You are on page 1of 36

-1

-

INTEGRATING MICROFINANCE AND LIVELIHOODS The Swayam Shikshan Prayog Experience

By

Sangeetha Purushothaman Preethi Krishnan Priya Pillai Malasree Dasgupta

Best Practices Foundation Bangalore
Date: 2nd June 2011

-2-

Table of contents

1.1. Introduction ................................................................................................................... 3 1.2. Objectives of the study.................................................................................................. 4 1.3. Conceptual Framework and Methodology.................................................................... 5 1.4. Context ......................................................................................................................... 6 1.5. Sakhi Samudaya Kosh (SSK) ...................................................................................... 7 1.6. Objectives of SSK ......................................................................................................... 7 1.7. Philosophy and Guiding Principles ............................................................................... 7 1.8. Institutional Processes and Coverage............................................................................ 8 1.9. Impact ........................................................................................................................... 8 1.10. Lessons Learnt ......................................................................................................... 12 1.11. Community Health Mutual Trust (SAST) ................................................................ 13 1.12. Objectives of SAST ................................................................................................. 13 1.13. Activities .................................................................................................................. 13 1.14. Impact ....................................................................................................................... 14 1.15. Challenges and Recommendations ........................................................................... 15 1.16. Sakhi Social Enterprise Network (SSEN) ................................................................ 15 1.17. Objectives of SSEN ................................................................................................. 15 1.18. Activities and Strategies ........................................................................................... 16 1.19. Impact ....................................................................................................................... 17 1.20. Challenges and Recommendations ........................................................................... 17 1.21. Synergies with credit, health and retail entrepreneurs ............................................ 18 1.22. Sakhi Retail Private Limited (SRPL) ........................................................................ 18 1.23. Objectives ............................................................................................................... 19 1.24. Activities .................................................................................................................. 19 1.25. Impact ....................................................................................................................... 19 1.26. Challenges and Recommendations ........................................................................... 20 1.27. Overall Strategies and Impact ................................................................................... 21 1.28. Focus on Livelihoods and Credit through MF .......................................................... 21 1.29. Social networks of women and larger Institutions ................................................... 22 1.30. Fostering Women’s Leadership ............................................................................... 23 Combining strategies that promote women leaders-entrepreneurs through social enterprises not only can raise awareness on critical issues but provide women with income opportunities to do so. Through active outreach products, women are not only able to raise awareness but also help their communities access better healthcare and improve their quality of life. Women who were actively engaged as arogya sakhis, field officers, sakhis and health governance monitors as well as community leaders show their collective support for SSP’s initiatives through melavas held annually as well as through their links to the entities. To illustrate, every year almost 2000 women attend the melavas held by SSP, where women leaders were recognized as role models and commit to social goals. ........ 23 Women’s leadership and their support is evidenced by number of women mobilized to aware of services: ................................................................................................................ 23 1.31. Capacity Building ..................................................................................................... 24 1.32. Convergence ............................................................................................................ 24 Page 3 of 36

1.33. 1.34. 1.35. 1.36. 1.37. 1.38. 1.39. 1.40. 1.41. 1.42. 1.43. 1.44. 1.1.

Political capital ......................................................................................................... 24 Institutional Impact .................................................................................................. 25 Main lessons.............................................................................................................. 26 The Way Forward .................................................................................................... 27 Context ...................................................................................................................... 27 Empowerment .......................................................................................................... 27 Gender based strategies............................................................................................. 28 Increasing community ownership through the federations ....................................... 28 Growing SSP SHG networks and community relationships ................................... 29 Convergence: Current and Potential ......................................................................... 29 Final recommendations ............................................................................................. 33 Summary and Conclusions ....................................................................................... 34

Introduction

The case study by Best Practice Foundation documents lessons and insights from a women’s empowerment, entrepreneurship and governance approach that centres around facilitating access to microfinance, livelihoods, health and other services. It examines the multiple initiatives of Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), a learning and development organisation working in rural Maharashtra and other states, primarily through the lens of empowering women in poor communities in rural India. SSP aims to bring women and poor communities from the margin to the mainstream of development by forging partnerships with institutional actors and providing technical support for community driven initiatives. Today, SSP partners with over 5,000 women SHGs with around 72,000 members in 1,600+ villages across three states in India. Together, SSP, grassroots federations and social enterprises provide range of solutions/initiatives to meet health, energy, water, sanitation, food security and agriculture needs of the poor in a changing climate. SSP is headquartered in Mumbai and it began its work in the economically backward Marathwada region in Maharashtra. This region experienced a massive earthquake in 1993. Working to transform this mass-scale disaster into an opportunity for development, SSP partnered with institutions, to develop a widespread network of women. After completion of the reconstruction project in 1998, SSP was supported by HIVOS over multiple years to form and strengthen grassroots institutions that went beyond savings and credit to build social, political and economic competencies for its women members by enhancing access to finance and markets and local institutions. In the process of disaster reconstruction, SSP started promoting savings and credit groups to provide economic and social capacity building support to women. However, groups could not leverage the volumes of credit that were actually being demanded and hence the need for a larger organizational structure came into being. Thus, the first federation was registered in Tuljapur in the year 2000. The federation1 was a three-tier structure comprising of a network of SHGs with the SHG at the village level, SHG representation at cluster level (10-15 villages) and the executive committee at the Taluk level. By 2005, there were a total of 2,427
1

A federation is a network of self help groups with the Apex body at the block level with the broad objective of empowering women and providing them with livelihood options.

Page 4 of 36

SHGs promoted by SSP, which came together to form eight federations and this strategy continued leading to a total of 16 federations. In 2006, SSP and the SHG network promoted Sakhi Samudaya Kosh (SSK) as a community driven Micro finance Institution (MFI) with a goal to improve livelihoods for women and families. From 2006 to 2010, partnering with HIVOS, SSP moved steadily from a savings & credit and micro-enterprise strategy to setting up social businesses that tap large scale opportunities to provide sustainable “livelihoods” /incomes to women. SSP and the networks readied themselves for this paradigm shift by espousing social and business models, securing credit and capital, creating and running legal entities and building new skills sets. Within this context, the concept of creating social businesses that could leverage and expand on the skills of women was on top of the list of priorities. SSP then nurtured 800+ women village level retail entrepreneurs in as many rural villages/towns by setting up Sakhi Retail Private Limited (SRPL) in rural Maharashtra to market a line of affordable products with high social impact that enhance the lives of both consumers and entrepreneurs to reach to 72,000 families. Sakhi Community Health Trust (SAST) an initiative for rural families with low access to affordable health to benefit from cashless health insurance and doorstep health services resulting in improved health security. Setting up a rural school of entrepreneurship for women and youth, building and training micro -entrepreneurs and starting an incubator for rural enterprises to enhance opportunities for women and young girls are key goals of the Sakhi Social Enterprise Network (SSEN) entity. 1.2. 

Objectives of the study
To understand the Micro-finance programme, Sakhi Samudaya Kosh (SSK), and additional non-microfinance interventions with respect to coverage, socio-economic profile of the beneficiaries, services delivered, client satisfaction with services, and the resultant expansion of ability to make strategic choices. To analyse the context in which the Micro Finance Institution (MFI) is operating in order to identify legal, socio-economic, cultural and political factors that impact upon women being able to access, utilise and benefit from micro-finance services and their impact on women’s ability to make strategic life choices. To conduct an institutional analysis looking at the quality of the MFI internal procedures, policies, M&E, MIS in terms of enabling MF specific learning and reflection on: service delivery, product relevance, additional interventions, beneficiary/client satisfaction, knowledge of context and relevant stakeholders/resource persons/organisations that can play a supportive role towards wider (economic) empowerment of women. To assess main lessons learned in terms of adequacy and relevance of the MF services and additional interventions, their impact on wider women’s (economic) empowerment, the potential sustainability of combined interventions, replicability and scalability, new interventions that might be required, and unintended positive and negative outcomes.

1.3.

Conceptual Framework and Methodology
The basic concepts which informed this study are from definitions and frameworks of women’s empowerment conceptualized by Mayoux (2005), Longwe (1989, 1991), Rowlands (1997) and Kabeer (1994) included in Appendix 2.1 and by DFID’s livelihood framework (Appendix 2.2).

Page 5 of 36

The case study was conducted in three phases – planning and pre-appraisal, implementation and follow up - over a period of two and a half months from November 1st 2010 to January 15th 2011. Phase one included secondary research, planning meetings of research team with SSP staff, creation of the conceptual framework, preliminary design of instruments, pilot field testing of instruments and finalisation of the methodology. The implementation phase of 20 days included a six day field visit, a quantitative survey of participants using and not using microfinance services and the initial draft reports. In the final phase, a follow up visit to the field along with a review of the initial draft and quality of the quantitative surveys jointly assessed by BPF and SSP were conducted. Consequently, a second set of data collection was carried out, to fill in the gaps and obtain the quantitative data needed to ensure a satisfactory quality of the final sample surveyed. The quantitative methodology was based on random stratified sampling methods, with three equal samples of respondents (30) for those participants with a household income of less than 5,000 rupees per month. This ensured that groups of comparable socio-economic status were sampled. The three samples included participants who have taken microfinance loans for livelihoods, participants who have taken microfinance loans for consumption and participants who have not taken loans from the MFI but were members of savings groups. Refer to Appendix 2.3 for sample of respondents by village. The qualitative data collection and analysis included in-depth interviews with SSP staff, profiling of participants, focus group discussions and interviews with external stakeholders of the initiatives. One limitation of the quantitive methodology was the sample size of 90 which may not be representative of the entire population of women in SSP. Also it does not represent the impact on women leaders (Sakhis, Arogya Sakhis field officers and supervisors) who were interviewed in separate FGDs. In this context the methodological framework was expanded to include a definition of women’s empowerment that captured the new roles played by women leaders, as innovators of solutions and as providers of access to services and products to solve large scale problems through qualitative interviews and FGDs. The qualitative sample interviewed included separate focus group discussions with women from the three groups for the quantitative sample, women federation leaders, women leaders who were in panchayats, women entrepreneurs trained under SSEN, consumers of insurance products, consumers of Sakhi retail products, Arogya Sakhis, field officers, field supervisors, Sakhis or women from the retail marketing network, women farmer group representatives and trainers (also federation members). This was supplemented by in-depth staff interviews of senior staff from SSP. The study was conducted through four visits to SSP and one from SSP to BPF. Appendix 2.4 provides the quantitative and quantitative instruments used in this study. These include the instruments used in the interviews and FGDs for internal and external stakeholders and participants. These instruments have been provided as a separately as a zipped file. 1.4.

