Editorial

 
Dear Friends,

Since 2002, Sampada Trust is promoting and organizing women Self Help Groups (SHGs). The focus is to empower individuals and groups by providing financial, entrepreneurial, insurance polices and customized services to meet their specific needs, thus providing a suite of services to women at their doorstep.  

Sampada Trust has been mobilizing and organizing women into Sanyukta Mahila Samittee (SMS) joint women groups and SHGs and has, so far, provided financial support to 3471 SHGs through the (SMS- apex body of the SHGs in the village) the preferred credit delivery system to 40,467 women. A total of Rs. 107,934,436/- has been disbursed as repayable financial assistance. For the first time, Sampada Trust has clubbed micro enterprise and micro insurance with micro finance, as it believes that they play a vital role in women's development. These two components are not easily accessible to the rural poor, especially, women. Hence, Sampada Trust has intervened in this area in order to provide women with security benefits.   

Sampada's main thrust is poverty reduction and women's empowerment which is achieved by organizing women into SHGs, enabling them to develop managerial capacities to handle their SHGs and by creating opportunities for them to voice their opinion on various occasions such as melawas (women's gathering), exposure visits, village meetings, etc. 

In this issue, our focus is on micro finance and micro enterprise promotion, which go hand in hand in developing the creative potentials of rural women. Sampada provides financial, technical, managerial and risk management support for the start up of their activity, thus laying the foundations that their economic activities enhance their quality of life.  

We share with you the experiences of the women of Marathwakdi and Sakra village and the remarkable changes that have come about in their lives as a result of the initiation of income generation activities they have undertaken.  

We invite you to share your views and experiences in similar works thus facilitating an enriching discussion forum which would help us take the microfinance movement forward. . . 

Editor

Micro Enterprises Through Entrepreneurship Development

 
The Self Help Group movement is changing the lives of women all around the world. Income generation activities through SHGs have helped many women to become financially independent as these activities often become the major source of income to the family. This naturally increases the status of women in their families, particularly increasing their participation in the decision making process. All this creates the environment for women to come into the mainstream of development. Income generating activities thus are important in this process of leading women towards financial security and eventually, mainstreaming them.

Entrepreneurship Development is very essential if these income generating activities are to be made sustainable. With this in mind, SAMPADA TRUST has taken the initiative of establishing a separate unit for Entrepreneurship Development.

The process of Entrepreneurship Development starts with developing of the entrepreneurial culture among the SHGs. Dr. David McClelland has rightly stated that "Entrepreneurs are not born - they can be developed". Motivation plays a crucial role in the creation of any business activity. It has been observed that "Entrepreneurs are achievement-motivated" and developing this drive in a person is possible through imparting training inputs.

We begin by undertaking an area assessment survey that helps to give a picture of all the resources that are available in the area- skills available with the entrepreneur, raw material and the outlets in term of markets. Selecting the business idea, product or needed service is a tough job. The perceptual and cognitive framework of the entrepreneur has to be changed if she is to identify market need. Any such need fulfilling activity will prove economically viable in the long run. Knowing basic marketing principles is also a thrust area, which has to be focused upon. Costing plays an important role in the delivery of any product/service. A person who has got core competency in the field will naturally be able to compete better in the market. The ultimate success depends upon economic transactions in terms of profit and profitability, which ultimately decides the sustainability of the enterprise.

Often, once the enterprise is commenced, the entrepreneurs are left to manage on their own. In reality, the survival and growth of the activity depends upon the inputs received during the actual implementation of the activity. It is thus very necessary to provide non-credit inputs/escort services to entrepreneurs so as to ensure sustainability of the activities. These are the major areas where SAMPADA plans to intervene. The focus will be on helping rural women and the members of SHGs to develop micro enterprises through an Entrepreneurship Development Strategy that includes:

  • Development of entrepreneurial culture in the project area
  • Start up of micro-enterprises
  • Non-credit inputs and the escort services to the entrepreneurs for a period of 3 years.
  • Linkage building with resource agencies as well as input-output markets.

Finance is the major constraint for starting any enterprise, as the rural entrepreneurs are often not considered bankable by the formal sector, since many of them are already defaulters.

