In Maharashtra, India, one million rural women have gained access to financial services, and technical and business training, which gave them independence and improved status in their communities. Through the formation of self-help groups (SHGs) these women have been able to build more prosperous lives for their families, and to create more active public and private roles for themselves.
The SHGs were created by the Tejaswini Rural Women’s Empowerment Programme, an initiative of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Maharashtra’s Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal (MAVIM).
As a result of the Tejaswini programme, nearly all of the SHGs have been able to access formal credit from banks, and they have a 99 per cent repayment rate. An added benefit is that by pooling their money together and loaning it to one another, women in SHG’s are supporting businesses that employ other women and open up opportunities for growth and advancement.
The SHGs are an effective means not just to improve the living conditions of poor households by starting nano- and micro-enterprises run by women. They are also forums for women to collectively address issues that affect women and to seek community-based solutions.
It’s not just women who have changed, it’s the community, too. Rupali Pandurang Pawar just welcomed her second baby girl, and through SHG celebrations, the community has come to realize the value of the girl~IFAD
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