Context
To assess the levels of poverty among the women criteria of the official Below Poverty Line2 indices such as annual incomes below 20,000 rupees and landholding status were examined.
2

The Below Poverty Line for rural areas was set at annual family income less than Rs. 20,000, less than two hectares land, and no television or refrigerator in the ninth five year plan. However in the 10th five year plan this was changed to look at he degree of deprivation in respect of 13 parameters, with scores from 0-4:

Page 6 of 36

Of the 80 who responded about 67 women (84%) reported landholdings below 4.8 acres. The overall status of women interviewed in SSP showed were close to the poverty line with the 17% of families earning under 20,000 rupees annually. However this figure of Rs 20,000 has been questioned in the 10th five year plan as unrealistic “as to support the food requirements and does not provide much for the other basic essential items like health, education etc. That is why some times the poverty lines have been described as starvation lines.” Thus a more realistic cut off would be at least Rs.3,000 per month or 36,000 rupees per year by which figure SSP sample surveyed showed 61% earning less than Rs.3,000 per month. Need for Microfinance: Women reported a need for credit especially to enhance their livelihoods as the primary reason for accessing microfinance services. Earlier many reported having to take loans from money lenders or relatives and in this sense the MF services filled a dire need. In the current context of those who were already taking MF loans many said that they needed loans of higher magnitudes without which they would still need to take loans from other sources. They also wanted loans of varying durations according to seasonality and fund flow from the livelihood activity which may require longer terms. Women in the savings groups said that they had insufficient access to credit especially for livelihoods and even those who accessed bank loans said these loans were of too small a size to enhance their livelihoods as they ranged between 2000 to 3000 rupees per person, much smaller when compared to the loan size from microfinance. Need for Additional Interventions: A major need identified reported by all women was the need to enhance their livelihoods, which could be a reflection of SSP’s focus on livelihoods. Thus the need to provide broad based livelihood opportunities on scale emerged which translated from micro-enterprise into SSP creating social enterprise. Several women who were engaged in livelihoods or who were potential entrepreneurs reported the need for training on marketing. Several women in savings groups reported not having had enough food before joining the groups. Even now some women reported facing issues like alcoholism, inadequate infrastructure in their villages such as electricity supply, roads, sanitation and water supply. Health expenditure was reported to be a major issue and many had taken insurance to resolve this problem. NSS data shows that people in rural areas were able to manage only Rs.409 out of Rs.1,000 from their own income during hospitalisation, and Rs.772 out of Rs.1,000 in the case of outpatient treatment. The remaining was collected through borrowing, loans from friends and relatives and even from distress sale of household assets which was confirmed by women. SSP in their own needs assessment identified health care expenses to be a major factor enhancing the economic vulnerabilities of the women and their families. They also found that the most common reason for women accessing loans from their SHGs is for health-related expenditures. This established the need for health insurance and access to affordable health services which SSP responded to through their community based, voluntary health insurance programme. The entities that were set up in response to these needs had overlapping geographies with the intent of servicing the same women and families. The microfinance initiative had reached out to 31,454 members, the largest population, while the health initiative reach 13,873 consumers
landholding, type of house, clothing, food security, sanitation, consumer durables, literacy status, labour force, means of livelihood, status of children, type of indebtedness, reasons for migrations, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Below_Poverty_Line_%28India%29

Page 7 of 36

in 175 villages of which 562 had taken MF loans. The retail marketing network has serviced more than 61,000 consumers through 850 sakhis across 850 villages. SSEN has trained 2,465 women of which 843 have taken MF loans. While the quantitative survey which did not include Sakhis did not show much overlap, the interviews with Sakhis showed women who had benefited from at least two of the initiatives. Women have to be a member of a group to access MF loans but to get access to health or other products and services the women did not have to belong to groups although many were from the same geographical area. One limitation of the study was that it did not target and interview families who had received multiple services from all entities to assess impact. However SSP is imminently poised as each entity scales up to impact the same women and families with the multiple services for health, environment, energy, and credit. 1.5.

Sakhi Samudaya Kosh (SSK)
Sakhi Samudaya Kosh (SSK), the microfinance entity of Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) was formed with the mission “to provide a range of socially relevant financial services for rural women and their communities to help reduce poverty and to improve quality of life.” 1.6. Objectives of SSK  To provide a range of financial services and options to women and community members  To empower women SHGs and their members to join the financial mainstream  To enable SHGs and their members to diversify their livelihood systems and reduce risks through credit plus services. SSK began operations in 2006 with an initial capital of Rs. 42 lakhs (one lakh is 100,000) funded by SSP with federations playing some role in loan application generation initially. In 2008, the entire operation was handed over to SSK where several federation leaders were absorbed as field officers. Over the years, SSK has evolved itself into a sustainable microfinance institution. Registered under Section 25 of the Company Act, SSK is a not for profit company and therefore does not leverage funds from investors with a profit motive and mainly depends on bank loans for their working capital. SSK has leveraged funds from private/public sector and rural banks. In year 2009-2010, SSK leveraged Rs. 68 million and disbursed close to Rs. 110 million as loans. 1.7. Philosophy and Guiding Principles Focus on SHG: SSK provides financial services to its poor rural women consumers through SHGs and urban consumers through Joint Liability Groups (JLG)3. However, in focussing on its primary commitment to serve the rural poor, SSK has continued to strengthen the collective at the village level in the SHG. Sustained efforts are put to build the field officers’ relationship with group members who have prevented unequal distribution of loans, increased

3

SHG is a group of 10-20 women members, who meets once a month, saves similar amounts in the group, has a bank account in the name of SHGs, does internal lending with the savings collected. The purpose for group formation is larger including addressing social, economic and political issues. The group is homogenous in terms of socio economic status and group life is longer. A JLG is a group of 5 women, of similar socio economic status whose only purpose is to receive loans. The group dissolves after loans are repaid. Savings is not mandatory, nor is internal lending. In both SHGs and JLGs, the group is given the loan and stands guarantee for repayment and no loans are given to individuals. JLGs are not part of the federation and as the MF operations have deepened within the same villages new groups do not necessarily belong to the federation.

Page 8 of 36

transparency within groups and increased awareness of the status of loans and accounts among the members. Livelihood Orientation: SSK focuses on loans for livelihoods than on consumption, evident in their loan portfolio of 95% of loans being used for productive purposes. Registration as a non profit entity: By registering as a non-profit entity from the beginning, SSK has avoided the pitfalls of microfinance institutions which are driven by profit such as high interest rates and coercive recovery methods. 1.8. Institutional Processes and Coverage Coverage: The cumulative disbursement of SSK till Dec 2010 is Rs 300.44 million to 3,313 SHGs and 612 JLGs reaching 31,454 members. Products: SSK has four loan products based on principles of flexibility and tailored to livelihoods (Appendix 3.1). The products include a short term loan with a maximum size of Rs.40,000, a medium term loan up to Rs.1,00,000, a long term loan up to Rs.3,00,000 and an emergency loan up to Rs.30,000, with interest rates ranging from 20-22% with repayment schedules ranging from 12 to 24 months. Credit-related processes: The credit related processes consisted of promotion of loans, generating of loan application, appraisal of the application, disbursement of loans, follow up and recovery. The processes have been formalised to increase transparency, build group health and trust, create checks and balances and monitor groups closely in ways by which typical pitfalls of microfinance have been avoided. Monitoring of field officers’ progress is done through the creation of incentive mechanisms that are then tracked. The overall incentive structure is provided in Appendix 3.4 1.9. Impact The main impact of the MFI is improved livelihoods and incomes leading to a better quality of life. Access to on time need based credit for productive activities by poor women is a major factor. SSK operations have been strengthened by using Key Monitoring Indicators that measure outreach and portfolio quality and the MFI’s efficiency, productivity and financial viability. These indicators look at the health of the MFI. SSK has been evaluated over the years by CRISIL and M-CRIL rating agencies. It’s overall external rating has improved over the years. See Appendix 3.3. Impact on Women’s livelihoods and lives An impact assessment survey was carried out with women SHG members. See Appendix. 3.5. Three groups of women were interviewed with a total sample of 90 women: 1. Accessed loans from the MFI for consumption 2. Accessed MFI loans for livelihoods 3. Savings groups - not accessed any loans from the MFI Focus group discussions with the same women supplemented the survey findings.  Socio Economic Status It was seen that microfinance initiatives had targeted poor women in small and marginal farmer households with an annual income of less than Rs.36,000. See Tables 1.a to f in Appendix 3.5. Comparing the three groups more women in the savings groups were agricultural labourers and less were involved in agricultural production and trading compared to the two microfinance groups. Also the group accessing MF loans for livelihoods had a