Though government and bank schemes do exist to provide capital to rural entrepreneurs, it has been found that due to various reasons these schemes do not reach the poor and the needy. There is a basic lack of confidence in poor people's ability to repay loans. With this in mind, SAMPADA makes available credit support in the form of micro finance to rural entrepreneurs through their SHGs and we are also planning several new financial products for them as well as for individual entrepreneurs.

Besides women, SAMPADA also plans to focus on the rural youth who are energetic, enthusiastic and hard working and who form a major part of the rural society. A small impetus in the form of entrepreneurship development and small credit to help start income generating activities, will go a long way to fruitfully utilize these qualities of the youth and create self-employment which will greatly improve the quality of their lives.

 

Micro-Finance Hand in Hand with Women's Empowerment

 
Micro Finance (MF) and micro enterprises (ME) playa vital role in helping the poor realize their dreams. Self-employment is a basic need of every person in society in order to live a life of dignity. Individuals and institutions in society can share this collective responsibility. Institutional support in the areas of micro finance and micro enterprise development makes a significant contribution to increasing employment leading to socio-economic enhancement of people in rural areas.

In India, women playa very important role in the family and society. If her role and status is further enhanced, speed of rural development will be increased tremendously. Hence, the influx of NGOs, CBOs, and other agencies in the promotion of women SHGs.

For micro finance to be a success, we need to have the strong back up of self-help groups/ neighborhood groups. Formation of self-help groups (SHGs) is a must in order to facilitate the process of providing credit to the poor. But the SHGs main purpose is not only to route credit but also allied services. Group activities undertaken and issues addressed at a micro level help strengthen the ties between group members and generate a sense of belongingness. SHGs serve as support groups for the poor enabling them to avail of various services and benefits. The main thrust of Sampada Trust is centered on this principle 'Help people Help Themselves'.

Since an NGO's emphasis is on poverty alleviation interventions should not only be to promote SHGs, but also sustain them as autonomous bodies while federating them at an apex level. This would enable women to utilize their collective and solidarity power to fight issues of inequality, injustice and exploitation, at the home, village and wider levels.

Sampada's role is in promotion and formation of SHGs into a vigilant action force Le. a pressure group to voice the opinions of the voiceless, to integrate and link these SHGs to resources available (insurance companies, banks, training institutions) and to identify various income generating opportunities to sustain the activities and enhance growth of the SHGs. As a resource organisation we provide and disseminate necessary information regarding trainings for entrepreneurs (Entrepreneurship Awareness and Skill based Programmes), feasibility and sustainability of the activity, escort services, etc.

We constantly motivate and encourage women in SHGs to move beyond credit and to view credit as only one of the means of empowerment and not an end in itself. The credit activity is seen as one element in an integrated approach of empowerment. While empowerment is viewed as a holistic approach Le. affecting all spheres of a woman's life, such as, her personal life (her fight against physical, mental torture and violence); or the domestic sphere (her decision making ability and control over resources); the political arena (her involvement in the political processes) and the economic sphere (her access to resources . and control over her own income). Thus empowerment is achieved when all these aspects of a woman's life is addressed.

 

Summary of Operations of the Micro-Finance as on 30th June 2005

 
SAMPADA's Micro Credit was initiated in the year 1997-98, initially as a pilot initiative of Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) in response to the demands for capitalization of the rural women's SHG.

As on June 30, 2005 Sampada has disbursed more than 10 Crore (cumulative) through 670 SMS, reaching out to more than 40 thousand women. During the current financial year, till June 2005, we have disbursed a total of Rs. 9,396,5001- through 72 SMS, where 3064 women members of 291 SHGs received financial assistance.

SAMPADA caters to women's consumptive and productive needs through three types of loan product: Seasonal loan, Short Term Loan and Medium Term Loan. Seasonal Loan mostly caters to agriculture inputs and small consumptive needs of individuals in the villages, while Short Term and Medium Term loans address the income generating activities in the villages. Loan utilized for agriculture inputs includes purchase of seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, etc. Loan utilized for the start up of the income generation activities includes Grocery Shop, Flour Mill, Dry fish business, Tailoring, Pottery, Bangle business, Dairy (Goat and Cow), etc.  

