One Thousand Families Enrolled In SHG

2018 03 11 PHOTO SHG2 
An Incredible Milestone Achieved
A few months ago, we told you about the incredible work USIPI and our partner organization CRDDP (Center for Research and Debates in Development Policy) are doing as part of the District Development Project. We launched the project in five districts in the states of Karnataka, Maharshatra and Telangana. Through this initiative the first Women-Only group was formed in Bidar district [1]. 
This month we are honored to share another incredible milestone. Thanks to your support, 1000 families are now enrolled in the Self Help Groups (SHG's) as part of UISPI's District Development Project. 
What is the District Development Project-
The government provides various poverty alleviation programs, however these programs are being under utilized. This may be due to lack of proper documentation, awareness of programs or skills to access, as evidenced by USIPI's Five State Survey in 2015 [2]. This is where the district development project comes in, we aim to fill that gap by training local activists and leaders to help families in need. 
One of the stages of this program is to initiate the formation of Self Help Groups (SHG's) and identify community leaders who can take the responsibility of managing and training these groups.  
SHG Group meeting
How Effective are Self Help Groups (SHG's)-
The short answer- highly effective and very impactful.
The goal of the Self Help Groups is to help families living below the poverty rise above through enrollment in government sponsored interest free loans to start small businesses.
For households below poverty line, the Government of India provides a micro-credit of Rs. 10,000 per individual if they make a group of maximum 20 members (minimum 10) (Rs. 2,00,000 for a group of 20). The money is completely interest free and is used by groups to start their own businesses. CRDDP and the local leaders will train these groups on how to manage the Rs. 2,00,000 and help them establish their household and have a means of income. These groups are to meet once or twice a month to discuss the problems they face and plan the next steps. Individuals who have completed their degree and are unemployed will be trained how to manage these groups and they will also be given a salary once they start managing the groups.
Welfare Online Centers-
There are several other poverty alleviation programs the community can benefit from. The establishment of Welfare Online Centers with trained coordinators will help with documentation and filing online applications such as scholarships for school children, old-age and widow pensions, cooking gas subsidy for households to name a few.
Some Updates from the Ground after a Field Assessment by Dr. Shariff
  1. Scholarship applications are being denied, some for mismatched names, others for no apparent reason, others are being approved for one year only. The solution proposed by Dr. Shariff -three different teams in place, one to make sure names on identity card and applications match, a team to contact minority office, and a register for all applicants.
  2. Another issue is that the officers demand a minority certificate which does not exist in the country. 
  3. People still do not get gas subsidies even after paying the amount asked by officers. (For both these issues Dr. Shariff suggested a record be created and a team to contact the office.)
  4. Most meetings were very successful. A lot of the people in attendance come from difficult and uneducated background and the formation of SHG's will help them to earn a living. In all these places there were no elements which would hinder the formation of SHG's and take this to the local and central governments.
Self-Help Group
Once the programs are further underway, USIPI and its Chief Scholar, Dr. Abusaleh Shariff will make further policy recommendations to the government. 
Without your generous contributions, none of this amazing progress would be possible. We are just getting started and there is so much more work that needs to be done. Thank you for believing in our work!


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