Page 9 of 36

lower proportion of women in Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Table 1b) compared to other groups.  Economic Impact Economic impact has been examined looking at access and control over credit and incomes, expanded livelihood options, changes in expenditure pattern and ability of women to make decisions related to expenditure including assets, large and small purchases. Access and control to credit: Women who had taken microfinance loans reported that interest rates at SSK was lower (24% per annum) in comparison to money lenders (60-72% per annum). Of those surveyed, 33 women out of the 60 said that the loan processing procedures for microfinance loans were simple (Table 4d). In the discussions, women who had accessed loans from the banks complained that while the interest rates for banks was lower than SSK, procedures were longer and complicated. Women preferred flexible use of loans. A third of women surveyed felt that MF loans could not be used for diverse purposes and the size of loans were usually small. In terms of the decision to take a loan, women from all three groups said this was done through in consultation with their husbands and family members (Table 6g). More women who had not taken loan from the savings groups and not the MFI reported not consulting their husbands. Very few women who took loans for starting businesses did so without consulting their husband. This is possibly a function of both size of the loan and the fact that many of these loans financed family businesses. Expanded livelihood options: More than 96% of SSKs loan portfolio was for livelihood initiatives with only 3.9% of the loans given for consumption purposes (See Appendix 3.6 for portfolio distribution). Of the total portfolio, the non farm sector was 56%. Among the loans taken to start businesses, around 30-40% of the loans were accessed by women as first time micro entrepreneurs. This is a direct outcome of SSK’s emphasis on credit for livelihoods. Among the other activities, women were substantially involved in livestock care and milk production. In agriculture, women are primarily involved in cultivation and harvesting with men primarily in charge of agricultural activities, assets and incomes. By starting micro-enterprises and investing in livestock, women were also expanding their choices of location and time of work and are contributing substantially to the family income. In many cases, women have stopped working as agricultural labour. In the survey, about 50% of the women who were financed for business by microfinance loans reported that these loans were used for starting new businesses. See Table 4b. Access to income and assets for households: Over 87% reported an increase in income as a result of their livelihood activities funded by microfinance loans. See Table 4f. For e.g. women accessing microfinance loans for livelihoods (Rs.3,467), higher than the other groups at Rs 2,793 and Rs 3,163. See Table 1d. There was not much change in assets reported by women comparing their assets now and two years ago (Table 6f). The few changes reported were those that women tend to have greater control over sewing machine and livestock but these changes were marginal. Micro enterprises created the most impact – for women who had created new businesses like textile shops, tailoring business, bangle business and beauty parlours on their own and increased confidence, higher levels of skills, expanded work choices, decreased vulnerability and creating jobs for other women. The impact on incomes because of microfinance livelihoods is evident in the form of increased confidence, higher Page 10 of 36

levels of skills, expanded choices on the type of work women choose to undertake, decreased vulnerability and even increased employment for other women. Women like Bhagirathi and Baby Shiral serve as role models for other women not just as entrepreneurs, but also through their orientation to helping other women join SHGs or start businesses (Appendix 3.7). Control over incomes by women: There was a clear difference reported in control over incomes between women who have got loans for businesses compared to other groups (Table 6a). The majority of women (28 out of 30) who received microfinance loans for businesses reported having full or partial control over their own incomes, with only one woman in this group reported having no control. In contrast about 7 women who had not taken loans from the MFI and 5 women, who had taken MFI consumption loans, reported having no control. Women reported greater control over incomes from assets such as sewing machines, flour mills, and cereal processing units, shops and live stock (Table 6b). However in the case of agricultural assets, it was largely men who had control over these assets and the incomes from them (Table 6b). Women reported not having much control over expenditures on small or large purchases or over the decisions to purchase household assets. Comparing the three groups findings indicate that women with MF loans for business had marginally higher control over small purchases compared to women with MF loans for consumption. The savings group had much less control over small purchases (Table 6d). In terms of large purchases (Table 6e) mostly the decisions rested largely with men or were jointly made. However women with MF loans for businesses reported having some control over large purchases for their own household run businesses. Overall in keeping with research findings on wider research on women’s economic empowerment it was found that women had greater control over incomes from assets in their own businesses but not over family purchases, large or small. Nor did they have control over the decision to buy household assets. Increase in Expenditure: Vulnerability regarding Nutrition, Health and Education: Women across the three groups reported an increase in expenditure for health, food, education, clothing and travel (Table 7a). More women who received MF loans for business reported increases in expenditure especially for food and travel (all 30 or 100%) while 27 of them (90%) reported increased expenditure on health, education, sanitation and clothing. The other two groups also reported an increased expenditure but to a lesser extent. Women who received MF loans for business attributed increased expenditure due to increased incomes (Table 7b) while for the other groups, the highest numbers cited were due to inflation. Many women reported feeling less vulnerable on issues related to health or family emergencies as a result of access to higher incomes, information and contacts and mobility linked to their businesses. Women who had taken MF loans for livelihoods had accessed insurance (more than 50% or 16 women) in comparison to the other groups (13 women for the group with consumption loans and 7 women who had not taken MF loans). See Table 7a. Of the 36 women who reported having insurance, 13 said they got access to insurance through the MFI. SSP’s initiatives on health insurance offer social protection through reduced health expenditure, and providing access to health care and safeguards livelihoods of households where emergencies do not wipe out their capital base.

Page 11 of 36

The other impact found was that women reported that expenditure on women and girls had increased (Table 7c). More women (73%) who received MF loans for business reported increased or similar expenditure with no woman reporting a decrease. Fewer women in the other two groups (57%) reported increased expenditure on women and girls with some women even reporting a decrease.  Social Impact The empowerment indicators for social empowerment tested were mobility, confidence, and improved status in the family and increased social capital as measured by support from the self help group in times of crises. Mobility: Women reported having to travel out of their homes to visit markets, banks, panchayat and government offices, NGOs, hospitals and for entertainment. Across the board women who had taken loans for livelihoods reported higher exposure and increase in social contacts due to visits to markets, banks, government and panchayat offices (Table 9a). Of these more women in this group also reported going to these places on their own (Table 9b). This was in complete contrast to women’s earlier lives where they had not stepped out of their house. Confidence: More than two thirds of the women who had received MF loans for either business or consumption reported an increased status in the family as a result of joining the SHG. The vast majority of women who had received MF loans for business (97%) reported increased self confidence due to the SHG, compared to 80% of the women who had received MF loans for consumption and 70% who belonged to the savings groups. Social Capital: All women were received MF loans for business or consumption reported that the time spent in the groups was useful and they had received support during times of difficulty (Table 2b). Higher number of women in the savings groups reported receiving support for problems such as sickness, lack of food, payment of school fees, household quarrels, than women who had taken MF loans (Table 2c).  Political Impact Political empowerment was measured using indicators such as voting, independent casting of votes, participation in Gram Sabhas and participation in elections (contesting local elections). See Table 10. Voting patterns: Most women reported casting their vote in the last elections (97-100% of all three groups). The majority of women in all three groups (97%) said they caste their vote independently deciding who to vote for. Participation in GS: A third of the women who received MF loans for business said they participated in Gram Sabhas (public meetings) but only 10 percent of the women in the savings groups reported participating in Gram Sabhas. Participation in elections: Very few women said they contested elections and of those who did they were more were from the savings groups (10%). No woman from the MF group for livelihoods said they ran for elections. Overall in terms of political participation there seems to be high participation in voting but much less participation in Gram Sabhas or in contesting elections. Interviews with federation women leaders showed that many were elected village presidents or members. Many federation leaders were seen to have evolved into politically active leaders Page 12 of 36

showing that synergies with federations would be vital to increase women’s political participation and leadership in development. 1.10. Lessons Learnt The emphasis and focus of SSK on lending for livelihood purposes has the potential to result in greater economic empowerment of women as compared to other MFIs, where loans are primarily taken for consumption or household expenditures.  Relevance and Product Differentiation The SSK management already identified the need for a nuanced livelihood analysis based on seasonality of agriculture, higher investment for agriculture equipments and infrastructure, loans for housing repair and construction, etc. Analysis is planned of micro businesses and revenue streams of the varied livelihoods to tailor MF products to better suit the needs of consumers. Currently SSK has already piloted tailored products such as agriculture loan with a different repayment cycle appropriate to crop. They are planning relevant products for dairy, agriculture infra structure and agriculture working capital. They are also building partnerships with organisations such as Milaap which sources social funds at a lower interest rate which can be on-lent for housing, health and education at lower interest. This has been piloted with sakhis from Sakhi Retail Private Limited who received loans at lower interest (12% in comparison to 22% of normal microfinance loan) for their business.  Social Relevance of the microfinance activities SSK would have to develop KMPs that fit with its overall mission which should translate into social incentives for staff at all levels where performance can be assessed not just on their own organizational performance but also on their contribution to other verticals and for social issues. A strong set of gender related inputs – conscientisation and awareness of rights for MF consumers and field officers - orienting men and women to permit women’s freedom of choice and mobility would add great value in improving women’s overall empowerment. Synergies with the federation and SSP would help SSK achieve this objective. A stronger gender related institutional focus and a deeper, sustained effort on building the capabilities of the women to run businesses through better integration with SSEN could produce many more women run and owned businesses. 1.11.

Community Health Mutual Trust (SAST)
To increase access to health services and social protection for the poor, SSP promoted community-owned Health Mutual Fund (HMF) which later evolved into Sakhi Arogya Samudaya Trust (SAST). Women are centrally involved as service providers and create a demand for improved health services by forming health governance groups in their villages. With the active participation of the community federations, SAST was legally registered in May 2009, to focus on health initiatives – preventive and promotive health care, health insurance and monitoring of health services providers. 1.12. Objectives of SAST  To promote preventive and curative care in low income segments in rural/urban areas.  To set up and operate comprehensive health services and insurance to provide low cost and quality health care for poor communities in rural and urban slums.  To provide preventive health care trainings and referral services.

Page 13 of 36

 

To establish doorstep services through community based health entrepreneurs (Arogya Sakhis). To increase women’s leadership in participation and monitoring on health care services.