Sr. No. Particulars From 1998 to Mar'02 Apr'02 - Mar'03 Apr'03 - Mar'04 Apr'04 - Mar'05 Apr'05 - June 05 Cumulative Total
1 No. of Villages 145 132 172 192 71 712
2 No. of Loans 178 131 172 211 72 764
3 No. of SHGs involved in credit 880 648 773 879 291 3,471
4. No. of Clients in credit 9,505 8,145 9,486 10,267 3,064 40,467
5. Disbursement during period 25,516,826 20,910,970 21,461,720 30,648,420 9,396,500 107,934,436
6. Principal Outstanding (Year end) 1,485,635 4,684,547 9,172,915 9,594,806 18,991,306 18,991,306
7. Average Loan size per SHG 28,996 32,270 27,764 34,867 32,290  
8. Average Loan size per individual 2,685 2,567 2,262 2,985 3,067  
9. No of SMS involved 106 128 172 192 72 670
 

News Snippets

 
Setting up of Sampada Trust

WOTR's Micro Finance unit has now become an independent sister organisation called SAMPADA TRUST and has shifted the office to a new premise.  The address is as follows :

'SAMPADA', Behind Market Yard, 
Ahmednagar - 414 001, Maharashtra, India
 

New Focus Areas

 
Insurance as a Social Security Tool

Insurance is related to personal / family safety and welfare (life and health insurance) as well as to the protection of the economic value of assets. Assets that are likely to be destroyed or be non-functional through an accidental occurrence are insured to protect their economic value.  

The importance of insurance is often only understood after misfortune has struck. Even though there are numerous insurance agencies in the country, the rural poor have not yet got access to these facilities. SAMPADA TRUST has recently ventured into this area to provide social security to the poor in the rural areas of Maharashtra. Sampada offers both Life and General Insurance (inclusive of health).

Sampada functions as a corporate agent to link rural individuals to reputed insurance providers and is making all-out efforts to ensure that the benefits of insurance reach all the women's groups associated with it.
 

Micro-Enterprise Development A new focus area for SAMPADA

SAMPADA TRUST  has set up a separate cell to focus on Micro Enterprise Development.  In this context, it will be conducting livelihood-based training programmes to enable women to develop and master different skills that will enhance their entrepreneurial capacity and help them gain financial security. It will also provide financial support and escort services to such trained entrepreneurs or self-employed persons.
 

Melawa (Women's Gathering)

Melawa is organized wherein a large gathering of women from a distance of approx. 5 -10 kms. come together to discuss on various issues such as health, micro finance, micro enterprise (livelihood activities), legal aid, insurance and share experiences of their life before and after joining the SHG movement. Local contribution towards the expenses is in the form of travel and arrangement made for the stage and acoustics. The melawa is organised by the women themselves right from planning to implementation and collaboration with participating villages in the logistic arrangements. 

Sampada Trust has organized along with women a total of 9 melawas in 3 regions (Wardha, Nandurbar and Ahmednagar) of Maharashtra involving around 27,000 women.
  

Forthcoming Events

 
Trainings 

Management Development Programme For Development Organisations from 6th-9th December 2005.

Sampada Trust aims at designing training modules for training professionals, rural managers and those in charge of specific managerial functions in order to assist rural organizations and institutions in professionalizing their management and empower rural people through adoption of self sustaining processes.

The objective of the programme is to impart knowledge and skills required for identification, selection, preparation and appraisal of projects, their implementation, monitoring, control and evaluation. 

The programme consists of a blend of lectures, cases, classroom discussions and group exercise to reinforce concepts, tools and techniques. In particular, the MDP will bring out the need for adoption of a multi-pronged approach based on Logical Framework Analysis (LFA) for meaningful management of development programmes and projects.
 

Life Stories ...

 
Ammai's Story A Flourmill for the Village 

I am  Ammai, I am 53 years old. I have two children. Both my daughter and son are married. After the death of my husband, my son was not in position to maintain a big family. So I decided to migrate back from Andhra Pradesh to my village Sakra of Pandharkawda Taluka in Yavatmal, where I had a piece of land purchased by my father-in-law. Sakra is a remote village with around 48 families. I thought of cultivating the land to earn my livelihood. When I came to the village, I met the NGO Jansewa who told me that an SHG had recently been formed in the village with the help ofWOTRlSAMPADATRUSl1 enquired with the women and they asked me to join the group. The name of my group is Shivbaba SHG. Through this SHG I had the chance to participate in various capacity building trainings. Because of the three consecutive years of drought my earnings were very meager and I constantly faced financial problems. I was always thinking of ways to supplement my source of income.  

