutions – SHGs, Cluster Development Associations (of 15-20 SHGs) and Federations (of around 200 SHGs). The Federations, themselves, are independent registered institutions functioning with the support of SPS professionals.

The persistence of endemic poverty and hunger, six decades after independence, points to the glaring lack of good governance in rural areas. It is our vision that Federations of these women’s SHGs will emerge as a key building block for effective empowerment of the poor in the tribal drylands of India, giving these regions the necessary voice in the development process. The members of these Federations will also be able to provide effective and capable leadership to Panchayat Raj Institutions, which we see as the centre-piece of governance in rural India.

The unique strength of our SHG programme is financial and procedural discipline and transparency. It is mandatory for each group to go through an external audit every year, conducted by reputed chartered accountants. Thus, running SHGs is a great learning experience and allows these women a space to become powerful articulators of their perceptions and interests. They carry forward this strength into the panchayat arena. In this extremely important task of nation building through people’s empowerment, public sector banks have a critical role to play. India has the largest banking network in the world. SHG Federations and banks in remote rural areas are complementary entities, whose existence depends on each other. Today, when the very existence of some of these public sector banks is under threat, Federations of SHGs can be a massive support to them.

Therefore, if public sector banks become partners of Federations on a large scale, the financial situation of banks can also improve. SPS has already facilitated two SHG Federations as independent entities and plans to set up six more. SPS has also been chosen as Business Correspondent for various branches of Bank of India in Ujjain, Dewas and Indore districts.