1.13. Activities Arogya Sandhi or Community Health Trust Fund: The Community Health Mutual Fund was initiated by SSP with Sakhi federations in 2006. Later, SSP converted the Community Health Mutual into a partnership model with an insurance company. Arogya Sandhi or an Box 4.1: Features of the Arogya Sandhi opportunity for health was launched as a (Insurance Programme) comprehensive health services and insurance  Group Insurance for a family of 5 members. product in January 2009 with Swasth India Services Differential (Rs.450(SIS), a for profit health venture. This model change  Rs.800) and APL pricing for BPL families. (Rs.750-Rs.1100) allowed SSP to provide one window services – Rs.30,000 coverage for family flouter & outpatient health care and hospital coverage at  Rs.10,000 coverage per illness. affordable prices to those women and families with Cashless hospitalisation (requiring low access to affordable health. The members pay an  minimum 24 hours stay) at empanelled affordable annual premium Rs. 750 which is hospital. subsidised further for the poor. They are entitled to a 20-30% discount on OPD consultations family coverage of Rs. 30,000 and accidental death  from empanelled general practitioners and cover. Other benefits include discounted doctor fees, specialists drugs, compensation for wage loss, and onsite 30-40% discount on tests conducted from referral services from Arogya Sakhis or community  the diagnostic labs in the network health entrepreneurs. In addition, the Trust has set 30% discount on drugs at identified drugs up Sakhi Clinics which provide out patient services,  dispensing centres similar to public health centres in areas with limited Accidental death cover worth Rs.25,000 health care.. Box 4.1 provides the key features of the  Insurance programme, details of which are in  Rs.50 per day as compensation for wage Appendix 4.2. loss from the 4th day of hospitalisation onwards subject to an upper limit of 15 days. As of December 2010, the fund has around 13,873  Sakhi Clinics which provide out patient people enrolled in 175 villages, with member services, similar to PHCs in areas with limited contributions of Rs.18.7 lakh serviced by 16 healthcare. empanelled hospitals (Appendix 4.3), 18 empanelled doctors, in turn linked to 18 pharmacies, 1 SAST pharmacy and 2 Sakhi clinics.

Health Governance and Monitoring: The Health Governance Groups (HGGs) constituted of women leaders from SHGs, act as monitoring groups that hold the public health services (PHCs, Taluk and District Hospitals) accountable to the community. Members are made aware of their rights on public services and actively encouraged to access the PHC for primary care thus increasing the demand for its services, forcing it to be responsive to the community. Till date, around 25,000 women have been reached with AIDS testing, education and follow up care. 1.14. Impact

The impact of the SAST initiative is clear in improved access to quality health care, reduced health expenditure and decreased vulnerability among consumers. Page 14 of 36

 Improved Access to Affordable Healthcare Service Of the total members, 457 women made claims worth Rs.20 lakhs exceeding the total contribution. They were supported at the backend by the public health insurance policy (UHIs). Members benefit from services during in and out-patient treatment, are provided with extensive information about places to access treatment, made aware about their rights. SAST recorded a renewal rate of 55%, which shows the relevance of the insurance product for the poor.  Creating Health Entrepreneurs to earn sustainable incomes Arogya Sakhis earn a fixed income and a commission (between Rs.35-70 per policy depending on the premium) for every member enrolled. On an average working a few hours a day, Sakhi, earns around Rs. 500 to 1,000 per month.  Decreased Vulnerability and Improved Health Security Members reported that insurance has reduced vulnerability, increased confidence during health crisis, and mitigated the need to borrow during health emergencies. Per household, OPD services usage resulted in a savings of Rs.250.  Improved Public Healthcare Services SAST ensures better accountability and monitoring of public health services through the network of women’s collectives with the health governance groups in each village lobbying government agencies for better water, sanitation and health services. The mechanism facilitates a higher quality and more affordable primary care resulting in an improved healthcare experience for the rural poor.  Creating Health Leaders The Arogya Sakhis are simultaneously health leaders and entrepreneurs who provide doorstep healthcare services - curative and preventive - to the community. These include basic consultations, first aid and emergency care, informed referrals, maternal and child care and education on the importance of health insurance.  Health Prevention Education and Community Health Awareness The community is provided preventive healthcare knowledge (good water and sanitation practices, hygiene practices, healthy eating habits etc) through SAST, supplemented with activities from other SSP entities (sale of water purifiers for safe drinking water, bio-fuel stoves and organic fertilisers from SRPL and growing of nutritious vegetables through the Krishi ghats, which are groups of women farmers) which help advance its application in the day-to-day lives of the community. 1.15. Challenges and Recommendations  Effective Utilization and Sustainability of the Health Programme Sustainability of initiative is a function of the increased membership to achieve breakeven point, after eighteen months. Several factors are at play: (a) Affordability : Total claims often exceed the contributions, showing it would be difficult to lower this cost. (b) Continuous investment on product promotion to create consumer demand and intensive training of Sakhis or community health workers to reach out and market to consumers more effectively. Deepening penetration in existing geographical areas, with a later focus on horizontal expansion could be a viable strategy so that services provided are met by costs to achieve a breakeven point in cost centres.  Primary preventive

Page 15 of 36

To make preventive care effective and integral with (a) higher involvement and (b) even spread of healthcare costs.  Enhanced community ownership The current initiative needs to step up awareness of health and social protection to assist in lowering costs, better and appropriate utilization of product benefits and reduce incidence of preventable diseases. 1.16.

Sakhi Social Enterprise Network (SSEN)
In keeping with its larger focus on livelihoods and women led enterprise strategy, SSP initiated a Business Development Services. Over three years, the unit provided women SHG members a forum for exchange with peers, skills and local business support besides handholding to go to market. It was formally legalised as Sakhi Social Enterprise Network (SSEN), in 2009 as a non profit Company. The main goal of SSEN is to function as an incubator for rural social enterprise through which women can expand their livelihood options. 1.17. Objectives of SSEN  To scope, identify and convert opportunities in Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) economies into business ideas and plans in partnership with local entrepreneurs.  To build a culture of entrepreneurship  To launch a Rural Entrepreneurship School and Business development services to integrate women and youth into markets.  To mobilize and leverage the resources of different stakeholders and institutional actors in the ecosystem, through strategic partnerships and alliances. 1.18. Activities and Strategies SSEN operates through three verticals: (a) an Entrepreneurship School which focuses on entrepreneurship development (b) a Vocational school focusing on vocational training and placement, and (c) ‘Go Direct’, which provides services to government and corporate that can also serve to subsidize the costs of the first two verticals. School of Entrepreneurship: The school aims to inspire, educate and launch new entrepreneurs, build a culture of entrepreneurship, create business ecosystems structured for success and incubate scalable models of community entrepreneurship for replication, for women and youth from marginalized communities. To achieve these objectives, SSEN conducts needs assessment to understand aspirations and assess demand for further training. The school has piloted locally designed and delivers entrepreneurship development through community entrepreneurs who double up as trainers. Entrepreneurship training is at two levels. Level 1 is the Entrepreneurship Awareness Programme (EAP) which provides exposure to enterprise possibilities. Level 2 is the Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) provides specific enterprise skills to women according to local needs. SSEN is now is in the process of setting up the School of Rural Entrepreneurship in collaboration with Start Up! A pan India organization that incubates new ideas and models of social change. The School’s goal is to educate, inspire and help women and youth launch socially-minded micro-businesses by developing their entrepreneurial skills and mindsets. SSEN has sought knowledge partnerships with the Best Page 16 of 36

Practices Foundation, Dharwad School of Management and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. This could result in recognition and certification for grassroots entrepreneurs, and access to expert trainers and a time tested curriculum MOVE ((Market Oriented Value Enhancement) which is a marketing and business management course tailored to landless, asset-less women and youth. Incubating collective enterprises: 500 women from Nanded district started collectives to produce and market organic vegetables and seeds. Federation members travelled from another district and started the same. Exposure visits to Agricultural University and government extension centres helped improve agricultural productivity and exposed first time women farmers to technology and markets. These farmers now liaise with local governments and act as resource persons to advocate the importance of environment friendly farming methods. Vocational Training School: Expanding its constituency SSP piloted and launched demand based training for young girls and boys who have completed their schooling. Connecting rural youth to local industries and the service sector, SSEN introduced gap filling courses and placement services thereby professionalising its services for a new segment. For three years, demand based IT skills mobile centres were run in partnership with Microsoft reaching out to over 500 youth in remote villages. In 2010, SSEN partnered with the Government and DB Tech a pan India technical education entity to impart computer literacy, retail management and career counselling. Rural Marketing: An important revenue source, it designs and executes together with Sakhi Retail, an end to end rural marketing and communication services tapping into corporate and government agencies. Branding of products, market research, video clips, rural advertising, consumer feedback surveys and test marketing have increased SSP’s bandwidth in the corporate world. 1.19. Impact SSEN strengthens the business acumen of SHG/Federation members to start new business ventures or upgrade existing micro-enterprises. Until 2009, large numbers of women members who took loans, gained business skills and confidence. Women moved up from running micro to small enterprises with small investments. By March, 2010, SSEN has developed specific economic skills where:    

30,000 women are exposed to enterprise development through EAP training 2,465 women have undergone EDP training 960 women were trained in retail sales, promotion and customer relations 970 youth were trained in computer literacy 122 youth were trained through advanced computer courses (hardware and networking) who now engage in computer maintenance of those centres and other colleges in their area.4

Most new entrepreneurs reported increased confidence to move out of the house and travel alone due to the business venture. Additionally, they learned to save, conduct bank
4

Ibid:p.9

Page 17 of 36

operations, and have access to markets. entrepreneurs increased access to incomes. 1.20. 