In our village there was no flourmill and the women had to walk 5 km to get the grain ground. I thought of putting up a flourmill in the village and discussed this in the SHG meeting. All the members were very happy to support me, as it would benefit all. SAMPADA sanctioned an amount or Rs. 85,000 to our SMS out of which our SHG got Rs. 30,0001-. I asked for a loan of Rs. 1O,OOO/- from the SHG to set up the flourmill, which the SHG immediately sanctioned. I purchased the mill and learnt how to operate it from a lady from the neighbouring village who explained the working of the mill in detail as well as gave me a brief idea of trouble shooting in case I have any problems while running the mill. 

Presently the mill is running well and I am earning around Rs. 200 per day out of which Rs.401- is repaid per day (Rs. 1,200/- per month) to my SHG. Now I am satisfied with my earnings and also glad that I am able to render a valuable service to my fellow villagers. 

The success of my activity has motivated other women from our SHG to start income generating activities themselves. They realize that it is not really difficult, but feel the need for some sort of guidance.  

Initially, after starting this business I did not write down the accounts or keep any records. Once, during a visit to my flourmill, SAMPADA staff explained to me the importance of maintaining records. I was convinced of what they said and got the formats prepared from them. The procedures are very easy to maintain if done regularly and also help me get an exact picture of my income and expenditure. In future I will be able to show these accounts to anybody any time. SAMPADA, Jansewa, my SMS and SHG have all motivated and supported me set up my activity and I will always remain thankful to them.    

Anusay (Ammai) Revanwar
Shivbaba SHG, 
Sakra Village, Taluka Pandharkawda, District Yeotmal.
 

Contract Farming By Self Help Groups

 
The Self Help Groups from Marathwakdi, Jai Durga and Zhasi Chi Rani constitute 13 members each. The members are mostly agricultural labourers. Some of the members own marginal land holdings while others are landless labourers. Both the SHGs function under Marathwakdi Sanyukta Mahila Samittee. (Women's Joint Committee of all SHGs in a village also referred to as SMS). During the SHGs meetings, the members decided to cultivate a piece of land (18 acres) in their village. It was a unanimous agreement by all the members to get involved in this activity. However, the major problem was that of finance, as the landlord demanded Rs. 14,OOO/- as an advance for use of the land. Another difficulty faced by them was the need of working capital for cultivation. Considering both these aspects, the members approached the SMS with their request. They required an investment of Rs. 31,0001- as an initial cost to meet the expenses towards the advance to be given to the landlord and for purchase of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. They submitted their proposal to the SMS requesting a loan for the above activity. The SMS thoroughly scrutinized the proposal and forwarded it, along with their recommendation, to Sampada Trust. After appraisal of the same, the SHGs were given a credit of Rs. 31,OOOI-aspertheirrequirement. With enthusiasm, the SHGs members completed the formalities of acquiring the land from the landlord through a legal contract and completion of tillage operations. They purchased cotton and red gram seeds along with fertilizers and pesticides. All these women worked as a team and their efforts yielded a bountiful harvest of forty eight quintals of cotton and twenty eight quintals of red gram. The women gained employment for the entire year in their own activity and did not need to approach other farmers for contract work. The total revenue generated amounted to Rs. 137,200/-. Out of this, Rs. 14,OOOI-was paid to the landlord, Rs. 17,OOOI-forthe purchase of seeds, pesticides and fertilizers and Rs. 50,0001- was shared by the women as labour charge for work done in the field. The net profit earned by the SHGs was Rs. 56,2001-. The profit earned by SHGs helped in building up of self-confidence among the women to undertake any entrepreneurial activity. The SMS extended their congratulations to Jai Durga and Zashichi Rani SHGs for their entrepreneurial skills and team work. The SHGs thanked Sampada Trust, Jansewa Prathistan (NGO) and Marathwakdi SMS for their timely cooperation and support due to which they could achieve the goal and set an example for other rural women.

SMS...
Marathwakdi Village
Taluka Kelapur, District Yeotmal

 
   
For free private circulation only
Published By:
Sampada Trust
'Sampada', Behind Market Yard,
Ahmednagar - 414 001
Phone : (0241) 2451311.  Fax : 2451134
e-mail : sampada@wotr.org / info@sampada.org
website : www.sampada.org

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