The SMART SHG Project – Sustainable Management to Achieve Social Responsibility using Technology and Training

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Project Name:

The SMART SHG Project – Sustainable Management to Achieve Social Responsibility using Technology and Training

March 1, 2021 –

Project PI:

Sandrine Bonin (Yamuna)

Project Co-PI:

Amritha Natarajan

Funding Agency:

Creative Synergies Consulting Private Limited
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham

Project Summary:

The large-scale program of the Government of India, the National Rural Livelihood Mission, has led to the formation of above 7 million Self-Help Groups (SHG) meant to support women’s economic growth through easy and affordable access to saving and lending mechanisms. However, SHGs’ performance is heterogeneous because of illiteracy, lack of accounting skills, and women’s inexperience in running economic initiatives.

The Center for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality developed the SMART SHG course for leaders to support financial and accounting empowerment towards effective and profitable SHG management. The course aims to (i) enhance bookkeeping & transparency, (ii) identify and manage loan defaulters & lending risks, (iii) strengthen leadership & democratic participation, and (iv) improve interactions with stakeholders.

This 65h-course was developed using a participatory approach involving financial and accounting experts, a specialized instructional and digitization team, researchers, future beneficiaries, and grassroots stakeholders such as government representatives, banks, and NGOs. Rich interactive media content and digitized activities specifically designed for low literacy users help provide training quality standards, raise the learners’ interest, and enable scalability. This digital and technical training is blended with soft skill development through role-plays, debates, and real-life situations to engage women in discussion and problem-thinking scenarios.

The preliminary results of our pilot project with 30 SHGs suggest that financial and accounting training helps SHG leaders address managerial gaps constraining SHGs’ economic development, particularly lack of leadership and traceability of financial transactions. Indeed, women’s testimonies collected after training highlight enhanced confidence in holding meetings effectively, increased SHGs’ financial maturity, and improved saving attitudes, which are crucial elements to building sustainable resilience.

Project Status:
Current/On-Going Project
Project Areas:
Women's Empowerment
Related Publications:
Progress Reports:

SMART SHG Infographics

SMART SHG Impact Study

 

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