See Appendix 5.1 for evidence of women

Challenges and Recommendations Building a market oriented, demand driven curriculum

There is a need to create more demand driven businesses and for trainers themselves to be trained in market oriented business skills development. While the impact on the lives of new entrepreneurs in terms of their capacity to make decisions and choices was evident, the actual revenues and marketability of products as an outcome of the training could be higher. Some trainers voiced concerns that out of 30 women who had taken skills training on soya processing; only three women had ventured to start a new business despite it being explained as a profitable. Another trainer also reported that many women had started detergents business in large groups thereby reducing profitability. In this regard SSEN has already begun on a entrepreneurship approach instead of a enterprise skills training that aims to change the mind set of women. Partnering on the MOVE, a market oriented course is expected to show stronger results in terms of improving profitability of enterprises. The revised fee based 3 month module with business counselling for a year will push women to analyse the market first instead of just starting and improving existing businesses.  Developing a cadre of business and market oriented trainers Training of trainers is vital to ensure business orientation and build their marketing skills. In previous experiments with business development training, Best Practices Foundation has found that federation and SHG women were eminently capable of training entrepreneurs on business provided that they themselves are rigorously trained in these skills. The necessary human resource is due to the lack of a strong demand for SSEN services and therefore low scale. SSEN needs to develop a cadre of master-trainers who could train women and provide business nurturing services, and thereby build sustainable livelihoods. Federations can support SSEN through active marketing and promotion. 1.21. Synergies with credit, health and retail entrepreneurs SSEN has the highest potential to build synergies by training rural entrepreneurs. Greater synergies could be developed between trainers and loan officers from SSK .Potential entrepreneurs identified by SSK could be trained and credit given through SSK and the potential borrowers can access training prior to accessing loans. 1.22.

Sakhi Retail Private Limited (SRPL)
The journey began in early 2005, when Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) was exploring solutions to alleviate the physical drudgery and health hazards associated with fuel collection and cooking of rural women. At the same time, British Petroleum (BP) was seeking NGO partners to enter new and emerging markets in safe, eco-friendly energy. Utilizing this co-creation opportunity, BP and SSP went to rural women’s groups to understand their needs in the household energy sector. Research at the grassroots level and Page 18 of 36

rural women’s direct involvement led not only to a product concept, but also to a delivery model involving women’s groups in every business aspect. This led to the formation of a for profit entity to stock and distribute the bio fuel stoves. At the same time, SSP in the HIVOS supported project had initiated a door to door sales of high quality, locally procured grocery items through federations. In January 2009, Sakhi Retail was established rural marketing and distribution social enterprise with SSP linked promoters and women as shareholders. This was envisaged as one platform to nurture village level women entrepreneurs and increase the distribution network and move towards profitability by reducing overheads. Sakhi Retail was established with the aim of providing consumer education and raising awareness of rural low income households on use of clean, green appliances, eco friendly fuels and other energy products. The lack of markets, resources and competitive products often presented constraints for scalability of business of women. Increasing interest of corporates in rural markets was an added impetus and opportunity that SSP used to establish Sakhi Retail to augment the income of women.5 SSP started linking grassroots women's networks (sakhis) as village level entrepreneurs directly with corporates. With British Petroleum, SSP co-created the Oorja Stove, a smokeless stove operating on bio mass fuel. Corporate partners include Godrej, HUL,Honeywell, First Energy, SELCO solar home lighting, D. Light, OGP Nutraceuticals, and Olive Mobiles. 1.23. Objectives  To empower local women as retailers – Sakhis  To distribute needed products to rural, low income households  To develop supply chain for remote rural markets  To incubate products designed and tested with rural women  To educate consumers on clean, efficient energy products 1.24. Activities Identification of Products: The criteria for product selection is clean, green, affordable, quality products that the community needs but are not necessarily aware of, which entails educating the consumer. Today, SRPL also targets products, unavailable in local markets. Selection of products is based on customer feedback collected through top selling sakhis. On an ongoing basis,SR surveys on shopping patterns of rural consumers to identify relevant products. By engaging with multiple corporates on a range of products, SRPL has enabled the rural poor to access quality products at affordable prices. Building the Network of Sakhis: Sakhis with business acumen from rural communities are selected. They have an assigned sales areas with a guaranteed customer base of 500-1,000 households. To prevent competition, one sakhi is not allowed to sell in a village where another sakhi is operating. Each Sakhi makes an initial investment of Rs. 10,000 to purchase the initial stock of goods. They earn commissions on sales and utilize part of their profit for subsequent purchase of stocks. Distribution Strategies: SRPL began with the strategy of door to door sales through sakhis which over time expanded to show rooms to showcase products for direct sales from walk in customers. The door to door sales strategy capitalises on the standing of the sakhi and the
5

SSP’s proposal to HIVOS 25th November 2005

Page 19 of 36

community’s trust in them. Recently, institutional sales for products such as Jumbo Stoves targeting restaurants and hostels, has also begun. 1.25. Impact The impact of the retail network can be seen at different levels: that of the individual entrepreneur - the sakhi, on the community through the consumer and on the institution through a sustainable social enterprise model. Currently SRPL reaches 64,000 customers in 735 villages in five districts supplying more than ten relevant /need based products in mission driven sectors –water, bio fuels, solar energy, organic agriculture etc.  Impact on the Sakhis SRPL has created a network of more than 850 rural women entrepreneurs, who have been able to earn a monthly income ranging from Rs.750-3,000, thus contributing to family income. See Appendix 6.1 for evidence of women entrepreneurs increased access to incomes. The Sakhis use the products that they sell and in the process develop a strong awareness of their health and environmental impact. Many have become a community leader-cum-educator pursuing the goals of creating a better environment for her community. In a study done by Catalyst Management Services in May 2008 sakhis reported several benefits from running the retail business including earning more incomes and acquiring business skills. However in recent years some sakhis reported that declining sales of Oorja stoves and biomass pellets needed for these stoves. Sakhis found it difficult to sell products, both because of the growth in prices and competition from other products. Despite this, many continue to be entrepreneurs through other businesses because of skills gained through SRPL. Focus group discussions and interviews showed two clear trends, the first being, the growth of entrepreneurship and second being the difficulties in sales of the SRPL products and the viability of the business itself over time. Both consumers and sakhis reported that the pricing of the products especially of bio fuel pellets and solar lanterns, water purifiers as expensive for the rural markets.  Impact on the Community Products have positively influenced the lives of close to half a million rural women and households. (a) bio-fuel stoves have reduced the drudgery and time spent on collecting firewood and cooking, leading to saving of fuel and decreasing medical costs of women (b) nearly 2,00,000 rural households are now aware about safe and clean drinking water, renewable energy and advantages of organic farming (c) nearly 3,500 have installed solar lighting and benefited from increased farm productivity and education of children (d) almost 64,000 rural homes benefited from a reduction of air pollution and greenhouse gas emission through the use of smokeless stoves (e) nearly 10,000 people have a solution of safe drinking water.  Impact on the Institution and Building new models SRPL has emerged as an independent identity after going through several phases of development as a rural retail marketing network: Phase 1 of building the rural supply chain, Phase 2 of building product partnerships and Sakhi model and network and Phase 3 of moving towards profitability. By developing a revenue model, SRPL has managed to become self sustaining and is no longer dependent on external grants. The partnership between SRPL and corporates has created a social enterprise model for other NGOs to emulate and redefine terms of association with corporate. Simultaneously SRPL offers insights for corporates on last mile delivery through community agents. SRPL’s distinguishing feature is that its focus

Page 20 of 36

remains pro-community and pro-women and pro-community. SRPL serves as a unique bridge between civil society and private sector that allows a win-win situation for both companies to reach rural markets and civil society to generate employment opportunities for communities that it serves. The primary impact of the SRPL model from the institutional perspective has been the capacity to achieve both scale and sustainability. 1.26. Challenges and Recommendations  Sustaining incomes for the sakhis: The declining incomes of sakhis could indicate a possible mission drift due to the focus on building a sustainable revenue model. To address this issue, SRPL has diversified products in their portfolio, identifying products which provide the scope for repeat sales like water purifying tablets from Aqua Tab from Medentek, and agricultural input products like fertilizer. These products enable sakhis to have a steady incomes, maintain an ongoing relationship with their consumers through which even introducing new, affordable products will be easier. However, a critical first step towards ensuring that the benefits going to sakhis remain substantive would be for SRPL to regularly track sakhi incomes which at present is not systematically done.  Ensuring control of income to sakhis The involvement of male family members with the business of the sakhis would need to be examined carefully over time to assess its impact on sakhis’ control over their incomes. Through its selection process and through the sales process, SRPL has prioritised promoting the Sakhi as an entrepreneur.  Affordable and relevant products SRPL has to continuously focus on the affordability of the products and tailoring the product portfolio to be more relevant for rural communities. SRPL is also well aware of this and is trying to source pellets closer to the customer base to lower transportation costs. Similarly, the strategy of being the retail network for competitive products from corporates seeking to enter the rural market has contributed to lowering prices. SRPL has also made it a norm to ensure that consumer feedback is obtained to ensure relevance of products. SRPL differentiates itself from kiranas and other rural networks by ensuring that their products would be affordable, relevant and not easily accessible with strong social impact.  Synergy with other verticals SRPL currently has piloted eight sakhis who have taken loans from SSK at a lower interest rate for future scalability. With corporate investment SSEN could train drop out sakhis on business skills. SSEN would need to conduct a needs assessment of sakhis to create courses that are relevant for them. For sakhis to benefit from health insurance initiative, SRPL has been considering the health insurance with investments from sakhis and SRPL. SRPL in Tuljapur is piloting the sales of both products and health insurance policies through the Sakhis to increase their incomes and to forge synergies with SAST. SRPL being a for profit company, can use profits from SRPL for the benefit of the women sakhis. The SRPL board currently have sakhi or federation representation but has an Advisory Committee with women leaders.There is a need to consider women’s participation at this level, to ensure accountability to its mission.  Sustainability of the organization

Page 21 of 36

Being an innovation in the rural marketing sector, SRPL as a social enterprise is establishing itself within the commercial business community. It takes time for the business community and the banks, to understand this model and the need to invest in SRPL’s capital requirement. As a social enterprise which aims at investment in the community and aims to enhance women’s livelihood and income. The future challenge is to build a revenue model that can interface with corporations as well as create a space for community decision-making. 1.27.

