Self-Help Groups (SHGs) have become economic change agents from inside communities in many parts of the world, particularly in economically underdeveloped areas. These groups are fantastic catalysts for empowerment, setting off significant changes in the lives of its members. The significance of Self-Help Groups in India's development process is established by these facts and figures.
- Nearly 8.5 million women are members of SHGs in India.
- SHGs have been able to access a total of Rs. 5.20 lakh crore in bank loans as of FY 2013–14 through DAY-NRLM.
- Data from the Economic Survey 2022–2023 indicate that more than 140 million families are covered by SHG–BLP, with savings deposits totalling to Rs. 47.25 crores approximately.
- SHGs have created self-employment opportunities for thousands of women and men.
Give Discover, just like these SHGs, is dedicated to providing a better life to people at the rural areas - men, women and children alike. When it comes to connecting the donators – individuals and organizations, it's just a click of the mouse away!
What Are Self-Help Groups (SHGs)?
SHGs are fundamentally non-profit organizations made up mostly of women who join forces with one another to jointly improve their socio-economic circumstances. These groups are built on the basis of shared responsibility, mutual trust, and collective decision-making.
How are self-help groups formed?
- Determining a Need: Self-help groups often develop in areas with socioeconomic difficulties such poverty, restricted access to healthcare, education, and financial resources. People of the community are aware that taking collective action is necessary to enhance their standard of living.
- Mobilization: Individuals interested in creating SHGs are frequently mobilized by local leaders, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or government organizations. They encourage cooperation by increasing awareness of the potential advantages of teamwork.
- Formation: To create a SHG, interested parties come together willingly. These organizations typically have between 10 and 20 members, however this might vary based on the locale and goals. Members choose officers like a president, secretary, and treasurer at this period. They also set guidelines and standards, placing a strong emphasis on cooperation and shared accountability.
- Savings and Credit Activities: Regular saving is one of the cornerstones of SHGs. During meetings, members pay a certain amount of money into a communal fund. Within the organization, this money supply acts as a source of microcredit. Members can get loans for things like paying bills, unexpected expenses, or other requirements. Since the interest rates on these loans are low, everyone may obtain them.
Self Help Groups - How do they work ?
Now that there is a clarity on how self-help groups are formed, let's explore how self-help groups in India work, and what the functions of self-help groups are -
- Frequent Meetings: SHGs regularly meet, usually once a week or once a month. Members can debate different facets of their group's work during these events. Meetings provide a forum for discussing issues other than money, such as problems, solutions, and shared experiences. Mutual support and a sense of community are fostered by these contacts.
- Loans and Savings: As was previously noted, members make contributions to their savings during meetings. This persistent saving action makes sure that money is always available to the organization. A member may ask the SHG for a loan when they need one. Transparency and fairness are ensured by group consensus on the loan amount and payback terms. Members pay back loans with minimal interest, and this money goes back into the collective pot.
- Income-Generating Activities: SHGs often encourage members to engage in income-generating activities. These activities can include small-scale farming, handicraft production, trading, or any venture that members believe will generate income. Loans from the SHG can be used to initiate or expand these income-generating endeavours. This financial support enables members to improve their economic prospects.
- Capacity Building: A lot of SHGs fund their members' capacity-building initiatives. Training and workshops on financial literacy, skill development, personal cleanliness, and other pertinent subjects may be part of this. People who are a part of capacity development get information and skills that help them make informed decisions about their personal as well as professional life.
Purpose of SHGs
Self-Help Groups are very efficient agents of change, empowering people to improve their economic, social, and emotional well-being. They encourage group participation, financial inclusion, and communal growth. SHGs serve as motivating illustrations of how cooperation, shared accountability, and reciprocal support may result in beneficial and long-lasting change within communities.
- Economic Independence and financial inclusion: The main reason SHGs are created is to give its members access to loans. They are able to start or grow income-generating activities thanks to this access. Members benefit economically as a result, earning more money and alleviating poverty. SHGs provide financial stability as well, enabling members to better handle unplanned costs. Through their collaborations with regulated financial organizations like banks and other lenders, they are also able to gain access to fixed deposits, savings accounts, and other financial services.
- Social Empowerment: Joining SHGs frequently has a significant influence on members' social interactions and self-confidence. People can feel comfortable expressing their ideas and experiences in these organizations' fostering environments. This connection promotes women's leadership within their families and communities while challenging common gender stereotypes and heightening self-esteem.
- Community Development: In addition to empowering women, SHGs regularly take part in community development initiatives. These may consist of campaigns to raise public health awareness, clean-up activities, educational programs, and initiatives to solve regional problems. SHGs work together to make a difference in the larger community by taking collective action.
- Empowerment of Ostracised Groups: SHGs often focus on empowering marginalized communities, including tribal populations and other minority groups. By giving them access to resources and opportunities, SHGs help communities cross social and economic barriers that have always held them back.
Top of Form NGOs that are driving livelihoods in India
Here are some NGOs are essential in encouraging sustainable development and the building of livelihoods in different Indian areas. They also assist SHGs in their work and, on occasion, collaborate with them to attain the ultimate objectives of social inclusion and the improvement of the society's underprivileged groups. They help in community mobilization, learning, capacity building, and access to resources in order to uplift underserved sections of the community and enhance their quality of life.
- PRADAN - Professional Assistance for Development Action: PRADAN, a New Delhi-based organization founded about 40 years ago, works in rural India, primarily with women and underprivileged groups. To empower people and raise their socioeconomic position, they offer chances for microfinance, skill development, and livelihood support.
- The/Nudge Institute: The Bengaluru-based The/Nudge Institute now has three centres in India. By offering possibilities for skill development and employment, the NGO hopes to reduce poverty. A group of over 25 corporations and 15 foundations support them in their noble cause.
- SUPPORT: Hazaribag, Jharkhand based SUPPORT focuses on rural development and livelihood through self-help initiatives. They work towards improving education, healthcare, and livelihoods among tribal and marginalized communities, making their lives better and empowering them.
- Buzz Women: Through Buzz Women, women entrepreneurs in India are empowered. They assist women in starting and growing their enterprises and establishing stable means of subsistence, they offer training, mentoring, and access to resources. They create female change-makers who are schooled in leadership, money, communication, and self-awareness. These agents of change then spread this knowledge across their local community.
- Association for Sustainable Community Development (ASSCOD): ASSCOD, an NGO based in Maduranthakam, Tamil Nadu, is committed to rural Tamil Nadu's sustainable development. Their goal is to form self-help groups (SHGs) out of people living in rural Tamil Nadu and assist them with healthcare and education. While receiving microloans, their SHG members are urged to routinely save money and use it for their betterment.
- Asha Deep Foundation: This Ghaziabad based NGO, Asha Deep Foundation works in the fields of healthcare, education, and generating income. By implementing a number of social development initiatives, they want to improve poor neighbourhoods. The organization targets underprivileged groups without access to basic resources, including women, children, elderly citizens, people with physical disabilities, orphans, and the poor, through the administration of over 25 programs. The Foundation gives people more control over their lives by promoting their independence, self-reliance, and protection of human dignity.
Self-help groups are not just some organizations run by a group of women looking for passing their time; it a legit organization that works really hard to elevate the life of other individuals, especially women. Give Discover applauds the kind of work done by these amazing, wonder-women who are determined to make a difference.
Don't forget to support the NGOs that in turn facilitate the SHGs to function in an even better way.