Community Based Women institutions
Rural women face high discrimination in terms of opportunity to education, access to health care services, and participation in social, economic and political decision-making processes. Domestic, agricultural and animal husbandry work heavily burdens them, yet they do not have any claim on respect and pride within their family and society. The programme works towards building savings and credit based women institutions, which provides women an opportunity to share, participate, and raise issues concerning their lives and take decisions.
Ibtada has experimented that SHGs is a good platform to empower women. The process of SHG formation is systematic. After selection of village wealth ranking is done to determine the members who are poor and very poor. This leads to meeting with identified members, both husbands and wives, and issues about savings, availability of loans are discussed. This finally leads to formation of women’s institution which is called self help group. Initially the group meets every week for first two months, later every fortnight and every month after 2 years. Every member saves a fixed amount and sum collected is used for inter loaning in the group. Groups are facilitated to access bank loans after six months of formation.
After the SHG, 10-12 groups are associated at cluster level and 12-15 clusters at block level into federation. The whole process takes 3-5 years.
Self Help Groups (SHGs)
A group of 10-15 females form a self help group. The SHG is foundation of the programme where women meet on a regular basis, save money, satisfy their credit needs and discuss there social and family matters. As on December 2009, Ibtada is working with more than 600 SHGs and more than 7000 members in Alwar district. The groups have a cumulative savings of Rs. 14 millions and cumulative credit generated by all SHGs till date is 14 crores.
Mahila Sabha (cluster level institution)
Cluster is an institution of 10-12 self help groups. Two members of each SHG represent their group in cluster meetings. While forming a cluster it is kept in mind that groups of 2-3 villages in radius of 3-4 km join the cluster. Purpose of cluster is to monitor the activities of federation at group level and help in maintaining overall quality of programme. In December 2009, 53 clusters are in operation
Mahila Manch (block Federation)
About 12-15 clusters form a block level institution called federation or Mahila Manch. Two representative of each cluster represent their cluster at federation meeting. Sangharsh Mahila Manch (federation) and Savera Mahila Manch are the two federations promoted by Ibtada. Federations are built to sustain the groups and microfinance programme and to build community ownership. Both federations are separately registered as Trusts and have separate office and staff. Both federations are financially self sustainable.
Major activities of federations include lending (housing loan, sanitation loan, livelihood loan and SHG general loan), formation of new groups and clusters, trainings to groups and leaders, accounting, insurance and credit linkage services to SHGs and collaborate with Ibtada for implementation of livelihoods and other development programmes
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