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Creating Platforms for Women

To allow women to come together and voice their concerns, Seva Mandir has created an array of platforms for women. These include Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Women’s Resource Centres. More than 12,000 women are associated with these platforms. In addition, Seva Mandir has ensured that women are represented on all Village Development Committees promoted by Seva Mandir.

To increase the power and reach of village SHGs, we have encouraged successful groups to form clusters (consisting of 8-15 SHGs from neighbouring areas), and federations so that issues of interest to members can be discussed and often resolved at a higher level.

Women’s Self-Help-Groups (SHGs) are an integral part of the women’s

empowerment programme at Seva Mandir, operating at hamlet level, providing women with the opportunity to gain financial independence (through savings and credit) and social support as well as social independence, which is often limited by women’s financial dependence on men. The SHGs also increasingly play an important role in the implementation of many of Seva Mandir’s programmes within communities, including livelihood improvement schemesWASH projects.


Impact

Since we started working on empowering women, over 700 SHGs, almost 50 Cluster Associations and two Federations have been created and are now being managed exclusively by women. These SHGs are reaching more than 10,000 women and have given them the ability to access safe and affordable credit and loan schemes, enabling them to avoid predatory moneylenders in times of need. Evidence from Seva Mandir’s research has shown that, often, women will use loans from their SHGs to invest in income-generating activities to further increase their household income.

These groups have also given women the ability to discuss and take action on issues affecting them. Since they began, they have resolved hundreds of cases of violence, solved trafficking issues, and increased women’s knowledge of relevant government schemes.

These platforms have helped women to become earning members of their families, increasing their ability to engage in income-generating activities, and giving them some level of financial independence.

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