Overall Strategies and Impact
SSP has developed a series of unique strategies around and livelihoods enterprise for women. These include a combination of social enterprise, developing principled partnerships and fostering economic leadership. The section below outlines the strategies and their impact. 1.28. Focus on Livelihoods and Credit through MF The focus on livelihoods as evidenced by 96% of the MF portfolio has resulted in women’s economic empowerment and impact.

Increased access to credit and incomes due to improved livelihoods strategies in the nonfarm sector is evidenced with the average income of women accessing microfinance loans for livelihoods (Rs.3,467) being higher than women who have used loans for consumption and not taken MF at Rs 2,793 and Rs 3,163. (See Table 1d and Chart 3.3.) Women having increased access to skills as reported in the FGDs especially business skills and financial and group management. Increased expenditure on health, education and food: More women who received MF loans for enterprise reported an increase in expenditure especially for food, health, education and travel (90-100%). (See Table 7b). Reduced vulnerability: Access to insurance reported was the highest (more than 50% or 16 women) among the group which had taken MF loans for livelihoods as compared to women in other two groups (13 women for the group with consumption loans and 7 women who were part of savings groups). (See Table 7a). Of the 36 women who reported having insurance, 13 said that they got access to insurance through the MFI. SAST, by reducing vulnerability through the reduction of health expenditure, and providing access to health care also safe guards livelihoods of households where emergencies do not wipe out their capital base.

Overall evidence indicates that women who had taken MF loans for livelihoods had improved standard of living, decreased vulnerability and increased choice for overall development. 1.29. Social networks of women and larger Institutions The overriding approach across SSP was that there should be more investment in women leaders, village entrepreneurs, who through their own increased awareness on health, environment and energy were able to transmit the information to the community at large. A unique feature of SSP, which is apparent across all verticals, is its capacity to promote principled partnerships with large corporations, banks, insurance companies, NGOs as well as government. The partnerships with corporate, entrepreneurs and women have resulted in a series of learnings and social impact.

Increased access to health for women and their families and education of children as indicated by increased expenditure reported above. The increased access affordable

Page 22 of 36

health care services is seen in 13,873 members through SAST who had availed community health programme. The core of this effort is the partnerships with health care providers, pharmaceutical companies and insurance agencies that have enhanced quality health care for poor.

Increased choice of quality products which were also environmentally beneficial evidenced by the sales of 70,000 Oorja stoves, in areas where incidence of water born illness very high, conserving energy and electricity and selling organic manure, SRPL is promoting sustainable natural resource management practices, improving the health of the soil and increasing its long-term fertility while simultaneously producing nutritious vegetables. This practice is complemented by organic farming initiatives of the federation of 500 women farmers who, through a collective farming and marketing. Increased awareness of environment, health and energy among 2,55,000 families where they reside. Health awareness in the community is promoted through SAST to ensure preventive health as well as to create awareness of their rights and demand for the use of the public health delivery system. Increase in social capital as evidenced by the 45,000 women in strong groups observed in SSK. Campaigns on social issues such as sanitation and alcoholism reported by federation leaders also pointed to the evidence of women’s participation in social issues. Health governance groups actively monitoring local institutions and promoting health awareness are other examples of social interventions by groups. SAST, by following a revenue model, funds 175 sakhis to do health promotion and provide space to facilitate groups for mutual support for women to address social issues beyond just the mandated health focus. Women in groups where SSP has dealt with social and village development issues which was not clearly evidenced in the groups formed only for microfinance. Increased Recognition by Government: SSP has partnered with the government Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Universities and with NABARD to get women recognised as farmers to provide technical support for increasing productivity in vegetable and dry land agriculture through onsite demonstrations and workshops. Women who are traditionally not recognized as farmers and producers are now earning this recognition from government. SSP partners actively with the public health on HIV/AIDS awareness, women’s health and making primary health centres accountable to poor communities. Credit based partnerships to expand loan products for women SSK has built partnerships with banks, specifically public sector banks and agencies such as Milaap to obtain funds at lower interest rates. These partnerships have helped to tailor loan products for agriculture innovations, short term working capital products for women entrepreneurs, etc. SSK is in the process of building new partnerships for creating loans for housing repair and new housing. Partnerships to expand women’s skills SSP has a partnership with Don Bosco Tech (DBTech), India to train youth and women and link them to the industry and service sector.

This indicates the expanded choice available to women as a result of access to social networks, credit and social capital. 1.30. Fostering Women’s Leadership Combining strategies that promote women leaders-entrepreneurs through social enterprises not only can raise awareness on critical issues but provide women with income opportunities to do so. Through active outreach products, women are not only able to raise awareness but also help their communities access better healthcare and improve their quality of life. Women Page 23 of 36

who were actively engaged as arogya sakhis, field officers, sakhis and health governance monitors as well as community leaders show their collective support for SSP’s initiatives through melavas held annually as well as through their links to the entities. To illustrate, every year almost 2000 women attend the melavas held by SSP, where women leaders were recognized as role models and commit to social goals. Women’s leadership and their support is evidenced by number of women mobilized to aware of services:
 

61,454 women improve livelihoods and income 85,000 women directly using products (bio fuels, solar energy, safe water, organic agriculture) that change their lives 20,000 women and families improving their health and social protection 3,00,000 women receiving information and aware of products and services, livelihood opportunities and financial literacy.

 

Women leaders partner with SSP to play the roles of educators, promoters, monitors, innovators and change agents. Women leaders who have standing in their communities are the key intermediaries as Sakhis and microfinance officers and community promoters. Collective leadership is built on health governance, social issues, community resilience and local governance. Federations reported that in several villages, women’s groups worked with their local governments for total sanitation, run campaigns on alcoholism, monitor ration shops thereby promoting /strengthening women’s involvement. A fellowship by federations to support upcoming leaders has resulted in grassroots innovation lab. Over a year, women leaders form a peer cohort and take on localized innovations. They are supported by experienced federation leaders through regular visits and review meetings. This has resulted in a second line of bottom up leadership. Several emerging innovations have been scaled up by women themselves. Promoting women to be innovative in organic farming of vegetables is one such experiment that includes over 2,000 women farmers across two districts. Other women leaders took on the task of ensuring that their village became 100% open defecation free. “Grassroots leaders, see themselves as change makers, develop consensus for their ideas among their groups and apply for the Leadership fellowship to the Federation on behalf of their group and/or villages. Women SHG leaders bring the priorities to be addressed outlining how they will do it and educate their communities.” 6 1.31. Capacity Building SSP and the social enterprises builds capacities of women to become credit worthy and business ready. SHGs are providing with training on financial literacy, group management, and their skills of bookkeeping and accounts improved. Vocational training for youth and entrepreneurial skills for potential entrepreneurs are provided. Elected members and women’s groups are trained to advocate with local authorities. It also provides inputs on governance through its mobile-based initiative on gram panchayat to women. Sakhi Retail and SSEN provide business, marketing and communication skills to sakhis and SHG entrepreneurs. 1.32. Convergence Convergence are best seen across SSP in the common approaches adopted by all the social enterprises. Across these enterprises, the common features are:  Build a core group of women leaders who are socially conscious namely the sakhis
6

Sakhi Federations - Groots India Network: Leadership Fund, SSP Documents

Page 24 of 36

  

Build sustainable business models Provide permanent or long-term livelihood opportunities Overlapping geographies to maximise social impact through access to multiple services including health, education, credit as well as improved livelihoods and living environment.

1.33. Political capital Political impact has been seen in the form of women SHG leaders energising local governance by raising women’s priorities in Gram Sabhas and on key issues such as health and education. Women have also contested and won elections, although to a lesser extent. There is greater recognition of the roles played by women’s groups by the District Authorities. Women have transformed delivery of basic services by monitoring of water and sanitation facilities, civil supplies for poor families, planning for primary health services and village planning processes. Such recognition from government officials is an indicator of their governance capacities. 1.34. Institutional Impact The origin of these entities had their roots in the federations with each entity growing independently to go on scale with the required managerial and professional skills. The different entities are set up with independent processes and systems and leadership. Each entity had its own independent source of revenue and has achieved varying degrees of financial sustainability. The MFI and retail marketing network operations have shown break even and minimum profits which are completely reinvested in the operations. The health initiative being a community service will take longer to reach a break even point. According to a high level evaluation team, “there are few scalable voluntary health insurance models, and SSP is one of them. SSP will need over 5 years to reach 60,000 families on a grant model to be sustainable thereafter.” With regard to the staffing of SSP and all its entities, most of the staff at the field level are women from the groups and federation. The professional staff are mostly from SSP’s leadership with only the MF operations having new male staff at the managerial levels. While SSP’s founder Director is a woman, the core leadership includes three men and two women. SSP staff comprises 26 male and 43 female staff (62%) totalling 69 personnel while the microfinance initiative comprises 15 male staff and 28 (65%) women staff. Of the total 112 staff, women constitute 63%. In the process of scaling up their microfinance, livelihoods and social initiatives, SSP has strategically adopted a market based approach that includes partnerships with corporates. In doing so, it also had to prepare SHGs to make them business ready organizations, something that is credit-worthy. Women leaders were linked as a network by involving them in business processes such as marketing, outreach and operations and in product development. All these required organizational transformation which entailed restructuring, changing attitudes of the top leadership and preparing the organization to move from a grant based operation to a revenue based model. SSP ‘s work with the corporate sector has resulted in sensitising heads of large corporations started to change their overall rural marketing strategy, training and HR policies to address needs of rural communities. In this manner, they coupled business agendas with a clear focus on the underserved communities in rural and remote villages. The average operational cost over the last five years is 2.5 crore rupees or 25 million rupees per year.

