Changes created after Training and Exposure visits
In Bennikal village of H B Halli taluk of Bellary district, Self Help Groups had been formed by Women and Child Development Department and Local Development Agencies. Myrada started its intervention in this area in 2011. The SHGs were not functioning properly due to lack of training and capacity building inputs. Myrada field staff visited the groups and assessed the groups’ performance and made efforts to strengthen the groups and initiated development programmes.
The members were reluctant to follow the suggestions given by the Myrada field staff they curtly said “we are saving the money in the SHGs, because money kept in the house will not remain with us for long. Men folk and in-laws blame us; they say – what are you going to gain by going to the SHG, remain in the house”. The members expressed such opinions and many others in the same vein making the staff realise that the women were not aware of the SHG concept in real sense. The Bhagiratha Swa Sahaya Sangha of the village was no exception; the members had a negative opinion about training and about the SHG in general. It was not conducting meetings regularly. The Myrada team members made efforts to rejuvenate the groups with appropriate inputs like house visits, attending meeting, conducting trainings and exposures. The series of efforts yielded positive results. As per the record the group was formed on 02.06.2007. Since inception members had withdrawn their complete savings and started afresh three times. Many other groups in the village too were following this practice. An assessment conducted by the Myrada field team found no improvement in social and economic aspects and members’ knowledge and awareness on many basic issues were poor.
When asked why they withdrew their savings periodically, they said “we were in the practice of settling accounts and handing over the money to the men and in -laws of the house, otherwise they (men and In-laws) would not allow us to attend the SHG meetings”. With this background, project team planned necessary inputs to the groups to rejuvenate them. Provided training on SHG concept, importance of SHG meetings, credit management, rules & regulations, leadership, role and responsibilities of the members, taking up development programmes and improvising the living conditions of the families and others. The members attended the group’s trainings and acquired necessary knowledge and skills. Besides, regular follow up and guidance helped the group to grow in proper direction.
As a part of capacity building efforts, the group was exposed to a well functioning group called Hulegamma Devi sangha in the neighbouring village Madur. All the group members of the Hulegamma Devi of Madul village are poor and vulnerable. Its meetings and financial transactions are regular and in order and the group is functioning well in all aspects; it has availed loans from Sanghamitra three times, members have constructed household toilets, installed smokeless stoves, attended all trainings and updated their knowledge on institution running. The members interacted and learnt how the group is functioning with the guidance of Myrada and compared their functional status.
The exposure visit to the other group became an eye opener and lesson to the members of the Bhagirathi group. The members decided to adopt appropriate systems and procedures to improvise their group in all aspects. Positive changes occurred in the SHG functionality. From 17.12.2012, all the 14 members have made regular transaction of the group and saved Rs.11,340/ and fine collected Rs. 412/-