Page 25 of 36

Building institutional sustainability of the MFI was the first step towards scaling up access to credit. While scaling up, SSP was driven by its social mission and thus structure the organisation and processes accordingly. By doing this, SSP avoided some of the pitfalls of the microfinance industry such as high rates of interests and lending to individuals. By creating transparent systems and bringing its operations closer to the SHGs, SSK built the trust relationships with the groups and internally within SHG members as well. SSK recognised that if women had to self monitor group loans, there needed to be a high level of trust among members. SSK took concrete steps to improve the health of SHGs. Group discipline and transparency was built through loan disbursement and repayment in meetings. Instead of exerting pressure through loan officers, SSK trained women to recognise that default by members as this would lead to stoppage of loans for the entire group. Field officers with the history of belonging to SHGs, built a rapport with the groups and ensured proper group functioning, financial literacy and membership awareness. SSKs loan products are based on flexibility, purpose of loan and repayment schedules linked to range of livelihoods. Scaling up was achieved by ensuring that all women in a group received 1 to 2 loans and similarly all groups in a village were linked to SSK. By deepening access to credit and livelihoods in a focused geographic location and higher penetration within those villages and groups, SSK achieved operational efficiency and deepened economic impact. The other entities simultaneously have been able to develop themselves into revenue based models many of which have either broken even or are aiming at reaching a break even point shortly. SSP has received several awards and has been recognized in the media for its work through this innovative model. Therefore investment in this type of a model where microfinance is coupled with social enterprises that deliver effective services and products through independent revenue streams would definitely be a recommendation for other organizations to address issues beyond credit in a sustainable manner. 1.35. Main lessons

The main lessons learnt from SSP for similar initiatives would be to therefore to begin by a strong investment in the base – the network, women leaders, groups and federations upon which the verticals were built. Center-staging the women in decision making and awareness generation in critical sectors such as credit, health, environment and energy would be an important pre-requisite for such a model for women’s social and economic empowerment. In this context SSP has engaged in strategies that have fostered a social, economic and political process which has built women leaders and their networks which allow for a quick transfer on information, knowledge and the ability to solve big problems (eg: solving water-borne health issues through promoting water purification products) An important lesson is the strong emphasis on livelihoods from day one which has avoided credit for wasteful consumption, a pitfall of other MF initiatives and helped build women led enterprises. The creation of a non-profit MF entity has also contributed to avoiding pitfalls of typical MFIs of increasing interest rates to meet expectations of investors and coercive recovery methods. Another lesson has been the significant investment in the SHGs through the MF operations which has built social capital and health of the group.

Page 26 of 36

Finally, the partnerships with corporates, banks and insurance agencies has increased access to services on scale as well as enabled women social entrepreneurs to earn sustainable livelihoods and build community awareness simultaneously. Overall, the microfinance initiative coupled with a livelihood focus has led to very strong economic impact as seen by enhanced livelihoods, increased number of enterprises, increased incomes and increased access to financial capital. To a lesser extent, there has been a strong social impact in the form of increased awareness on health, energy and environment and increased social capital in the form of health governance groups.

1.36.

The Way Forward
1.37. Context In its evolution as a network organization, SSP has over the last five years, created five unique organizational entities serving women groups and rural communities. Even while these entities play a vital role in their specific area of intervention nevertheless synergies need to be further built to create a transformative impact in the lives of marginalized women. 1.38. Empowerment The study examined the extent to which women’s practical and strategic interests are met by the various entities individually and collectively. Clear practical needs of livelihoods, credit and health are addressed by each entity. However in terms of strategic gender interests, the study found little evidence of challenging patriarchal relations and power relations. Despite having improved livelihoods and contributing more to the family with higher status in the family, evidence showed low control of women over decision making in families and low degree of involvement in purchase of large and small assets. Addressing gender specific issues such as women’s control over incomes from assets, women’s freedom from domination, awareness of their rights, mobility, and change in power relations would contribute to the overall empowerment of women. Examining Longwe‘s (1989,1991) concepts of empowerment, the following findings reinforce the need for a clear gender perspective for the staff at all levels in the way forward. Women's access to the factors of production such as land, labour, credit and training was evidenced in the farmer groups, in the microfinance and livelihood initiatives. Such pro women innovations have emerged precisely wherever staff have been sensitised on gender. For future gender sensitive innovations to emerge, gender sensitisation of staff would be a first step. The training provided in SSEN was strong in terms of providing skills to women in specific vocations and thereby expanding their choices and livelihood options but could be further strengthened in terms of market orientation. Evidence was seen in federations where women contested alcoholism and raising awareness on social issues. There was less evidence of women being engaged in rights based issues based on an explicit understanding of gender roles and women’s rights and oppression. Far greater inputs by SSP to the federations would be required to enable women’s effective political participation, especially with respect to women’s leadership in local planning of resources and finances. Based on Rowland’s (1997) framework, the following aspects were examined. Some changes in power relations within households were evident in the form of increased status and confidence among women being able to contribute more to family incomes. It was less Page 27 of 36

evident in terms of power relations in the communities and at macro-level. Even within families, women would need to be aware of their rights in order to challenge traditional notions of power. Organisation of the powerless to enhance individual abilities and/or ability to challenge and change power relations was evidenced in the form of stronger groups, some active federations, increased leadership among federation women, and increased innovation within the federation. However in terms of organisation, evidence of financially healthy SHG groups because of the MF intervention was high. But such intervention was absent in terms of building strong federations which is more of an indication of where the NGO sector has reached in terms of knowledge of how to build strong federations. In terms of the overall strategy there seems to be greater emphasis on building individual leadership than on building organisations of poor. As far as federations are concerned, SSP has invested in them for 15 years. More emphasis would be needed on building the federation as a strong, independent vertical. Inputs are required on writing proposals, regularizing meetings, planning, executing action plans, financial management, engaging in local governance, advocacy, legal literacy, gender inputs to name a few. 1.39. Gender based strategies In terms of strategic gender interests, the quantitative study found little control over decision making by women in families. Despite evidence of improved livelihoods and higher status in the family, women have little control when it comes to purchasing large and small assets. Specific gender inputs would be required to transform gender relations within the family and the community. Strategic change was visible through the women leaders or sakhis where their capacity as problem solvers has been built and they are now seen as women who can solve problems and can access services be it health or banking. SAST, through their arogya sakhis, engage in social issues beyond the issue of health, which is the core mandate of the institution. Sakhis in SRPL could also play a similar role, provided there is sufficient investment to provide social and gender based inputs. The microfinance operations if provided gender sensitization could identify issues and can synergize with the other entities to address them. While women need credit, capacity building, livelihood opportunities and health security, a strong organization with an institutional culture that is gender sensitive would be equally important to help these women leaders challenge patriarchal norms and thus change gender inequality. Women leaders from SHGs in villages are networked by SSP into governance groups (eg: the health governance groups) to handle major issues at levels beyond just the group, as evidenced by visits to the SSP villages. SSP also has created structured dialogues with government through their governance groups, and participation on committees to challenge existing norms and practices within institutions. In this sense the status of these women leaders has grown within the households and the community. A major recommendation therefore would be to invest in women leaders to ensure that the social consciousness and awareness in the community is spread through peer learning and building on such strategies. Empowering women socially and politically outside the home which is best done through a self organizing process which is enabled by both investing in leadership and creating opportunities for peer learning. 1.40. Increasing community ownership through the federations

Page 28 of 36

Neither individual women nor individual groups are able to address larger social issues by themselves. A collective entity at higher levels, such as the federations, is vital in order to deal with issues that emanate from society and which require advocacy and large-scale change. For current and future leaderships to stay true to the overall mission of SSP, community leadership and ownership of each entity is critical for long-term sustainability and continuity of community leadership and participation. Going forward, each entity is prioritizing the ownership and management by federations. SSK is now considering converting itself to an entity with majority ownership by federations. SRPL has piloted the the option of giving shares to women with 20 women entrepreneurs. SSEN has benefited from its collaboration with federations through its master trainers who reside in the community. Expanding this cadre of master trainers from among the federation leaders, would allow them to not only provide relevant training, handholding and nurturing of local businesses but also be available for any linkage between the trainee and the other entities of SSP. In the case of SAST, federation members are on the board and by increasing community ownership over the health funds and the programme, the community would have a larger stake in ensuring the success of the health programme. 1.41. Growing SSP SHG networks and community relationships Any future growth or scalability would need to take into account the larger mission of SSP, in order to grow SSP and social enterprises. Investing in community governance and leadership linked to all entities is part of the collective vision for the next five years. Regular visioning workshops like this would be important to reinforce these concepts. Investing in women as SHG entrepreneurs or Sakhis means that women earn higher incomes and have a strong social orientation. Sakhis are currently chosen because they show leadership, train other women, convince people on energy and environmental concerns, change men in their community to take women entrepreneurs seriously, accompany new women to the market, take them to banks and so on. In 2008 melava or information fairs, Sakhis agreed to monitor progress on 3-4 indicators of wellbeing for communities and women including girls going to school, toilets for women, support deserted women on legal aid, and access to health services for poor women. So Sakhis or SHG entrepreneurs earn incomes but are committed to spread awareness, educate consumers, groups and their networks on health, energy and environment issues. The primary recommendation here would be to invest in Sakhis as micro-entrepreneurs to achieve not just to meet the economic bottom line. The low cost outreach, marketing approach through women is SSP‘s way of ensuring that products remain affordable and low priced and large numbers of women are recognised as economic leaders. Therefore investment in women leaders through peer learning networks can build a critical mass of women who model change. 1.42. Convergence: Current and Potential Overall, the four entities were created to empower women through their participation and leadership in delivery of socially relevant, high impact services to rural communities. SSP promotes capacity building for women to enhance their livelihoods and incomes through access to credit and training in entrepreneurship. It improves their health and well being through access to products that reduce physical drudgery and quality of life for the poor. Women and families are less vulnerable through social protection and health insurance measures. All social enterprises promoted by SSP follow a vision, and mission that has Page 29 of 36

community needs at its centre. The immediate priority is to invest in order to move on the path of sustainability. SSP’s leadership process has set goals for the long term to maximise convergence through a shared vision, value based approach. Operationally information outreach, marketing and promotion are done across the social businesses, thus optimising human resources.The current strategies for convergence between key sectors/services are portrayed in Figure 7.1 There is potential for greater integration that the SSP leadership recognizes as shared benefits and impacts at the level of communities can complement the efforts of the social enterprises in terms of reach, relevance, effectiveness and impact overall sustainability. ENTITY STRATEGY OUTCOME

Organic Farming

Capacity Building

SRPL
Clean, green products Livelihood Credit

SSK

Economic

Revenue sharing

SAST
Contracts

Health Multiple

Social

Federation and SHGs SSP

Political
Capacity Building

Figure 7.1: Convergence between social enterprises

Page 30 of 36

Figure 7.2: Potential Synergies between entities

SSP AS A NETWORK ORGANISATION

Social Empowerment

Economic Empowerment

Political Empowerment

SAST

Emergency loans for health at low interest

SSK

Low interest loans for SRPL sakhis

SRPL

Campaigns and outreach programmes on programmes and schemes Leadership roles in federation management would also lead to more women participating in governance

Campaigns and outreach programmes on health awareness. Provide access to women for insurance sales.

Ownership of SSK as a NBFC Provide feedback for tailoring products relevant to specific needs

Promotion for SRPL products Ownership of SRPL through shares Feedback on relevance and quality of products

NETWORK OF SHGs

Capacity building for livelihoods, governance, organization management, gender and leadership

Provide reach to women who can then sustain revenue model of SSEN

- 31 SSEN

The potential convergence of these entities are portrayed in Figure 7.2. Currently SSK already has its focus clearly aligned to livelihoods with almost 95% of their loan portfolio servicing livelihoods. SSEN has the potential to be a resource centre with women leaders as master trainers to build capacities among women in livelihoods, entrepreneurship and leadership. SSP can play the role of enhancing local leadership, by acting as resource centre at block and cluster levels. SSP can facilitate upstream linkages, grassroots advocacy and networking of federations at the district and across states. Such a model is already being piloted by Mahila Samakhya in Andhra Pradesh whose focus is to build autonomous and sustainable federations7. Similarly, SSEN can also strengthen their current role in building Sakhi Retail entrepreneurs in new areas and accelerate the expansion of social enterprises. SAST, with its community health and social protection programme has an equally important role to play in terms of ensuring that these entrepreneurs do not fail in their businesses because of unforeseen health emergencies and resultant vulnerabilities that could wipe out their savings and capital. Today each social enterprise has inbuilt varying degrees of women’s participation and leadership. In future, SSP and the social enterprises will have to build a robust process that continually engages women and communities. Fostering a community governance model, is critical to ensure products and services stay attuned to the changing needs and aspirations of women consumers, families and communities. Furthermore future expansion plans should be in the same community geographically for the synergies and convergence across the entities to ensure that MF operations go beyond just credit to meet the overall needs of the community. 1.43. Final recommendations

Policy makers donors and bilateral institutions need to acknowledge and position grassroots women as knowledge holders and experts and invest in them to scale up effective practices and empowerment. Specifically support should go to : 1. Grassroots women’s organizations can understand the needs and develop solutions that transform/ change communities. Hence women’s leadership and solutions should be centre staged and replicated by supporting transfer process. 2. Support demonstration initiatives that build capacities of women as information providers, and innovators. Community innovation fund These funds have helped groups act as learning laboratories for grassroots women and partner institutions. To illustrate, MFI funds need to funnel product innovations –like short term capital for small business entrepreneurs, farmer groups etc.

7

ibid

Page 32 of 36

3. Create operational mechanisms that enable joint planning and assessment with grassroots and local governments. Invest in building networks both among women leaders as well as with institutional partners. This can be done by supporting joint policy or issue framing workshops between grassroots leaders and banks, government, exposure visits and dialogues with officials, joint study mechanisms. 4. Advocate for policies and programmes that builds incentives for governments and local authorities to engage with grassroots women. Support advocacy by grassroots leaders starting with community market and agriculture surveys and setting up of appropriate funding mechanism for grassroots initiatives and their scaling up. 1.44.

Summary and Conclusions
Overall, this study on microfinance and additional interventions highlights the following aspects of the interventions: 1. Microfinance along side livelihood interventions has led to increased access to resources The study shows that over 87% of the sample surveyed reported an increase in income as a result of their livelihood activities funded by microfinance loans. The other impact found was that women reported that expenditure on women and girls had increased. Overall, the microfinance initiative coupled with a livelihood focus has led to very strong economic impact as seen by enhanced livelihoods, increased number of enterprises, increased incomes and increased access to financial capital. To a lesser extent, there has been a strong social impact in the form of increased awareness on health, energy, and environment and increased social capital in the form of health governance groups. 2. Increased leadership as a result of additional interventions The impact on incomes because of microfinance livelihoods is evident in the form of increased confidence, higher levels of skills, expanded choices on the type of work women choose to undertake, decreased vulnerability and even increased employment for other women. Women like Bhagirathi and Baby Shiral serve as role models for other women not just as entrepreneurs, but also through their orientation to helping other women join SHGs or start businesses. Women who were actively engaged as arogya sakhis, field officers, sakhis and health governance monitors as well as community leaders show their collective support for SSP’s initiatives through melavas held annually as well as through their links to the entities. Collective leadership is built on health governance, social issues, community resilience and local governance. Federations reported that in several villages, women’s groups worked with their local governments for total sanitation, run campaigns on alcoholism, monitor ration shops thereby promoting /strengthening women’s involvement.

Page 33 of 36

SSP has engaged in strategies that have fostered a social, economic and political process which has built women leaders and their networks which allow for a quick transfer on information, knowledge and the ability to solve big problems. 3. Microfinance is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for economic empowerment of women

Thus SSP interventions show how credit when accompanied by livelihood interventions, leadership investment, and health initiatives provide a much larger contribution towards empowerment than just credit alone. Members reported that insurance has reduced vulnerability, increased confidence during health crisis, and mitigated the need to borrow during health emergencies. SAST ensures better accountability and monitoring of public health services through the network of women’s collectives with the health governance groups in each village lobbying government agencies for better water, sanitation, and health services. The mechanism facilitates a higher quality and more affordable primary care resulting in an improved healthcare experience for the rural poor. The Arogya Sakhis are simultaneously health leaders and entrepreneurs who provide doorstep healthcare services - curative and preventive - to the community. The Sakhis use the products that they sell and in the process develop a strong awareness of their health and environmental impact. Many have become a community leader-cum-educator pursuing the goals of creating a better environment for her community. Campaigns on social issues such as sanitation and alcoholism reported by federation leaders also pointed to the evidence of women’s participation in social issues. Health governance groups actively monitoring local institutions and promoting health awareness are other examples of social interventions by groups. The overriding approach across SSP was that there should be more investment in women leaders, village entrepreneurs, who through their own increased awareness on health, environment and energy were able to transmit the information to the community at large.

Page 34 of 36

Glossary
Anganwadi ANM Arogya Sakhis Arogya Sandhi ASHA Bachat gats BDSS BoP BPF BPL CBHI CBPPI CDRF CEO CHP CHTF CHWs CMS Crore CSR CTLC DFID EAP EDP FEMO FGD GoI GoM HGGs HIV/AIDS HMF HR ICDS IPD JLG KMPs Lakh M&E Government childcare centers Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife Trained Community Based Health Workers Health Insurance Fund Accredited Social Health Activist Savings And Credit Groups Business Development Support Services Bottom of the Pyramid Best Practices Foundation Below Poverty Line Central Bureau of Health Intelligence Community-based Pro-poor Initiatives Community Disaster Resilience Fund Chief Executive Officer Community Health Program Community Health Trust Fund Community Health Workers Catalyst Management Service 1,00,00,000 (approx Euro 161,000) Corporate Social Responsibility Computer Training and Learning Courses Department for International Development Enterprise Awareness Programme Enterprise Development Programme Software used by MFIs Focus Group Discussions Government of India Government of Maharashtra Health Governance Groups Human Immunodeficiency Virus Health Mutual Fund Human Resources Integrated Child Development Services In Patient Department Joint Liability Group Key Monitoring Parameters 100,000 (approx Euro1600) Monitoring and Evaluation Micro finance Micro Finance Institution MIS Management Information Systems MoRD Ministry of Rural Development MOVE Market Orientation Value Enhancement MRP Maximum Retail Price NBFC Non-Banking Financial Company NRHM National Rural Health Mission NSS National Sample Survey OM Operations Manager OPD Out Patient Department PHC Primary Healthcare Centre PRA Participatory Rural Appraisal PRI Panchayati Raj Institution UHI Universal Health Insurance Sakhis Women Entrepreneurs Samvad Sahayaks Communication Assistants SAST Sakhi Arogya Samudaya Trust SGSY Swarnajayanthi Gram Swarojghar Yojana SHG Self Help Group SIS Swasth India Services SKUs Stock Keeping Units SRPL Sakhi Retail Private Limited SSEN Sakhi Social Enterprise Network SSK Sakhi Samudhaya Kosh SSP Swayam Shikshan Prayog Taluk Block TISS Tata Institute for Social Sciences VHC Village Health Committees VLE Village Level Entrepreneur VTP Vocational Training Programme MF MFI

Page 35 of 36